With the advent of the pandemic came a time to reflect – a sabbatical from life. Luckily I was in a position to sustain it without financial hardship. Not so for many good people whose livelihood collapsed and with it their dreams of their future. Our hearts should go out to them.
I admit that without the ability to travel my photography took a hit at one level, but at another, I was able to stop and think some more about the camera and the special role in human affairs. It is the first instrument we have developed that allows us to halt time and reduce space. That is important because as Immanuel Kant identified, without an implicit understanding of space and time we cannot make sense of the world.
But making sense of the world is not quite the same as being aware of its reality – its essence if you like. As Kant argued there is more that we can know than what we do know – there is an unbridgeable gap between the world of sensory phenomena, which is the stuff of our experience, and the indubitable reality behind our experience. The camera has the ability to allow us to hope off the merry-go-round of ongoing experience and give us the ability to peek behind surface impression. It gives us a fleeting glimpse, that is all, but it gives a glimpse and that is often as close as we can get to the fundamental truth of what is real and what is not.