Whenever I make films, or film live on stage within groups I take photographic portraits. I had always wondered if a sense of the human soul could be captured in a single frame.
Recently on assignment within an organization I took a set of such photographic portraits alongside the experience of live film and ended up writing a set of simple guidelines as to how one might experience such photographs and by implication any living person one might happen to be with.
I imagine these words to be useful for all.
The Possibility Of A Photograph
Might the experience of a photographic portrait be best finding you, not you it?
Like the experience of music. Music that fills the atmosphere without any requirement to understand it.
Might it simply be the other way around? The experience is to find you across a clear and hallowed space.
These simple guidelines might help.
Do not attempt if distracted. View the portrait full screen, and on as large a screen as you’ re able. Give each portrait more than a cursory glance. A full one minute. Alongside an ounce of patience. Set a timer.
Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
Notice what’s here. Notice what’s yours. What comes from you. Your observation. Your analysis. Your opinion. Your translation. Your need to do something with this experience. And then for just this moment, set it all down. Let this be. Let it all be.
From here, start with nothing. No-thing. No act on your part. No need to do anything with this.
For just this moment. A glorious and simple moment of not having to know. Then, let the experience of this person find you. A person with as profound an experience of life as you. The joy, the sadness and the much in between. An inner life that is as yet unknown to you.
What is it that now finds you? From this image taken in a fraction of time. In a moment of almost no time.
What is it that now finds you? About the person facing you. Beyond the everything you may have previously assumed. About the everything you may have unknowingly looked past.
Who is it that sits across from you?
And beyond this single photographic portrait, in the experience of your day to day together with those that surround you, might it also simply be the other way around? Might the profound experience of these oh-so-similar souls be best finding you? Like the experience of music. A possibility beyond all your best efforts.
And if you were to let this happen, what then? What then for the way you might be together? What then for the world you might create. Together.