Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Certifying Experience...

"A way of certifying experience, taking photographs
is also a way of refusing it - by limiting experience
to a search for the photogenic, by converting
experience into an image, a souvenir."

-Susan Sontag
The Third Eye

       Photographs are the way our culture has of certifying experience.  I was here, I saw that, this person was there too.  Somehow, we feel that by this obsessive recording of the experience, no matter how trivial or fleeting, we have lived...and here is the proof.

   I think that is the real  appeal of social media sites like Facebook.  In small and inconsequential bites we get to digest another persons life experiences.  It is a voyeuristic and essentially futile endeavor.  We cannot know someone through these snippets of their day to day living anymore than we can understand our own lives through our vacation photographs.  We were there, we saw that and those people were with us...does it really matter?

   Yes, all those things, all those souvenirs of our lives contained in our photo albums or on our Facebook wall are important but only on the periphery of our existence.  It is important to know where we've been, what we saw, and who journeyed with us.  We must not, however, limit our photographs to the "photogenic"  but search also for the unfathomable.  In those images we may discern our deepest and most profound reality...I wondered about this, I was amazed at that, I was ever changed by it all...   

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