As I was reading last night, I had my television on and tuned to my Chromecast. I wasn’t streaming anything through the Chromecast, just enjoying the slideshow that it displays by default. I looked up from my book at one point, and had to stop reading so that I could spend as much time with the photograph on the screen as the slide show would allow. A pier beckoning the viewer out onto a serene lake, the photograph was not unlike many others I’ve seen; But in that moment, it transported me into a realm of awe and wonder.
A photograph begins solidly in the world, regardless of filters, photoshop, or other manipulations. It begins always as something tangible in this moment, in this place. A potter works with clay, a poet with words, a photographer with time and space. In short, with existence.
When I spend time with a beautiful photograph, I’m not only seeing the image but also embodying the photographer — I am seeing through her eyes, standing where she stood, and felling the awe and reverence she felt. Not a “looking at” but a “looking with” and, in very wondrous moments, a “looking through.”
When I pause and see clearly into a work of art, rather than at it, my chest aches as it expands with a rembrance of something larger than myself.