Chronicles of the Wayward Moot

WELCOME TO THE MOOT, oh world-wanderers and word-whisperers. After two years of Peace Corps. After 2,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. What. Comes. Next?

16/10/2011



I have often dreamt that I was making photographs.

In my dreams, I find myself exploring fantastic locales with as much depth, color, and fascinating shape as the "real life" places I have traveled in the physical world. In these dreamscapes, just as in my physical existence, I often seem to have in my possession a camera. Which make and model I'm shooting with never seems apparent or important, but I always have the distinct experience of composing an image with this dream camera ... choosing what to include and what to leave out, then waiting patiently for the right moment of action when the subject gives away just enough of its essence to the camera to be worthy of capture. Sometimes I wake up later and feel a little bit dismayed that the images I made in my dream aren't there for enjoyment or sharing with others.

The word "camera" originates from the term camera obscura, or "dark chamber" in Latin. This refers to a simple means of projecting an image onto a surface within a darkened space via a small aperture through which light may enter.

I'll take analysis of the term a little further. If a camera is essentially a chamber, then what else can a chamber do in our modern world? There's the combustion chamber in an engine, which allows for a mixture of air and fuel to burn in a controlled manner, applying expanding pressure to a piston which in turn moves a connecting rod, crankshaft, etc. eventually locomoting a vehicle and presumably its occupants to some destination, even if the joy of motion is itself the destination. (A Bugatti Veyron engine happens to have 16 chambers, for example.)

Another relatively recent human invention is the firearm. A firearm requires a projectile (with explosive-containing cartridge attached) to be placed inside of a chamber. When the explosive element is ignited, the force - much like with anengine - is directed by the walls of the chamber in a specific direction. Just as an engine's piston is pushed by the combustion, a firearm's projectile is pushed. Just imagine howthese two similar technologies, shaped by simple physics, have shaped the world we live in.

A camera, to me, is a chamber where the power lies in what goes into it as opposed to what comes out. Happy shooting!

A California Indian Pink is exuberant alongside the Hite Cove Trail early in 2011.

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