Friday, May 4, 2012

Suppose it were Friday lxii: let's open a yellow box

"I come from a time" when, to bear responsibility for the photo-graphic image, was a welcome and thrilling, conscious experience. This is a time which has not expired in me but which parallels a time, flourishing as I write, in which responsibility for the photograph is happily exchanged for receiving the images of an impertinent servant, immediately. This ostensible collaborator is the digital camera. The camera which recalcitrantly does not create an exposure at the instant I would have chosen; does not allow focus to dissolve as it does or concentrate as it does in my sight; does not allow my perception of colour and lighting balances to be registered, without extensive post-photographic manipulation, but which does compensate me with an image which can be seen by millions in a few seconds, and which can intrigue me as a spectacle I never saw, myself. Harold Pinter, where are you.

One's first camera was likely a gift. The gift of that camera in one's boyhood, in the "time" I am describing, was an occasion of ceremonial registration of one's accession to yet an other plane of autonomy. I realise how audaciously insensitive some of the observations here seem to be, but these terms are no exaggeration. They are also not the half of it. The gift of a camera meant to be asked what one could say with only what one could see; and this meant being acquainted with the existential shock of how much remained to be done, to develop that function.

For some 60 installments in this series, the empowerments of Friday have been celebrated without ambiguity. It would be perverse if the empowerments of the film camera, enriched as they are by obligation and incentive, demand and discipline, should be seen in any other light. For what do I have this sense of sight, if not to indulge the joy of being taught? Even in this "time," the digital camera allows this perception to emerge negatively, by the sabotage of its connivance. It simply doesn't let my eye enjoy its sense of touch. It does show me how little my sight can preserve or protect what I see.

In my time there still is Friday, recreated and renewed when I crack open a yellow box. I'm restored to going looking, and respecting what I see.

i  Alex Dunstan


  1. "This is a time which has not expired in me..."
    Here, a sentence is worth an image !
    YOU had open the yellow box ?!!!
    Let's see and share.
    (You get stronger every day)

    1. This is the handsomest invitation I have received since my college cut me the same slack. I'll see what I can do!