Can a camera truly capture a moment in time when it is unable to capture itself or its user in that moment?
The camera never lies, or so they say. I say the camera lies all the time. It tells the lies you want it to tell. It catches the scene you want people to see. But we do the same time all the time.
When you take a holiday snap to show off your awesome tan on some exotic beach, you don’t want to include the family fighting over there, or the heap of garbage on the other side. You make sure the camera is focused on you and your awesomeness or the amazing sunset or your friends. You show the moment in time that you want to capture.
We all see moments in time from our own perspective. There’s no way that we can capture a moment from someone else’s perspective really – I see my workday as long and tiring but challenging. My colleague sitting just behind me may see it differently. If I’m writing about my day, it’s about MY day. Ditto if I’m taking a photo to represent my day. It can only represent the day from my perspective.
You know when you’re home from your AMAZING vacation and you’re looking through your photos, how difficult is it to find one of yourself? Especially if you’re the photographer of the trip, you’re very rarely in the photo. There’s often very little proof that you were actually, well, THERE. So has the camera captured the moment completely or just the moment from your point of view? I has – you didn’t see yourself there. You WERE there. Seeing the action from behind your eyes. You captured the scene, the moment, the action as you saw it. Therefore it’s accurate.
Where I think the different comes up is when you analyse not if the camera truly captures a moment, but if the camera could ever capture a life, everything about an event or an experience. Unless the camera operator is completely separate to the event, I don’t think so.
The only way this can happen is if every person has their own camera operator, their own paparazzi. I don’t actually think that’s too far off really. We’re already documenting every aspect of our lives online through blogs and Facebook and Twitter and now Google+. How far fetched is it really to think that one day we’ll all be monitored by our own camera operators? The camera alone may not capture a moment entirely but it’ll get pretty close to capturing a life.