Saturday, March 29, 2003

The Still Image

This war is entering all of our homes through our televisions. The moving images that we see are not only emotionally moving but physically 'moving pictures'.

What suprises me is the fact that I find myself drawn to and most moved by the still images that I see.

These still image gives the mind and heart time to take in the details. From the fact that a young US soldier is handing out M&Ms to the weariness and commitment in the eyes of a Marine during battle.

Perhaps my distrust of all the video footage of this war is a result of having seen one to many movies. The footage has a certain sense of unreality - almost as though it is another movie. Things happen so fast and we are only watching through one small lens in a video camera - it is hard to get a sense of scale or of what is actually happening. Yet at the same time the video seems to claim that it is telling the whole story - like in a movie.

Still images do not try to tell the whole story. They are giving you only the briefest of glimpses in to what happened and how. Yet because they freeze time we have the ability to reflect on and investigate what these images have captured.

I feel somehow connected to the person behind the still camera. Perhaps it is because I love photography so much and perhaps it is because I have developed and printed my own pictures. For whatever reason I think that virtually every person feels that connection. We have all at some time in our life put a camera up to our eyes and captured a moment in time.

Decades from now there will be images that we will all indelibly connect to this war. I know that for me they will be still images - even if this is a video war.


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