I don’t mean, you understand, any photograph in particular; rather, I mean the photograph in general, that moment when you press the shutter and quite literally freeze time in a frame.
I could wax lyrical about daguerrotypes and pinhole cameras and camera obscuras, but the long and short of it is this: that we are all of us miracle workers, for we record the animate business of life on a 2D representation which will prompt us and haunt us years, decades into the future.
So that the first pictures, taken in the final quarter century of the nineteenth century, stare fixedly at us in grave monochrome. Some of those early faded moments enchant us, some spook us. But we look back at families ravaged by the first war, women in bustles and starched black frocks; young men in the outfits they will leave in, forever, to go and die; these moments have a clear and present nature even 125 years after the shutter came down on that scene.
Today I salute the photograph. I would love it if you might share your most iconic moment: one which resounds across the years as some of mine do to me. We are all of us sorcerers and alchemists, trapping life on a sheet of glossy paper and looking at it, years later, when our eyes are watery and rheumy, and full of sleep, and remembering it as if it were yesterday. Here are some of mine.