We Are Sorcerers With Our Ability to Stop Time

That’s what we are as photographers. What is this strange power we wield? We tell this thing–time–that we’re going to arrest it. Freeze frame. Put it on hold. It’s incredibly bold to think this thing that never stops, something so precious, that we each only get so much of, something a part of our natural world since the dawn of time, that we can catch it and tie it down.

Hold a moment. For keeps!

Yes, we can. That’s exactly what we do when we make photographs. (And have been since 1839, not really for all that long in the history of mankind.)

Take this trio. Wearing the bright smiles of youth. They’re having fun together, hanging out and eating from a food truck at a local Boulder festival. Does it get any better than this?

It’s all good when you’re that age, you’re full of energy, ready to try anything–you haven’t figured out yet what you don’t like, so you’re open to it all. You have your whole life ahead of you. You’re invincible (at least it feels that way as I remember it).

Looking back at that photograph, you see he’s got a film camera with a flash over his shoulder. That’s how we met–photography was our introduction. I had a Leica in my hand. We chatted. I asked to make his and his friends’ portrait. I stopped them right there where they were.

To make them stay that way, in that place and time forever. Frozen in time.

The trio in that photograph will never age, get sick, grow old or die. That’s the sorcery right there. They’ll forever be hanging together, waiting to get their dinner from that food truck, looking back at me, some guy who wanted their photograph. I’ve created a thing–an actual photograph–that holds that moment forever, that lets them (and us) go back to that moment anytime we want to relive that second in time, at that age, in that line, at that festival, all together.

No matter what life brings and where it takes them, they’ll always have that summer evening all those years ago.

Forever young. That’s what photography gifts us. The chance to save today forever. To arrest the aging process. To stop time.

What a gift.

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