The Moment In Time

The amazing thing about photography is the ability to freeze the only time that really exists, the moment. When we contemplate time we think about three segments:  Past, present and future. But two of these segments do not exist. The past is based on memories of moments that have past and the future is a projection of the past upon what lies ahead. Neither the past nor the future exists only the present does. Only the moment is to a certain degree real. Our mind might still project things onto what happens while it is happening and tint our experience but at least there is movement in the now. Nothing moves in the past or in the future since both of them only exist in our minds.

Everything we have ever done or will ever do happens in the moment. It has no beginning and no end. The moment is eternal.

Taking a photograph is giving the moment a reference since it freezes it in time. If we look at an image that had been taken decades ago it was still taken in the same moment as the moment we look at it since the moment itself has no beginning and no end. That means the camera is a tool to freeze the now in time even though in reality it is timeless.

There is only the moment but while we are right here right now events and objects emerge in front of us that come and go. While the moment never changes life is projected onto an empty canvas right in front of us.

I started to think about this today when I was waiting for a friend of mine in the city at 6th Avenue and 44th Street in front of the New York Center Of Photography. They had this huge print of American troops landing in the Normandy by Robert Capa in one of their display windows.

On June 6, 1944 Capa landed on Omaha Beach in an assault barge. Under heavy fire he was able to expose four rolls of film. Due to a darkroom accident all but 11 frames of what is considered some of the most famous shots in history got destroyed. One of the prints of those images, blown up to at least 12×15 feet is displayed.

Because the emulsion ran into an overheated drying cabinet the surviving negatives made the prints look out of focus and very grainy. But as so often in life accidents happen out of a reason. Because of what happened in the darkroom the photographs look even more intense, surreal and powerful especially blown up to such a humongous size. For about 15 minuets I watched people who walked in and out of the building turning their heads and being captivated by an image that froze the moment in time 64 years ago.




“The Moment In Time” Manhattan/New York City/ 43rd Street and 6th Avenue 04-14-08 at 05:26 PM




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