The photo above contains light from two moments. On both occasions, it burnt through the layers of chemical to reveal an inverse of its true self. An image of negative sight, but an honest embodiment of how the film must have felt in that moment. Once reversed, we see what we refer to as its better half, the photo’s side deemed more palatable. It reflects our urge to recreate the world that we see, even on a two dimensional plane, in our own image. The photo reveals how we wish to see the world, or on our better (artistic) days, how we actually do. Ridding ourselves of that subjective prejudice for a flat, yet honest depiction of ‘reality’ can take a lifetime, if we try at all. If not, we are left to experiment with the photo as a world which we alone can develop and populate.
Minor White, a famous photographer of society and the natural world often told his students that every photo you take is a self-portrait. Over the years I have slowly but surely taken this to heart. Thousands of snaps later, I still find it hard to not see bits of myself in the photos I take. However, rare are those occasions when I can honestly find only my likeness in what falls in front of the lens. Rather, it is most often a struggle of seeing brutally honest hints of what could be.
The two moments pictured above fall into this latter category. They show an initial image of a flower, one of the last I could find on the Buk-gu hillside I regularly visit. It also seemed to know the end was near. When descending towards the parking lot minutes later, I crossed a narrow footbridge. While a simple transition between mountain and lot, the symmetry it provided also suggested a passage from one period to the next. I am sure at some level, as the chilly winds blew amid the late afternoon sun, this flower felt the same. These were two moments, distinct, yet connected nonetheless. My head may struggle to connect these temporal dots, yet my gut did so with ease. With that in mind, let us brace for the changes November will bring.
[Multiple exposure taken with a Nikon FE2 using a Nikkor105mm f2.5 ai-s lens shooting Kodak Tri-x 400 pushed one stop.]
(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)