Shuttering The Chaos.
Truthfully speaking, I think there are two things in this life that can truly keep me grounded: adventure and the sudden click of a camera shutter. In the moments that things seem most out of control, I think it is the ability to stop time, even if for a mili-second, and the quick readjustment, searching for sudden focus to capture beauty, even in the chaos, that keeps me somehow centered. That, in a way, is how adventure is, too.
Last weekend my husband, his brother and I managed a spontaneous adventure to Old Forge in the Adirondack Mountains. It was one of those things where, despite my best efforts to quiet the rapidly firing neurons in my brain, every inch of my being was itching to escape, camera in hand, to find the quietest place on earth. At 11:00 AM we were debating apple picking and pumpkin decorating and by noon we had a last minute reservation at a quaint motel and he called his brother asking if he wanted to tag along; by 2:00 PM we were on the road. Times like these, I think it's nice to have a partner that can read through your silences.
Glued to the backseat passenger window, I took every opportunity to look for the golden hour, watching as the sun hit the peak foliage as we approached the mountains. I'd glance from the GPS to the window, waiting to pass the bodies of water promised, squinting to quickly ascertain access before we passed. Patiently, each time, my husband would pull over, turn around, pull over again and let me out. I'd take a deep breath, fill my lungs deep with the crisp air, and look, focus, click, exhale. It was in those moments, watching over the water, observing angles of light, and focusing on something so much further outside of myself, that I was able to find peace, a moment of clarity, when even the rapid fire would cease and observe.
That, my friends, is the power of photography. There is a power in the click of a shutter, that becomes immeasurable, something beyond pixels and dollars and millimeters of zoom; it's the ability to suspend - moments, chaos, stress, time - and make it all beautiful, savory. And it's result, the photograph, is perhaps the most priceless physical object, for it can transpose our memories from a time that was to a time that is now. Often it becomes the only tangible essence of time that remains after everything else has set beyond its golden hour.
To take a photograph is to participate in another person's mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time's relentless melt. | Susan Sontag