"It is like intensive agriculture: we produce more for cheap but this has a cost: bad taste or no taste at all. Can not find, and this is not a joke, a proper tomato in Madrid now. They look beautifull but they have no taste at all."
And it's as bad here, in Mallorca. We used to buy everything from the Sunday market in Pollensa, then after I was alone I had neither the heart nor the need anymore because I'm a terrible cook. I bought some tomatoes last week, they looked beautiful, so three came home with me to make a snack in the evenings. Almost immediately I had to throw one out - they had been frozen, yet the owners of the shop have a finca where they grow their own... the same with out-of-season fruit: it comes from South America and is either too ripe or too much the other way.
And I think photography, related to time, is much the same too.
In the case of amateur photojournalism, which is where some on this thread major, however much they may feel differently they do eventually admit to working a worn groove. As to whether or not they are in the right place at the right time or not, that is, for them, usually out of their hands; but, for the pro pj it is not: he has to be there where the riot, the political protest, the march takes place. And that's why his batting average is so much higher: he is in the right place at the right time. And to complicate the problem, he has a reason to be where he is whilst the amateur does not, he has only a wish to get something, anything. (Donovan...?)
There is a huge difference betwen catching a couple having a kiss on 5th Avenue and catching a soldier blowing away a prisoner on another street in another country. The intentions of the photographers are probably identical, but the opportunities - as the risks - are worlds apart. I feel that the shared excitement is largely imaginary. But we have made heroes out of these war junkies, weekend supplement whores, or just crazies. And I think we have because they go where most sane people fear to tread. Slightly perverse?
But back to time.
It was mentioned that photographic souvenir value counts for a lot, that it can bring comfort in old age. Perhaps, but with it can come as much regret as solace. I recently posted a pic of my old dog – dead twenty years; yes, searching for it because of the thread on dogs was a sort of mild fun, but it also opened up another can of worms, memories of walking with her with my late wife, with the kids, all of us playing with her in the snow in the local park during her first winter in life, and is that sweet? I wonder; I think it is probably more bitter than sweet.
When you are young, you seldom think about the distant future; pictures you shoot are about the moment, not an imaginary future you may or may not see.
It is said that time is a healer. I seriously doubt that. I believe that time allows things to distil, that it slowly eliminates the inconsequential subtexts and leaves you with the enormity of what has been lost staring you full in the face. And I believe that it is usually a matter of loss in old age. Personally, other than the kids, there is now nobody left of my family or little social group that knows much first-hand about me, my early life, my interests, where I went or what I did. And isn’t that revealing? What I did, where I went… and at the time it wasn’t just in the singular, but that’s how it becomes when thought is all that remains. One retreats ever more into the self. The alternative, becoming everyone’s new best friend is too sad to contemplate. And the hypocrisy in such would be as intolerable as it would transparent.
So in the scheme of things, photography is different things to each of us depending on opportunity, age and desires. Is it a bedroom key? Does it supply relief from a killing day-job? Does it give that adrenalin rush nothing else can?
All I know right now is that it gives me an out from the racing heads, the vicious circles that otherwise creep in unbidden and eat one’s mind like a worm.
Thank God for photography at this moment, this period in time. I wish it could also fix blood pressure, low or high, though I suspect that its buddy, the computer, is a malevolent big mother doing its best to kill me too.