Tuesday, December 30, 2008
When I was in college, I thought I might like to be an anthropologist. People fascinate me. I once saw a very large book someone had made with photos and handwritten notes describing the lives of some remote civilization. I considered it a work of art and had the idea that I could someday do one of my own intimate 'civilization', my extended family. I could observe in a scientific and remote way, noting the details of our customs, traditions, clothing, eating habits and language. I wanted one of those large books with beautiful handwriting and lovely warm black and white photographs pasted onto big sheets of heavy off-white paper. I imagined it for a long time but I never got it done.
I am a photographer and at the time, I was studying art history. I had three young children and no time. I should have begun then to write and describe. I did photograph and lately I've realized I have a running record of "my civilization" in negatives, prints, slides, polaroids and now digital form.
What continues to interest me about photography is the record, the moment, the time stopped for that part of a second. Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful light and intersting form but for me, the time, the place, the person or people at a given time is what intrigues me.
I spend hours scanning photos belonging to my husband's family. They date to the late 1800s. Whenever anyone gives me a chance to see their family albums, I will sit happily for as long as I am allowed, looking at every image. I read them, trying to get a feeling for the life, the emotions, of both the photographer and the subject. I like to think I am good at it but who knows.