Saturday, March 24, 2007

Still & Moving (II)

I do still play the piano. I really do. It's just that lately I've been consumed with thoughts about video and image. (Ladybugs and butterflies, the game of jacks, and a pair of scissors, to be precise.) Video is a wild beast. Given thirty seconds, I feel I'm looking at thirty years. I am a perfectionist who wants to lavish attention on every frame, and there are thirty of those per second! The sensations are too much sometimes. The images overwhelm the imagination.

Certain photographs by Alfred Stieglitz satisfy my aesthetic requirements of a still image. A single frame, the captured moment in time, creates an expanse in my mind of all the time around it. My imagination thinks of all the frames that could have been captured by Stieglitz's eye: what did Georgia hear just before she turned her head, did she smile after he took the photo, did her hand leave a smudge on the automobile's shiny chrome wheel cover? It was one blink for the camera, but it is blink, blink, blink-again-blink for my mind's eye. A great still photo (or even a painting or other work of visual art) lets my thoughts wander three hundred and fifty nine degrees around the single viewpoint with which I am presented.

If I approach video with this mindset, it is no wonder I become overwhelmed. The two forms may share chemical genes, but one is still, and one is time-based. This is obvious, yet I seem to forget the fact every time I curl up to edit footage! I want to still the moving image...and then let it move again. I swim against the current, perhaps. To edit video with a photographer's eye will be a painfully detailed--painfully sensual--process, but one that just might yield poignant and intense and concentrated results. I may learn to tame the moving image, or I may find that I am really just taunting the still image into moving behaviors.


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