The Devil You Know

My friend Derek was visiting this weekend

He's a professional photographer, these are all his

I like seeing the results of his approach to photography.

I'm used to thinking of photographs as a way of capturing the world out there.

You see something beautiful, you take a beautiful picture, you take the beautiful home with you.

A photograph is just a way of saving a view or an experience for later.

Watching Derek, though, I was struck by how little straight-up capturing he did.

We biked right past sunsets and churches without stopping.

I think good photographers are probably more interested in creating.

Rather than finding.

In the last two years, I've almost completely given up on reading fiction.

As I get more interested in abstract representations in images, I've almost completely given up on them in books.

Film is truth 24 times a second, says the old cliche.

But that's exactly false. Every photo is a lie. You're taking a tiny slice of an experience, then inviting the viewer to blow it back up to reality size.

There could be a fucking stegosaurus just outside the frame of this photo, and the viewer would never know.

Literature is a lie too, but at least it's more obvious.

The stegosaurus is still there, but you can't take it home with you.

Derek’s Photostream

1 Comment

Filed under Berlin, Pictures, Serious

One response to “The Devil You Know

  1. I enjoyed your post, as usual.

    I disagree, though, somewhat: I think art (fiction, photography, whatever) can be a distillation process. The artist can distill out the truth, as you suggest; but he could also distill to the truth. It depends on the filter. Sorry about the mixed metaphors. Someone who says it better:

    “When you listen to somebody’s story and then try to reproduce it in writing, the tone’s the main thing. Get the tone right and you have a true story on your hands. Maybe some of the facts aren’t quite correct, but that doesn’t matter – it actually might elevate the truth factor of the story. Turn this around, and you could say there’re stories that are factually accurate yet aren’t true at all.”

    -Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman