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Tuesday April 15, 2003, 03:48

I just spent the better part of the last couple of hours revisiting several hundred photographs taken over the past year.

There really is nowhere else to go with that. The photographs that I've been taking are somewhere between a chronicle of my life and my life as I would like it to be presented which are two similar, but entirely different things. Sometimes they come together and are one and the same, but most of the time a photo is either one or the other.

I often walk out my front door with the pure intention of taking photographs. The path I will walk (down Regent Street, through Soho and back up through Bloomsbury and back home to Fitzrovia -- which is something that I did, one particular day, when I took photos of Storm Troopers outside of a toy store and a car that had fallen through the floor of the garage and was hanging precariously between the sidewalk and the garage itself, but is something that I can no longer do, being a good five time zones away from London -- for example) dictates the photos that I see, and the photos that I take will come only from the path taken. Other times I will set out about my day with a camera in tow, capturing life as it happens around me. The former is an exercise, a study in shapes and color, people and places. The latter is a study of human interaction: mine with the world.

The point is more and more that of a question. That is, the point is a question. And the question is what, if anything, is the point of capturing all of this life? Is it for now, for later, for me, for those close to me, or those flung far and wide? I would say that for those photographs that I publish on my site, the audience is intended to be as far reaching as possible, while still maintaining some sort of relevance to the viewer. I don't expect every image to resonate with everyone who comes across it, and the audience shouldn't expect that the images each have some significance within the world at large. Which is probably a cop-out as there must be some relevance because I decided that it was worth taking the photo in the first place, which should mean something.

Is it a matter of presentation then? When I sit at my dining table and sort through my photos, laying two side-by-side, flipping through them, does it make the experience any more real, and in doing so, does it apply any more significance to those particular images? An image can be powerful on a computer screen, but does an actual photograph hold more value? Does the enduring nature of the photograph (in the form of family albums decades old and bins of old photographs at flea markets) trump the technological advancements claimed by the digital encoding of a moment of life?

The point is to make a mark on the world. To be able to engage an audience and solicit feedback. To find an accidental audience sometime in the future, and live on, if not in its collective memory then at least in the imagined memory of each member who comes across that one image. Approval followed by immortality, all wrapped up in one little image.

I suppose there is another point to all of it. It's sitting at three in the morning, flipping through photos, and coming across an image that has such strong associations that you just have to stop and stare. You stop and you look at the image, and the wind comes back, and the ocean and the sky. Or the crowd and the roar of the planes overhead. Or the boy covered in stickers who said he was very very hot, and the couple you caught kissing when they thought nobody was looking. It all comes back to you in a flash, and it's the realization that you can live your entire life as many times as you want.

You've cheated time, in under a thousand words.

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