Monday, August 1, 2005
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Clayton News Daily
Upon going anywhere for a trip, long or short; New York City or the Arizona desert, I think not so much about what I will see, but how I will capture and interpret what I see. Sure, I will enjoy my visit but capturing it with a picture will be the greater joy; without which the whole trip would seem to be for not.
French filmmaker Francois Truffaut once said in an interview that he would probably prefer a filmed landscape to the presence of the real one. His argument was that a day has its moments but they may be surrounded by hours of relative inactivity or dullness. The filmed version of the day or place also naturally provides a viewpoint or emotional direction for its audience.
So which do you prefer: Just being in a place and committing it to memory, or capturing a moment with your new digital camera? Unfortunately I think most people will do neither, not savoring the moment or taking a picture that does not show anything beyond the standard "line em' up at dawn" pose.
I can't decide if my way of thinking is damaging - being too preoccupied with capturing life to enjoy it - or a more attentive approach, reflecting on all it has to offer by interpreting it in my own way with a camera. It is scary to me though, that almost any outing to a different city, state, or country would seem useless if I did not have a means to record the journey. Why climb to the top of a mountain if you can't take a picture when you reach the summit? Why risk your life jumping out of an airplane if you don't have a video to prove that you did it?
What I do know is that when we die, the collective pictures of us will frame our lives for those who remain and give other generations a window to the time in which we lived and the creation of these still and moving images will have been as integral to our modern lives as cave-painting were at the dawn of civilization. It is art, and art is a necessary part of life.
Zach Porter is a photographer with the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 248 or firstname.lastname@example.org .