Friday, December 25, 2009
Midwinter Afternoon's Dream.
Afternoon naps are not a commodity that I can normally afford, not just for lack of time but for fear of being overtly distracted from my daily concerns by these short and potentially unsettling trips into the subconscious and the oneiric. Much like Hamlet, I am not worried about not being, but fear bad dreams. On awakening these will be remembered or not, but definitely affect my mood for the rest of the day in unpredictable ways. On Christmas Eve, by exception, I have the habit of laying down for a bit with a book after lunch, a postprandial practice that quickly leaves me unconscious or dozing on the edge. Some kind of Proustian phenomenon or shamanic trance must then occur, because when I eventually come by my head is full and I start to write. And this I must do almost immediately, on pain of forgetting everything otherwise. These pieces usually fit the format of private letters to my Dad, and generate a few variations and re editions to suit my other epistolary seasonal needs: Letters to My Family, Letter to my Best Friend, my Not So Best Friend, all the way down to the messages to other more utilitarian acquaintances, i.e. my business contacts. Never up to now have I blogged any of this material on the web. Take it for what it is -a momentary vision- and make what you like of it.
A photo’s true value must by definition transcend the intention of the maker/taker. It is phenomenological in nature. Any photographic meaning results from the image happening, and not from it being made. Anything intentional could have been produced by other means and is thus not truly, purely, photographic. Anything that couldn’t be produced by other means is partly unintentional, accidental, a gift of the process itself and of chance. Chance only works when it is left enough room to happen, so the best photographer is not someone who seeks to be most in control, but the one who knows how to let things run their course and happen in photogenic conditions of his choice, leading to the unexpected and the unusual: a revelation of sorts. He or she will be rewarded with the best shots, not to feel proud about them but grateful. Given the framework of intentions and will, the discipline of hard work and the long hours put in, the technique and the knowledge of light, nothing interesting really happens without a measure of happy chance/divine intervention. This you could call the Ghost of Photography and imagine it maybe as an hermaphrodite angel with silver wings, a pagan deity – half thief half creator – whose presence fills all those in the know with longing and awe. We can all court its favours, be occasionally bestowed with some of its magic, but never really possess it.
photos: Paris Louvre, Istanbul, Antonio Canova (Amore e Psiche).