Monday, November 8, 2010

Trees are Bare

Trees are Bare, originally uploaded by susanvg.
I've been thinking about my experience with photography and photographs in general.
From The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels "...when we take a photograph - we're looking at only a few things, half a dozen or even a dozen - and yet the photo records everything in our frame of vision. And it's those thousand other details that anchor us far below what we consciously see."
Interesting that in this photo I am there in shadow form - watching. I do find in looking at photos after taking them that I see things I did not know were there (e.g. my shadow) and find ideas to think about that were not the original intention for the capture. Photography brings those things into focus.

Then there is the issue of memory. The photos sometimes become our memories. Each time we view them it reinforces that moment, that image of the event. The things not photographed lose intensity compared to those we revisit through these images. Does this distort our memories? making moments more important than others out of proportion to the experience?

I also look at photo as memory in another way - as a marker of little events. When did it first snow last year? When did the first flowers appear? I find myself looking back at the historical record. With photography we have all become social historians whether capturing events, daily life or just the change of seasons. There will be lots of fodder for future PhDs as they sift through the mountain of material we all produce and share. I wonder whose PhD will be based on the notion of 365 photos shared with others.

So photos let us see, before, during and after the photo is taken. Just a few thoughts I've been mulling over.


  1. A picture takes into account a thousand details, it becomes a vivid record of our emotional and intellectual perspectives...I really enjoyed this post.

  2. Such good thoughts about photography and photos! We do see so much before, during, and after taking the photos but the extended learning is great too. I find myself taking so many sidetrips not just from my photos but from the many others in the 365 group. This shot is so appealing. It leaves me wondering where the path leads and the framing of the trees adds to it! Like your shadow form too :-)

  3. Your photo draws the eye,Susan. I do see you there, too! I have thousands of photos stored on my computer. Periodically, I make CD's for my kids so they'll have the grandchildren photos. Sometimes, I go through mine and think I'll delete, but often I can't bear to "erase" that memory!

  4. With digital photos and computers, I find myself viewing my photos more often and taking so many more. I think of them as a journal of my life.

    I love photos from my childhood, seeing so many forgotten things in them, like old camera flash bulbs, family items or house decor.

  5. As always, thoughtful picture and commentary. I myself think photographs make for some of the best memories.