There is only so much any one person can do – that’s just another way of saying we are finite. Our skin is the end of us, our strength can take us only so far and our vocabulary expresses only so much. To lengthen our reach we can pick up a stick but this tool limits us in a new way. We cannot escape limits although we may trade one limit for another.
Recently I attended the (e)merge art fair with a friend and my camera. My friend had to keep tugging me along since we were running short on time. I snapped pictures and picked up cards so that I could learn more about the artists later. When I downloaded my pictures there were no sign of some of the art that most fascinated me, like Yael Kanarek’s work that explores the visual power of language.
I’ve noticed that this principle is a general rule in my photography. I forget my camera when all of my senses are fully engaged but I remember to record those sights that don’t as completely captivate me. The distance from the moment allows me to make a permanent record. This is why my mother said she gave up video taping our school performances. She wanted to enjoy the moment and not stress about the video camera.
Emil Alzamora’s sculpture explores the human form. He bends, contorts and stretches the limits of the human body to explore what it means to be in a human body. “Afterlife Afterthought” is a collapsed body with a serpentine neck that lifts the head above its body so that it can look down upon itself. Perhaps this is what we are trying to do when we take a photograph. We are trying to objectively step outside of the moment so that we can preserve that moment for all eternity. We may gain a different perspective but we may also lose some connection with our body in order to preserve an artificial experience.