Monday, 3 February 2014

A Case for Delay

Susan Sontag's "On Photography" contains such poignantly accurate observations, that when I read the collection of essays some years ago they may or may not have caused me to have my digital camera stolen.

"Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution...Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it." (1977) How prophetic is that?

I switched to manual photography. Isn't removing instant gratification a way to limit abuse?

Abuse maybe, but not the lure of glorification. Like these September shots from Sicily I only just received. Looking at them now, when the snow is piling up in Warsaw's streets, they are charged with the pathos of time. They have become relics, heightening melancholy and idealising a moment long gone.

As Sontag put it 35 years before Facebook: "Essentially, the camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own."

Well, sometimes that can be nice too. 

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