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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Did You Get It?

Bridal Veil Falls

My wife and I were privileged to spend a few hours in Yosemite National Park a few days ago. We took our cameras. Nearly everybody else we saw had one, too. Once I heard the question that our own family has sometimes posed: "Did you get it?" What does that mean? The question assumes that it is possible to capture, digitally or chemically, a scene from nature, or human interaction. Can we really do that? If we have gotten it, what have we gotten?

These thoughts are not original, but I don't know any particular source for them. This rather long article has some of the same thoughts, but I've thought them before. You probably have, too.

Bridal Veil falls is still falling. I'm not there to see it. The digital image I am posting is far from a perfect representation of the experience of being down below the waterfall. Even if I could post a motion picture, with audio, it still wouldn't fully capture the experience. There would be no smells, for example. And I can't capture Bridal Veil Falls. It's still there, even at night when no one is looking. So why do I try? Why do web services like Flickr exist? (I know -- nothing else is exactly like Flickr).

In part, I think, because I want to own the experience. I also want to prove to others that I do. I hope there's nothing wrong with that, but an experience with nature, or an experience with other persons, is something to be experienced, not owned. It can only be partly communicated, no matter how skilled the photographer is. I'll never own Bridal Veil Falls. God does.

5 comments:

Weekend Fisher said...

I think that when I get out the camera it's because I know that what I'm seeing deserves to be eternal. It's that longing for Eden, for the perfection and beauty to be always there.

Bonnie said...

I take photos because I notice things and want other people to see them too. In a way, for me it's also about capturing truth -- that there is beauty and interest and meaning in the world and in living. And I do it because it's something that's in me to do :-).

(But sometimes I "get it," and sometimes I don't ;-) )

It's Time to Live... said...

The more I photograph, the more I get it. God's creation and not natures chance. Creative design and not unorganised chance. Thanks for making me think.....again.

Martin LaBar said...

August 11, 2008: Thank you for your comment, it's time to live. It is much appreciated.

Martin LaBar said...

I hope that I commented, with gratitude, on Bonnie's blog, and on Weekend Fisher's blog (which is still active)