The Static Photograph

Some everyday photographs remind me of paintings in a museum.  Leica M 240, Zeiss Ikon 35mm f/2 T* ZM Biogon
Some everyday street photographs remind me of paintings in a museum. Leica M 240, Zeiss Ikon 35mm f/2 T* ZM Biogon.

One of the great things about photography is its ability to hold on to a scene so we can take our time in analyzing it.  This is what photographers commonly refer to as “capturing the moment.”  Now mind you that this “moment” doesn’t really have to be publishable material, but rather it is a moment that has the effect of grabbing on to your attention while simultaneously precluding you from moving on in a hurry.  The phenomenon is commonly experienced when we flip through a photo book or magazine barely noticing much of its content, until something makes us stop and take notice.  Sometimes it’s bewilderment, sometimes it’s just plain old curiosity.  But we do stop and linger while our eyes and brains get in synch to make sense of what lies before us.  Not that this whole synching thing takes a long time.  After all, we’re talking Internet-era attention span here.  But unlike video, our “moment” goes nowhere and there’s never a need to rewind.  It is static, suspended in time until we are done with it.  It is a story onto itself, and we rarely know what happened before or after this fraction of a second in time.  An incomplete story where more often than not our imagination must fill in the blanks.  Perhaps that’s why we linger after all, to take our time in completing the story.