Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In Time

PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: When did I first become a time traveler? I must have been one at about age 6 when I noticed chips on the door frame of my bedroom. New York City apartments sometimes pass through many tenancies. The landlords' painters who repaint for each new tenant have a certain reputation; the chips were deep, the layers clearly defined. Each chip revealed a multi-colored stratification of paint layers, each a key into to a lost space - forgotten dynasties had thrived in my room, had occupied the places of my parents and family and me. From the number of different colors there might have been 15 or 20 such reincarnations of my space. Who were these people and what had become of them? What had happened where I stood?

At age 6, to my tiny years, the immensity of those 15 or 20 occupancies seemed as beyond reach as the moon and endlessly intriguing. Even then I felt charged by vague tendons through which the past grips the present.


Vienna for Beginners said...

I am surprised again and again about how brief those moments are where you can capture a sight like this. Years ago I read a short story about a woman observing a ray of sun illuminating a detail of a window. She had to wait a whole year for the sun to return to that same spot.

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

The angle of light in the window is fascinating - and the observation on paint layers. Brings to mind some of the articles on restoration of the National Trust properties.

I lived just outside Durham in two ex-mining village for four years when we were first married. The Cathedral is a majestic presence.
Slow pace of change.

Ted Roth said...

Merisi - I love your story about the woman waiting a year for the right light. I'm out shooting almost every day and frequently find old barns where the light won't hit a particular facade until the season changes. It's what keeps me going back to many of the same sites over and over. It's one of the things I love about photography. You've sparked thoughts that will undoubtedly turn up in future posts. Thanks for stopping by.

Julie - I would love to live by that glorious old town high on the hill and wrapped by the river. A few months even would be enough. Thanks for your comments.