Photos and the Moment in Time

Tisha Bender - And All Is Always Now - Photography - Author

Nowadays we are all photographers.  We whip out our phones and take photos of anything that impresses us. But this is a relatively recent change. Before the new millennium, when our phones were not smart and our cameras were not digital,  we would lug around bulky and weighty cameras, which might frankly have been quite cumbersome to take on a trip.

In my novel, And All is Always Now, our protagonist Fleur is about to visit the Lake District, and sensibly decides to buy a camera beforehand. So she purchases a large SLR camera which she spies in the window of a second-hand shop. But, to her astonishment, her camera takes photos of events - some serene and some shockingly disturbing - but which are all radically different from the scene before her. Fleur's camera is almost like a character in the unfolding of events in the novel, revealing secrets of its own. 

We all take for granted that the subject we have photographed will be recorded in a photo. Perhaps we worry that it will not be a good likeness, or that we were not smiling, or even that we blinked when the photo was taken. Or perhaps we can artfully use our cameras to embellish reality; to take a photo perhaps of just one side of an attractive woman's face knowing that there is a blemish on her other cheek; or to touch up colours of the photo to make it more striking. 

But that's just it! We're still bound by the reality of the moment, even if we want to highlight some aspects and hide others. But in the case of Fleur's camera, an entirely different subject matter was revealed in each photo than the one she had viewed and filmed. It might, very possibly, be showing an image of an event in the future that had not yet happened. Alternatively, it might be recording an event from long ago.

What accounted for Fleur's camera acting this way? 

Have you ever experienced enormous surprises in photos you have taken?