camera obscura, and a mantra for the new year
Camera obscura is one of those concepts that I studied many years ago in my high school physics class, and back in the day, I could recite what it meant on any test; but honestly, I never really understood how or why it worked. In essence, it's the concept behind a pinhole camera: an image projected through a tiny hole into a dark room will appear inverted and upside-down on the back wall of that same room. (A clearer definition can be found here -- thanks, Wikipedia.) There are theories that artists used the concept behind camera obscura to produce many of the photo-realistic paintings from the Renaissance that we admire; eventually, camera obscura became the foundation of modern-day photography.
In essence, the camera obscura takes an image and creates a false reproduction -- it's not the real image, it's upside down and inverted.
It's like that famous Magritte painting: ceci n'est pas une pipe. The image isn't the real thing. It's something more.
Photography literally means "to draw with light," and there's a famous saying that goes, "every photograph is a self-portrait." In essence, the theory is that in addition to the subject of the photograph, there's always something of the photographer that is left in any image they make. I believe this to be the case, actually, and I'm not the only one: check out this amazing article of a photography historian who borrowed Ansel Adams' camera and shot the same image, yet it didn't look the same. The historian and Ansel each left different things in their images.
The camera always looks both ways. The image isn't the real thing. It's something more.
At the end of 2016, I finished the first draft of my second book, and right now, I'm about to start the first round of personal edits before I actually turn it into my publisher next week for the real editing process to begin. As it sits right now, it's in its really rough stages -- there are typos, things don't flow as well as I'd like, I still need to make sure I have all the images that I need. And yet, there are some really good things in this manuscript -- the book heavily features the wisdom of thriving from women of a range of ages who are doing just that, and my word, they are an inspiring bunch. I can't wait for you to read it.
The book is called Make Light. Because that's exactly what these women do.
And motivated by their words, the beginning of a new year, and the fact that 2017 is the year that I turn 50 (!), "make light" is going to be my mantra for the year. I'm not entirely sure what forms my making light will take, but it will be intentional, it will have motive, it will stay defiantly on mission (perhaps militantly so), and I'll be keeping in mind that my images aren't the real thing -- they'll be something more.
Happy New Year, friends. Here's to all of us making more light in 2017.
Soundtrack: Stay alive by José Gonzáles