“Whatever precautions you take so the photograph will look like this or that, there comes a moment when the photograph surprises you. It is the other’s gaze that wins out and decides.” — Jacques Derrida
I love surprises. They’re still there in the digital age, they’re just not as long anticipated as they were in the era when silver was king and you waited in the near dark for your surprises to reveal themselves ghost like under a dim ruby light. I try to surprise myself everyday, with every subject I shoot. I’ll try all the standard stuff, camera movement, subject movement, exposure adjustments, or anything else I can think of, but more often than not it is my subject that surprises me all on its own. Sometimes, somewhere between the looking, the seeing, and the clicking sound of a mirror swinging back home magic happens. It happens often enough to keep me leafing through thousands of images drear and mundane looking for the momentarily miraculous. This cartoon stolen from the New Yorker Magazine expressed it with a laugh, and this sunrise landscape shot this morning made it to the CBC webpage because of a surprise commuter hurrying through it. As we look at it we can wonder if they saw or if it registered for them at all.
Here’s hoping the magic finds you while your shutter is open.