Perception Better Than Reality
“The purpose of art is to impart to us the sensation of an object as it is perceived, not merely as it is recognized.”
I’m often asked if I have a favorite photo of all the ones I’ve made.
“No. Not really. There have been so many,” is usually my answer. Then I go into the story of Mother Teresa in Youngstown and how as she was leaving she smiled at me and touched my hand. The hand cradling the lens on my camera.
The quote at the top of this newsletter is paraphrased from Viktor Shklovsky, a Russian literary theorist, film critic, and screenwriter.
My memories of the Mother Teresa moment are probably an idealized perception of her passing by me surrounded by a phalanx of police officers protected her from the outstretched hands of believers who’d gathered in a high school gymnasium to hear her speak and pray and lined the exit doorway and sidewalk as she left.
Somewhere in my collection of prints from at least 40 years ago I have the photo I made that day. I think I have a print. I may have a print.
My perception of the moment has turned it into a stream of images moving like a film through my head. It can play on a continuous loop when I need to remember. I’m probably better off not finding the print. My perception of the moment, the film that runs through my head, and the individual frames in that film, have become the reality.
The reality when sensation becomes the truth.
“No. Not really. There have been so many,” is the reality.
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