Captured: The Photograph

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
Thoughts on photography

Submitted: January 03, 2010

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Submitted: January 03, 2010



The camera can be such a wretched tool when it comes to human existence. 


Of course we all know it can capture images we will never see again or it can take us to places we may never see.  However, these are things we simply attach ourselves to and to hold on to them would only make us long to be in that place and time, to let the spirit of the moment or the senses these things evoke our longing to actually be in the presence of whatever we are seeing.  If we cannot see with our own eyes, then why imagine and distort the true meaning of objects or places?  Why long for things we will never know again or even at all?  It is a way to tease and to taunt ourselves.  To look at these images would give us a (usually false) preconceived notion of something and if we were ever to experience that photograph or come in contact with these places or things, our experience would be distorted or shattered because we already have unrealistic expectations of what we could never know unless we are actually to encounter or visit these places.


If that isn’t bad enough, the camera gives us such a false image and perception of one another.  No one can truly appreciate the beauty of the human body through the camera, especially if that person is not known.  It is sick and sad to think that every day millions of photographs are taken of people for their body and it will never be seen as the art our bodies were meant to be.  The body is so much more than an outside, it holds a human being, and contains the true essence and beauty of a person.  How could you possibly know if that body is beautiful if you do not truly know the essence of a person?  It is the same way for admiring another on the street, why even try to when you cannot fully understand how beautiful that person is without knowing what is inside the body?  It’s pointless and a crutch to your higher thinking to see them for only a body and not for the true art and beauty humanity has to offer.  You are fooling yourself if you think something good can come of looking at these photos, even if you are looking only for the purposes of art.  You are only fooling yourself if you take a picture of any human being you know, thinking the memories will live through the photos.  Nothing can compare to the moments you share with the people around you.  “Time” will pass, people will die, for the nature of life is change; observe this and see the beauty and art. Do not waste time with photos to try and relive something you will never experience again. 


Something is lost when a photo is taken.  If you observe a photo of someone you do not know, everything about them has been lost between the click of the camera and the photo you observe.  If you observe a photo of someone you know, only your perception of them, which could always be wrong, is left and this perception needs not a photograph to be evoked, only a name.  If sharing the photograph with others, you are presenting someone in a false manner.  That photo will only show the body and nothing more; therefore, the person isn’t shown at all!


Art is beautiful because an artist can take their audience to a place, make them feel an emotion, hear what they are hearing in their mind, and make them experience all they imagine.  This is fiction and most artists leave their art open to all interpretations.  With a photograph, however, reality is involved and to distort reality is to lead others further down the path of illusion, leaving them to further distort the truth of the object, place, or person in the photograph. 

People once believed photographs captured the soul of a human, and perhaps this isn’t too far from the truth.  Photographs do take the soul out of people and diminishes their existence to that one single shot of them, perhaps only leaving the perception of a body or even an impression because of something they are doing in the photograph.  A body is nothing without a soul; our lives are nothing without the proper understanding of others, an understanding no photograph can provide.  It’s as if we would not exist if we didn’t have people to acknowledge our presence, but that acknowledgement has to take place with human contact, otherwise we are lost in time forever.  I few are not properly remembered, we will be quickly forgotten.  Photographs do not keep people; they destroy them and leave nothing but a face without a name and a personality.


In my mind I can envision a universe with many societies, all destined to rise, all destined to fall.  Their gods protect their selected societies and thrive on the prayers offered unto them, never fading, never betraying their people.  Eventually, their people begin to die and by universal law, the gods cannot protect them from this evolution.  When the last human falls, with their dying breath, their gods fade into energy and move back into the celestial flow amongst the stars never to be called upon again.  Thousands of years later, their statues are discovered and even that cannot bring them back.  The statues lack the essence of the society, let alone the essence of the gods they worshiped.  Never again will the gods come out of the flow to protect their people, they are lost and forgotten with time, ceasing to exist with no one to hold their memory. 


The statue, like a photograph, could never do an existence justice and without the memory and actual experience to hold them, they all will fade.  We will all fade; the camera just tries to delay or stop this process, and instead of doing so, prolongs the natural change of life.  The photograph is simply a human effort to capture things we can never hold, or in some cases, never hold onto; therefore, prolonging pain. 


Let go.

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