Tuesday, September 20, 2011


     Sometimes photographs capture a moment, and sometimes they do not. Live action is so full of emotion and perception and temperature and subtle movement and the language of our eyes. There's often a sense of magic as well, and inexplicable feelings of wonder. The best photographs evoke these many dimensions of life, but most miss the mark entirely.
     And it's strange to see ourselves in pictures. Surely we look better than we seem to appear in most of them. Do we really have that double chin, and look at the horrible posture and the fatness! The picture must be destroyed! Mostly, what we see in pictures is ourself. We see our beauties and flaws and hardly notice anyone else in the image. A "good picture" is a good picture of us- one that we like. And if it's acceptable of whoever else is with us, all right then.
     Photography definitely has its limitations. So much of real seeing has to do with energy and light and life, with spirit and connection and enthusiasm, with tone and personal history. We look forward to looking at pictures of our burgeoning spirit, and we're sure the camera will show our beauty and our feelings of ripe joy... and then it does not. We feel confused and disappointed. Surely what we felt was real, but here are the pictures... here it is in black and white. It seems so blah.
     All kinds of lessons are packed into the perusal of photographs: the difference between what something actually is and what it appears to be, the limitation of sight, the impermanence and changeability of all things; expectations, disappointment, color, lines, the art of the imperfect, the way we experience ourselves and the way others experience us.
     The ultimate lesson for me is one of letting go. Sometimes I look beautiful in a photograph, and sometimes I look thick and ugly. I guess we all do. It's the big old mix mash of life and angles and moments and moods. They come and they go. It's not one thing or another. It's all things and the nature of change. And the purest memory I have of any event I carry not in my photo album, but in my heart.

I recognize the limits of my vision and don't get too hung up on external appearances. What matters most is what I experience underneath my skin.