Saturday Evening Post #97: Learning to Isolate

Bettcha thought this was going to be about staying at home and virus stuff.


Someone once said, “Photography is the art of exclusion.”
Sometimes I’ve thought the viewfinder in the camera should have a little gilt-edged gold frame inside. So we can see what our masterpiece is going to look like enshrined forever on the wall
Because if nothing else, using a camera forces us to put our subject in the frame and exclude all else around, no matter how interesting it it might be.

And so I say to the viewer, “Look at this”, and they don’t get the option to see all the things I’ve left out. Unless of course it’s an handphone shot, with those atrocious wide-angle views. Then I get my feet in every shot. 🙂

I’ve quoted my great mentor, John Harris, a few times, when he’d look at a print or slide, and say, “You’ve got to look within the frame to see the picture that it contains. That is where the gold is.”

It’s a magic of pointing out the line, the light, or perhaps the movement that would otherwise have passed by and not be noticed, let alone photographed.

When it come to ‘seeing’, we are able to show not only what we see, but how we see it.  There is also another form of seeing.  I may close my eyes and say, “Oh, now I see.”

One thing I’ve noted from the lockdown is how much we are ‘story-telling’ people. I don’t mean making up some novella, but just day to day conversation.  Zoe, at my local coffee shop is Greek, her hubby is Irish. She was telling the other day of the ‘fun’ of organising that wedding to keep both sides placated. I had a friend who married an Indian lass, he, was Greek. Another amazing intertwining of cultures for the wedding organiser.  But we chatted back and forth (through our well adjusted surgical masks, -well hers was a handmade one) about the various aspects of the events. Building word pictures and picking up on each others view of the events.  We are story-telling people.

If nothing else for me, the camera has always been a tool of story telling. A tool, that opens, my eyes and the eyes of anyone who views my photos, of the wonders of this amazing planet. The astonishing creatures that we share it with.
The breathtaking sunsets, the wide open vistas, the ranges of mountains that roll on in increasingly rich blues into the distance.

As Bruce Cockburn, a Canadian song writer says,

I stand here dazzled with my heart in flames
at this world of wonders…
Red-gold ripple of the sun going down…
in this world of wonders.

I’ve noted, I fear, I’ve taken to becoming fascinated more by the gruelling events that we are living through. Shock it seems keeps me glued to the tv and the news blogs and podcasts.  The hard stories need to be told, some in the most graphic detail.  But, I’m not the one to tell them right now. I can close my eyes and say, “I see”.
To quote David Duchemin, “I know there is great beauty and wonder out there, all around us, and I’d rather live my life looking towards the light, then fearing the darkness.”

So I take my clumsy tools of light and time and try to bring my vision of the around and help others to share and experience new wonder.

To open our collective heart to the world.