Camera

02021-01-21 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

(this is from 2019… the word was Camera and I had 25′ to write something… this was the result)

In a world of digital photography she had to turn back to analog picture making. Why do I always do this to myself, she wondered, but Afnan knew that she loved the process she had developed. The word camera comes from the latin word for room and one day she decided to give visual meaning to the life of rooms. When ideas such as that one occurred to her, the rest of the world stood still, at least for a while. Afnan’s boyfriend complained bitterly of being ignored, while she researched how to make her own light sensitive paper. She explained her idea to him like this:

Our eyes only see the present moment. We might be able to see traces of the past, for example in the footsteps that remain for a time in mud, but eyes see the now and it’s the brain that fills in the history. Long exposures, especially at night, can show more than a moment. Take cars driving in the dark with their lights on: the lights become lines and show the history, the lines represent time expired. What I want to show is the traces people leave in a room, over time. For that I need to build a box, a camera, that lets only a small amount of light through to the light sensitive paper, so I can make exposures of hours or days, or weeks or even years. If a woman in a red dress walks around the room several times, will that show on the photograph or will it get swallowed by the image of the room.

He understood her idea and even offered to help her build the camera, using his expertise as woodworker, but mainly he just wanted more attention from her. On one hand he was proud of her for getting so deeply into her ideas, for pursuing them so doggedly. On the other hand it took up so much of her time.

I could try to talk to a boutique hotel, she mused, and see whether they would let me install my camera into a room. But wouldn’t that mean spying on people, he asked. Afnan shook her head vigorously, I really don’t think so. I don’t think anything would appear very material… perhaps if a loon decided to sit in one position for a long time… like for several days at least, then he might appear in the photograph as a shadowy outline. He laughed, that could actually be an art piece within an art piece. Performance art inside a photograph. Maybe I should do that, then you might pay more attention to me. I love the idea, said Afna, and put her hand on his arm.

2 Comments

  1. JaneParhamKatz

    This is strange and wonderful. I’m listening to Vision 2020 Full Version right now. It adds to the story. You hit an age-old dilemma for womankind – how to put her heart and soul into a creative adventure and still give her man all the attention he needs. Remember the movie, RED SHOES. The beautiful ballerina threw herself under a speeding train to escape two men: her ballet-composer lover, and her possessive agent. They each pulled her in opposite directions until she broke. (I don’t mean to exclude men from this dilemma, but I do speak as a woman.)

    I just had a disturbing experience brought on by your story, where you say that our eyes see only the present moment with possibly existing traces of the past. The brain fills in the history. I’m at my desk upstairs. Suddenly all the furniture disappears. Then the roof, then the walls disappear. The other houses, the streets, everything is gone. I’m on the hill alone with the pinions, junipers, rabbits, ravens and clouds. Then the vegetation and animals disappear, the entire Earth disappears and I am suspended in the Cosmos with stars so thick there is no black sky between them. My body also disappeared, but I felt warm and joyful. I did get back to my desk, but I had a certainty that history has no actual existence. It is completely relative.

    Reply
    • ottmar

      That’s great!! I love that.

      If we could observe our lives in four dimensions we would look pretty funny. More like worms, I guess. Just as a slice of a cube is a square a slice of that worm would be how we now look in the mirror. :-)

      Reply

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