Kokoro - 013 Life Lived in Moments

Life Lived in
A Brooks Jensen Arts Publication
Our group of photographers was spending three weeks in
the sub-freezing edge of the Gobi desert in inner-Mongolia. I have
fond memories of the people and events, but this moment — about
30 minutes, alone in the desert, photographing the skiff of new
snow on the dunes — is the most intense memory of the trip.
I walked away from the chatter, the hubbub, away from the
structures and machines. I walked across the snow toward the
freshly-covered dunes. I can still hear the scrunching-squeak of
the dry snow as it compressed under my boots. The sun dropped
below the horizon of the dune above me. The silence became
all-enveloping. The Moment swallowed me. The universe distilled
to Now. Crunch, crunch, pause — patterns in the dry snow and
cold sand. The beep/snap of my camera. Then crunch, crunch,
crunch, pause, more patterns in the dry snow and cold sand.
It may not be true, but I’ve heard that passionate
golfers can remember every shot on every hole
they’ve ever made. Sounds a bit far-fetched, but as
a photographer I can see the kernel of possibility in
the tale.
Photographs function as a kind of visual diary of
my life. I can remember the making each one upon
seeing it. More than that — I can feel it, hear it, as
though it were now. Crunch, crunch, patterns in the
dry snow and cold sand.
The image narrative in my photographs recounts
my life — not for anyone else, but clearly and
with precision for me. The narrative intensifies
certain moments — or do I have that backwards?
The more I think about this, the more it feels as
though the moments spent with my camera are
somehow more real, more intense, more engaging than so much of the rest of daily life. Is it that
looking intently impregnates the memory more
deeply? Is it that the act of artmaking clarifies the
moment so that we are more present and available for The Immediate to affect us? I’m not sure.
I just know that somehow these moments of my
life seem more real to me than others. Crunch,
crunch, patterns in the dry snow and cold sand.
Life is experienced as a conscious stream, but memory is a
series of moments, connected only by the most gossamer
of threads, separated by wide, wide gaps of — nothing.
To be an artist
is a life lived in moments.