What are the implications of the photographic act of arresting change on a picture plane? That is how the paper started for my Sociology class at the New School with Professor Arnie Kline. It was the semester before last and graduation. Not just from Parsons, but from six years and three schools. He was a genius and a pro. He stimulated our minds and inspired us all, his room of ten or twelve students. As for me, he started on a enquiry into the photographic moment and Time. Depending on the view of things as they now stand, that may be of great credit or contributing to my failure and ruin.
Photographs reveal a hidden order that is only sublimely known in the continuum of change and movements that we experience. Though not stopping time, the camera records the light bounced off objects at a given place and time, arresting time abstractly, affixing an object's reflections of light, affirming thereafter that it did exist at that moment, irregardless its present or future states. This is reassuring and comforting, but also reveals a sadness - change, decay and mortality. Arresting change on a picture plane, inspires in us the possibility, again abstractly, of escaping the tyranny of the temporal for the immortality of the timeless, forever and everlasting, not subject again to change, decay and and the gravity of mortality. This abstract picture of escaping change, transcending time's claim - a thousand words just wont do. The subject so far only entertains the perrenial dichotomy of time experienced and immortality imagined with the help of the photograph's eternal moment - practical and mundane, it is also profound in its possibility. Pointing a way, wispering softly escape, the river flows constant, increasing in velocity with the weight of increasing years. The fall is just beyond the bend.
As intersting as Time is, and how laudable and important the subject to humanity's ever quizical groping, straining for any light in so dark a room, I've wondered beyond Time's past, present and future to include objects in space during those temporal modes of being, and how if a pattern is discernable, knowable or even coarsely recognized from a single vantage point, can that pattern found and fixed in a photograph, without the aid of manipulation and direction, that is in the art of street or "reportage" photography; if a recognizable pattern is discerned, found or captured, does this pattern descovered in the chaos of objects in space and time give rise to attributing design to this inprobable mattrix of objects, timing of moments, and synchronicity of meaning, beyond the photographer's skill of timing and composition; affirm or even suggest a supernatural being discoverable and knowable in the world's uncontrolled, unregemented flow and positioning of our iterations of recognizable pattern, design and meaning? Does turning the camera on the chaos of the world and finding pattern, design and meaning, suggest or further - affirm, a pattern maker, recognizable in a shared fellowship of design and delight in meaning, a meaning communicated and a meaning understood, God revealed beyond the photographer's ability at culling meaningful out of time's flow of chaos any insightful - even delightful order? When the photographer suspends his own contribution as minor or only supporting at most to what Henri Cartier-Bresson coined as the "decisive moment" of timing, placement, orientation, focus, exposure, and action stopping mechanics - a dance, a hunt, a swim in a "sea of variables"that worthwhile reportage photography, does it reveal something metaphotographic?
These thoughts germinated in my mind, spending hours and hours in the darkroom, as I did, developing and printing my street photographs from the day's urban hunt. I marveled at moments caught. Hunted, snuk up on, hearded to me and sometimes having the tables turned on me, charging me with natures full fury, indignant for leveling my camera in their direction. Chee chees, crows, mocking birds, squirles, rabbits, and at times I pondered mostly the big game, trophies to be treasured, but never eaten, even to this day, not providing any practicle sustenance, hides or horns. Almost a waste of time and effort, save for envaluable skills and timing learned and revealed. But what slowly began to dawn on me, in the company of FM radio, to the gentle rocking of the developer tray under the amber lights, was that in hunting the big game, so majestic, untaimed and wild, a pattern unfolded, a design and beauty revealed itself to me, that started me on a journey of inquiry, encouraged by Profesor Arnie Kline at the New School and over a hundred books read on philosophy, philosophy of science, art, time and many maner of books, feeding an eager mind and a wonderous heart at the descovery of life's knowable pattern, design and meaning. Revealed in a humbeling awe of pattern, order and beauty found and given to me, untamed, culled out of time and space. Open to an unfolding revelation, a wonderful and meaningfull picture emerged. This happened for me and by me, snapping the camera's shutter in the direction of life's decisive moments revealed to me an order out of chaos precious, meaningful and somehow holy.