I attended an author book signing today. It was a timely occasion. I was hungry and there was food. I’m pushing to get my dissertation written, and there was encouragement. I wanted one of the books being presented (Integration: The Psychology and Mythology of Martin Luther King, Jr., by Jennifer Leigh Selig), and a friend gifted it to me. I’d have to say it was a good day.
Even though I had taken plenty of pictures potentially worthy of blogging, I decide it wouldn’t hurt to take a few more at the book signing. Just in case. As the host begins her introductions, I pull out my camera. I’m embarrassingly reminded how noisy the thing is when I turn it on. You’d think I was focusing and preparing to actually shoot someone, not simply preparing to shoot a picture. I decide to leave the camera on, lens readily extended in case an opportune moment presented itself.
I wasn’t too concerned when my camera’s focus feature began to diminish. The day before, I had played around with the camera, trying to figure out how to fully utilize it. Actually, I was rather proud of myself for having downloaded the manual and read through it. I figured, I must not have read through it thoroughly, and had put it on the wrong setting. Fair enough. I set out to do something I don’t normally do, read manuals, and the techno thing-a-magiggy malfunctions. Murphy’s law, no biggy.
However, it turns out my camera is not only refusing to focus, it completely malfunctions. It won’t shut properly either. I try to mess with it a few more times when I get home, to no avail. Then it occurs to me, the camera’s malfunction, was the imagery I was meant to capture.
Looking at one of the last photos my camera was able to grasp, I’m struck by the blurriness of the imagery. I decide I like blurry. The blurry imagery is the image’s statement. Blurring the image I was trying to capture was its refusal to be seen.
What you might not guess about me, considering I have committed to a year of photo-journaling, is that I believe pictures actually short-change epic moments; moments better left to reverie.
On a run several months ago, I found myself in awe of a particular sunrise. It not only caught my attention, it captured my soul. The first thought that came to me was, I wish I had a camera to capture this moment. However, the moment itself, it turns out, was its essence. Any subsequent photo would’ve only sufficed to subject it to interpretation or regret. Possibly, interpreting it into a moment it wasn’t, or, a regret for having swapped taking in the moment, for taking its picture. Reverie, would be the ultimate imprint, and its likeness of the moment, capable of capturing all witnesses. You see, it also dawned on me, that perhaps the sunrise was also witnessing me. Had I stopped that moment to take a picture, I would have stopped an epic moment for both of us.
I tear up in reverie, as I write this. Not because it makes me sad, but because the moment between sunrise and myself was allowed to have its full expression. The imagery and embodiment of that experience is worth far more than a million pictures, and the dialogue occurring in that moment continues to thrive in me.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an epic moment, uninterrupted, is worth a zillion.