Isn’t it funny how we often freeze or pose (cheese) for the camera when someone is taking a picture? Becoming still for something that is still in itself? In my family, like in the days of knights and horses and dames, where you might carry a weapon or article of self-defence, you are best to carry a camera for your own livelihood. My grandpa, especially, is a shutterbug that seems to consistently have his lens pointed at you at the most unplanned moments. Somehow this slender, youthful man can get you to stop eating and smile uncomfortably into that camera for not just one picture, but hold still for “and another one. There we are.” Your only defence is your own camera to point back.
It’s interesting that we become still for a picture that is partly still in itself. There is an amazing quality about pictures and photos, something dynamic that exists as an independent moment of our life’s memory. Psychologists call this an episodic memory. Surely that’s implicit of what life is: a series of episodes, in and out of order. Slide after slide, the important ones remembered and forgotten and remembered again. Like how words freeze reality, photographs freeze life – locking a moment in time. Or instead of stopping time, photographs let time flow: the lens of the camera catching what the eye misses. The artist on stage mid-strum, or the fan asleep in the bleachers for the game-winning shot.
I like to think of life as a scrapbook. You get to choose the pictures and poems and thoughts and memories that you put in there. Closed or open, there is still the beauty inside for you to choose and discover.