Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Photographer's Eye - Time

This is the fourth part of my previous entries regarding John Szarkowski's book, the Photographer's Eye. This entry is related to the fourth of what Szarkowski says are the five characteristics of the medium of photography - Time.

The introduction of The Photographer's Eye states: "This book is an investigation of what photographs looks like, and why they looks that way. It is concerned with photographic style and with photographic tradition: with the sense of possibilities that a photographer today takes to his work." As a way of understanding what the medium uniquely offers to the visual arts, Szarkowski's thesis introduces five characteristics inherent to photography: “The Thing Itself,” “The Detail,” “The Frame,” “Time,” and “Vantage Point.”

According to Szarkowski, there is not such thing as an instantaneous photograph - all photographs are time exposures of shorter or longer duration and each describes and illustrates a moment in time. A photograph, in and of itself, describes only that period of time in which it was made. Photography alludes to the past and the future only insofar as they exist in the future. Szarkowski goes into much detail regarding the evolution and progression of photography and the material and equipment used to make photographs but the central concept immobilizing these thin slices of time photographer discovered that there was a pleasure and a unique beauty in this fragmenting of time that had little to do with what was actually happening. Rather, it had to do with seeing the momentary patterning of lines and shapes that had previously been hidden within the flux of movement. This is what Henri Cartier Bresson, one of my personal favorite photographers, defined as "the decisive moment".

I've gone through m archives and I think that the following images fall within the parameters of what Szarkowski explains.

to be young

When East Meets West

Curious Boy

A Place of Worship

step by step

The Pretty

Dame Tu Calor

Working It

A Crack Reflecting


thirsty boy

Paris is For Lovers

La Femme

step by step

Regarde Moi

En Una Rueda

so fresh and so clean, clean

Horsing Around

The Preparation