Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Boxer and the Photographer

Sure of his step, and eager to win, the shadow boxer enters the ring. His gloves laced tightly, his adrenaline high, he faces his shadow. He strikes, jabs, cuts, kicks--but never really grapples with his opponent--that dancing, black menace on the wall. He lunges forward--reaching out he is met at the barrier. The shadow silently laughs from the other side--just beyond his reach. He dances, it dances. He jumps, it jumps. He strikes out, it strikes back. Always countered, the boxer tires.

Completely spent, he slumps on his stool. Seeing the shadow do the same, he jumps up to declare victory--only to be met, in equal terms, by his shadow.

“We can’t both win!” the boxer yells.

“But we can both lose,” the shadow answers.

Firm in technique, and sure of his style, the photographer loads his film. His camera set, his adrenaline high, he begins his assignment. He frames, then shoots. He changes perspective, moving only as close as that invisible line lets him. He respects the barrier between recording and becoming involved. Physical reality, constantly changing, presents itself through his lens. It sways with his emotions and intellect. It constantly entices him--begging him to reach out--insisting he not touch. The photographer frames and shoots, frames then shoots again.
Sure that he has captured the essence of the scene, he retires to the darkroom. Later with pictures in hand, he compares his prints to reality.

They are not the same.

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