it may not bother you, but every now and then i worry about the lives i might be stopping, for just the briefest moment, when i click the button that activates the shutter on my camera and makes it open and close. that somehow during that briefest of moments, time stands still. it stops the mother at the kitchen window watching her children play in the backyard; it stops the young couple walking along the beach holding hands, discussing their dreams; it stops a plumber on a saturday emergency call or the policeman in his cruiser as he turns into a vacant parking lot.
it may be that because i mostly photograph plants and landscapes, i don’t think of the consequences of stopping time, but when i look out at the world below i know that life is moving forward and it worries me that i’ve stopped all these lives that i can’t see by pressing the shutter button and that by doing that i’ve captured their moment, just like i’ve captured my own, but without their knowledge. that seems a heavy obligation. (it’s true, time has only stopped for the itsy-bitsiest of seconds–an atomic second, let’s say–and no one felt it, their lives did not end, obviously, although i imagine with 7 billion people on the planet, someone did die at the exact moment i pressed the shutter button and stopped time here in ______ ______ and their time did stop then too. this image then is a memory of their last breath, even though they may have never seen this landscape in their lives. do you understand my concern now?)
it’s a little frisson of anxiety at the activities of man (and other living beings on the planet) that i have no control over even though i have captured this moment — and now i’m sharing it with you, the viewer, making you culpable for the moment of stopped time and responsible for those lives as well. sharing does not alleviate, nor ease my guilt. i hope you’ll (you the viewer as well) understand and forgive me for taking a moment of your time and saving it (and sharing it) with the world (regardless of how many people might actually view it–i still stopped time on sunday, november 13th at around 3:21 p.m. pacific standard time and that is a memory of the world at that moment.)