Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Mental Tattoo

A picture is worth a thousand words. I believe it. It's worth more, really. A photograph is like a mental tattoo. You'll have the moment forever, it's essence epitomized for eternity. There are a million details in one photo.

In class, I had to write a seven page paper analysing a photograph of George Bush. I didn't know it was possible to have so much to say on one picture, but it is. What did the photograph say? What was the message, the tone, the personal perspective, historical perspective, the context?

By looking at this photo I took, what do you see?

It is simple to say that there are flowers and a building. The focus is on the flower, but the architecture can easily be seen. There is a little bit of sky showing at the top of the photo.

This photo was taken in Vienna, Austria on July 5, 2010. This is a picture of St. Stephen's Cathedral, a grand, massive church. It is utterly gorgeous inside and out. It towers over you, overwhelms you really. I could not get the entire tower from top to bottom in the shot; it wasn't possible.

It was a hot summer's day. Tons of tourists were flocking to the church, taking photos and talking noisily. The sky was baby blue. The clouds were fluffy and white like an enormous cotton ball. The sky is more beautiful abroad. It's official. I've decided.

I had taken various shots of the amazing architecture, trying to take the experience all in. I took a couple of shots with the Barbie pink flowers and the Cathedral, but this one was the one that focused. I love flowers and I love churches. Both components of the photo were beautiful to me. Put the two together and I am in heaven.

What you see in this photograph is beauty. Pink flowers. A pretty church. What you can't see: me. You'll never know how happy I was, how fatigued I was, how my hair looked. But I will.

A photo is a less permanent tattoo. You don't have to look at it every day when you get dressed, but you can look at it whenever you want. In 10, 50, or 100 years from now, that moment will exist for others to witness. It is perplexing, the power of a picture.

1 comment:

  1. I was in that same spot a month after you.
    But even though I'm a writer too and an art student, and even if i'd taken the exact same photo as you the photos would have a different resonance for each of us (different plays performed on the same set)
    And although I like the tattoo metaphor to me photos are more like keys to memories or windows onto the past- but poignant windows like when you take a last look out over a favourite city from a departing plane.
    Greetings from London :)


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