On Sunsets

Kurdistan, Iraq

I went out this weekend past with my video rig, intending to shoot video. Only video.

That lasted all of 2 minutes. Too many opportunities to capture good stills.

Video is part of my work, and I really enjoy using a camera for motion. Capturing movement in a frame is still a novelty and point of fascination. It’s fun to film. But I don’t think like a video person. I’m learning how to, because it’s what i do in the field, but my hunger is for a well framed, lit and composed still picture.

That one sublime moment that must exist in any running situation.

Some of this has to do with personality, and some with history. I’m the sort of person that would pick a book over a movie anytime. I have a hard time remembering things in movies, unless I’ve seen them a zillion times. I have a far better recall of things i read. Things that are quiet in a frame.

I’ve been on the move now 21 years 😱 For a little over half my life, I’ve been far away from family, and close friends. Text and still images are how I’ve kept most of my loved ones close, because those are things you can hold close to you, literally. They’re how I learn new things, find catharsis, solace, and to some extent, a place in the world.

(Like this, for example.)

But the way it’s going, the still image as we know it, will cease to matter, from a media output / consumption level. Not to say that a great photo won’t still be a great photo. At some point though, there’ll be no need for deliberately made still photos anymore, when tech will make it possible for motion, holography and virtual reality to cover a range of imagery. It’s been happening for a while. It’s all about sensory augmentation. Video is just the beginning.

These days I’m more aware that ever, that being a photographer, is as much figuring out where photography is going, as making pictures. What to do with these fancy tools with potential I haven’t begun to discover.

What a picture even means anymore.

I don’t have any answers. Right now, I’m just still in love with the process of releasing the shutter, and possibly, just possibly, making a good picture of something.

It’s magic, you know?