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Soul Stealers...
2012
unknownj
Primitive cultures are said to believe that mirrors and photographs steal a little bit of the soul of the thing that they show. Civilized cultures make the mistake of disagreeing with that. Or perhaps they all forgot how to put soul into a photograph.

Photography has always interested me, since I was little. I still remember my father using his old camera, trying to take pictures of lightning on holiday. Whenever I wasn't on holiday, I'd sometimes look through photo albums at how it looked back when I was. I like to think that I have a photographic memory, but I remember a time when I didn't. I couldn't remember faces when I was little - I had to picture locations, and then imagine the people in them, and then I could just about remember how people looked. Photographs stopped me needing to do that.

I always admired my father (although I probably never told him) because he took photos. Because I couldn't, I'd point my camera at something, click the button, and be able to look at what I pointed it at again and again. But that's not why you take photos. My dad would take photos of something, and the photographs would look better than the scene he was looking at. I dunno how, but he could capture something else, beyond what was really there - the underlying beauty behind it, or something.

I could never do that. For years, I admired anybody who could do that - take photos. I treasured a few photos of my own, because sometimes I really managed to either take a good photo of something, or take a bad one that still reflected a lot of what I was looking for. I have a picture of Shimi that I took when I was little to prove to Adam and Dan that she existed. Sadly, she sun was directly behind her head, and it came out rather badly. Worst picture I've ever taken that didn't include my thumb, that one. But it was still a good photo, somehow. Hard to explain why, but it was because it was (then) the only photo of her I had. I kept it in my little personal organizer for years.

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to take photos of things - I wanted to figure out how it is that you can capture a little bit of somebody or something's soul with a photograph. I wanted my dad's old camera, but I forgot to mention this, and I think my sister got it. So I forgot about any ideas of getting a camera right then, although periodically (as my journal probably shows) I've thought of getting one... I just never got around to it.

So why now? It's becoming worryingly obvious to me that two things are problems right now. The first is that I have an inability to write. Or, rather, write how I want to. I keep this journal for me, not for anybody else, and I'm conscious of the fact that in 10 years, will I be able to bear the person I am right now, and the stuff I'm writing? Perhaps not - I'm not writing in a way that entertains me right now. I'm still aware that I need to keep this time in my life for years to come. Photos will do that.

The second problem I'm facing right now is that I'm about to be abandoned. Four people I care about and would like to consider to be my friends are about to wander out of my life, potentially forever. Lollo, Ebs, Annie and Joyce are all leaving over the next three weeks, and won't be coming back. James and I can probably be assured the occasional visit from Ebs, James will see Lollo, but odds are, I'll not see our American contingent again. Right now, that's depressing me and fucking me up more than anything else in my life, to be honest. Four people I've lived with over the past year, grown close to, will be gone from my life in the next three weeks.

The soonest of those is Joyce, who is leaving in the middle of next week. We're having her leaving party on Monday. And until today, I didn't have a single picture of her. I needed to change that urgently. I also need pictures of all my flatmates, and of my flat (my room, kitchen, dining room, Vicky's room, Claire's room, James's room, everywhere I often go), and of the university in general. There's somebody that I want to show them too, since she's not really seen my world as much as she could have.

I went out walking a while ago, and took some photos. I know what I'm looking for now. Bunny rabbits running in the fields, a view of the university taken with a border of trees and plants around it, a view from the sea as seen from out the back of my flat (yes, walk out of the back door and 15 yards and you can see the sea), pictures of the valley from my window. I now only have two or three pictures left in the film, assuming it was a standard 24 exposure film (and since this one came with the camera, I expect it was). I'll take it to be developed tomorrow - there's another couple of pictures I want, but it needs to get darker before I can take them. We look like we're having a nondescript sunset, which is a shame - I need a silhouette of the valley against the sky - I don't need to worry too much about the sky being too light and stuffing up the exposure, that'll just improve the effect I'm trying to get. But it'd be nice to have a backdrop of a sunset. The sun went down ages ago, but because I'm in a valley, it's still not dark...

Oh well, I'll get photos of something, then take the film to the chemist tomorrow and get some more. There's so much stuff I've meant to grab pictures of. So many souls to grab little parts of. Just so long as the thing doesn't take my soul - these things should carry warnings: "Please aim away from face" :o)

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Its bizarre, I've known you for ..errr too long, (10yrs ish) and I've got about 3 pictures of you, 2 ball ones, my smart bunny and then one of you on our last day of year 7, its a classic.

Three, eh? Hmm... Anyway, isn't it your sister who has that ball photo? ;o)

But yes, it's odd - but then again, I haven't got pictures of many of my friends. I have a few of Ben and Oliver from when they went on holiday with me a few years ago, a few of Chris, Grant and Dan from Chris' 18th, and a couple from the ball of you.

I guess it's just because I'm camera-shy, and because I don't take many pictures myself either...

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