“A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there — even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity.”
–Robert Doisneau – Weekend Guardian (London, 4 April 1992)
An arresting thought – over a lifetime a photographer is lucky to take two or three hundred really fine pictures, Considering that each one represents the merest fraction of a second, a life’s work in truth captures just a few seconds of eternity. Even if you add together all the photographers who have created good work, only an infinitesimal fraction of time has been recorded in these works.
What of the rest of time? Was it not worthy of recording? Or was it simply that no one was there with a camera, or they didn’t recognize the significance of the moment? It’s likely that the best photographic opportunities slip by unnoticed.
The lesson here is to pay attention! It’s one of the traits most artists possess – an obsession with paying attention to what’s around them, to small details, to everyday things observed from a new angle, to looking more closely or from further away, to fleeting light, to juxtaposition.
You only have the ability to capture a very few moments in time – choose them carefully!