Sometimes, when I contemplate the term my life, two emotions strike me almost immediately:
one, it has flown by so fast;
two, nothing much has happened.
Or rather; very little of what I wanted to happen, did.
I guess as any other flawed human being, I scrutinize my life endlessly and see easily the broken and unfulfilled dreams, rather then the richness, the milestones and the goals reached. Somehow they disappear among all the excess baggage and skeletons in the closet.
The other weekend, I was looking through a few boxes full of old photographs stored in my basement, in search of one picture needed to conclude one of my former posts. What I thought would take ten minutes turned into several hours of recollection and reminiscence. Although I have many photo albums lining my library shelves, which I quiet frequently look through, this was a very different experience all together. Gazing at pictures I have not seen for decades brought smile to my face and tears to my eyes, making me reevaluate that last statement about my life; a lot has happened in it indeed. I saw faces I have forgotten, adventures I have displaced in the dusty corners of my memory, snapshots in time captured without my knowledge, depicting loved ones and long gone friends. Moments in life printed, telling a story of the past.
This in turn made me contemplate the subject of photography itself. An art form in its own right, it conveys and serves as an expression of beauty, magic, pain and the blunt reality of our world. Photographs stir our emotions, they move us, challenge us, please us or appall us and make us travel geographically and in time. They capture subjects or situations, historical events, the highlights of our own life. All which appear frozen in time, as silent witnesses of the past, once focused on by a human being and immortalized in print through the lens of a camera.
The word "photograph" was coined in 1839 by Sir John Herschel and is based on the Greek φῶς (photos) "light" and γραφή (graphé) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing"; together meaning "drawing with light".
Photography is the result of combining several technical discoveries, stretching all the way from the 5th century, perfected in the 12th and 15th centuries until the 19th century, when the photographs in the modern day sense were created.
Aside from all the scientific facts and explanation, what makes me curious is to ponder the reason to why photography was invented. It is obvious that already the ancient man depicted the reality perceived by cave paintings and drawings, which can be still seen today.
It must have been the desire to document that gave rise to the first primitive photographs. The longing to capture life truthfully, in all its beauty and splendor, with all its pain and suffering. After all, paintings are often illustration of how the artist that created them views the world. Often tainted by his or hers personal experience or preference, at times greatly removed from reality itself.
A photograph however never lies. It tells the story as it is. Even if the subject is chosen by the photographer and the perception of the captured story can wary - as they say, it is all in the eye of the beholder.
Still, a reflection "drawn with light" contributes greatly to the quality of our lives, whether it educates us or make us feel, or whether it just simply serves as a picture diary of a life lived...