Toward The Camera

The stillness of a photograph always implies motion. Painting is necessarily a record of  moments, a summary of the sitter's imposed stillness. It contains as much of yesterday as of today and will pick up tomorrow where it left off as if nothing had intervened. But a photograph is a single and singular moment snatched out of a continuum. You can snap a series of moments to recreate motion, like Muybridge's galloping horse (motion simulated through stop-motion reveals what the human eye cannot see, the horse momentarily in flight). Or, quickly, even before it is seen
                                            the moment's
                                                      heliotropic
                                         pivot
                                                 toward the camera's
                                                                             snap
                                 back      forward
                                                    beside itself
                                                           radiant with possibilities

 

Photo by Jennifer Kapala

Photo by Jennifer Kapala

Radiant With Possibility - photo by Willy Wilson

Radiant With Possibility - photo by Willy Wilson

in constant motion - photo by Barb Toyama

in constant motion - photo by Barb Toyama

The End of Summer

Doubled or blurred

the leaves I cannot see

without glasses, each twirling

greenly on its own stem, so

singular, turning alone,

together, to sun, to wind,

the chill of autumn,

green leached away

to sweetness, to honey

or amber till even that

withers, draws inward, 

begins again.

Last light of summer - Jennifer Kapala

Last light of summer - Jennifer Kapala

Photo by Barb Toyama

Photo by Barb Toyama

To Sweetness, Honey, or Amber - Photo by Willy Wilson

To Sweetness, Honey, or Amber - Photo by Willy Wilson

Night and Day

Treading on your own shadow,

that dark other self,

lover of sunlight,

childhood companion,

early to bed early to rise,

the one you forget,

larger or smaller than life,

still stately

beneath the bright prismatic moment

yielding its gaudy spangle

to this daytime night

like a furtive smile

That Dark Other Self -  Willy Wilson

That Dark Other Self -  Willy Wilson

Childhood Companion - Jennifer Kapala

Childhood Companion - Jennifer Kapala

larger or smaller than life - Barb Toyama

larger or smaller than life - Barb Toyama

The Invention of Photography, or Light as Muse


The ancient Greeks thought light came from the eye itself, put there as fire--along with earth, air, and water--by Aphrodite. The eye, in other words, was like the flashlight on the back of your iPhone or the flash on your camera--only for some reason, it didn't work at night. Later, the Roman poet Lucretius would say that light was made up of atoms racing through space in the direction determined by whatever gave them a shove, like minuscule billiard balls--an idea that took a while to catch on. Later still, in the Middle Ages, what you believed about light and darkness, as reflections of what you believed about good and evil, could get you burned at the stake (long story having to do with Manichaeism). Even today it might get you a cold shoulder (as opposed to a hot auto-de-fey), at least from postmodernists, who eschew such binary oppositions. The history of light isn't all dark, though. Centuries before Lucretius, on the other side of the world, the Chinese discovered that light focused through a pinhole into a dark room created an inverted image of what was on the other side of the pinhole (which is roughly how the eye works). Project that image onto a light-sensitive medium and you get a photograph, but it would take a couple of millennia to figure out
                                                   wave entwined particle
                                            equals light    darkens silver chloride
                                                                            stills
                                                       its bounce of
                                  particle curve of
                                                         wave      entwines eye      brain
                                         & image, image &
                                                                   image-making

Photo by Barb Toyama

Photo by Barb Toyama

Towards The Light - Photo by Jennifer Kapala

Towards The Light - Photo by Jennifer Kapala

Photo by Willy Wilson

Photo by Willy Wilson