Every time I look at an old photograph two great philosophers and writers come to my mind. Barthes and Calvino talking about the madness of photography.
I quote them here:
1. "The noeme of Photography is simple, banal; no depth: "that has been." I know our critics: What! a whole book (even a short one) to discover something I know at first glance? Yes, but such evidence can be a sibling of madness. The Photograph is an extended, loaded evidence-as if it caricatured not the figure of what it represents (quite the converse) but its very existence. The image, says phenomenology, is an object-as-nothing. Now, in the Photograph, what I posit is not only the absence of the object; it is also, by one and the same movement, on equal terms, the fact that this object has indeed existed and that it has been there where I see it. Here is where the madness is, for until this day no representation could assure me of the past of a thing except by intermediaries; but with the Photograph, my certainty is immediate: no one in the world can undeceive me. The Photograph then becomes a bizarre medium, a new form of hallucination: false on the level of perception, true on the level of time: a temporal hallucination, so to speak, a modest, shared hallucination (on the one hand "it is not there," on the other "but it has indeed been") : a mad image, chafed by reality." Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida
2. "For the person who wants to capture everything that passes before his eyes’, Antonino would explain, even if nobody was listening to him any more, ‘the only coherent way to act is to snap at least one picture a minute, from the instant he opens his eyes in the morning to when he goes to sleep. This is the only way that the rolls of exposed film will represent a faithful diary of our days, with nothing left out. If I were to start taking pictures, I’d see this thing through, even if it meant losing my mind. But the rest of you still insist on making a choice. What sort of choice? A choice in the idyllic sense, apologetic, consolatory, at peace with nature, the fatherland, the family. Your choice isn’t only photographic; it is a choice of life, which leads you to exclude dramatic conflicts, the knots of contradiction, the great tensions of will, passion, aversion. So you think you are saving yourselves from madness, but you are falling into mediocrity, into hebetude". Italo Calvino, The Adventures of a Photographer
Why the above? First of all because two non-photographers get the essence of photography only through an intellectual exercise. Simply because, photography IS an intellectual exercise.
A temporal paradox and a choice of life (an escape from madness).
Ioannis' picture is representing the confession moment: when we decide to go back to those instant snaps made tens of years ago only to let the temporal hallucination to save us from mediocrity and apathy.
On the photographic quality of the picture I only have to pay my tribute to the majestic timing and the geniality of preferring the immortalisation over the individualist living of the moment.
Did the author know that this decision of his would "touch him like the delayed rays of a star"? Most probably yes and that's what we call the touch of a genious.
On the technical quality of the picture: "You are now warned, stop thinking about anything technical".
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