Photographer’s Statement

Sometimes when I look at an object or observe the landscape from a certain angle, I experience — like a subtle change in the atmosphere — the presence of what I call “momentary being.” Like the way the roots of forest plants intermingle in the soil, this sense of momentary being seems entangled with other objects, other places, other moments.

In the fleeting light of an afternoon, or in a morning's chance perspective, a tree trunk or a rock formation resembles a mysterious face or mask. A drifting cloud or gurgling watercourse seems a presentiment of some hidden, perhaps universal dynamic taking place within reality. Infinite threads entwine my eyes, my memories, and my feelings, weaving this momentary being — an intricate architecture, which arrives carrying its own absence, like a melting snowflake.

Momentary being may announce itself in an immanence radiated by a single object, or as an animating force vibrating within a collection of objects. It may appear within some small piece or feature of a much larger object. It may pulse within the atmosphere of a place, not localized in the “things” of that place so much as in a diffusing of its color, light, and air.

Both Chaos Theory and Quantum Theory invite us to understand reality as an entanglement of relationships — both brief and long — crowded with nexuses where familiar forms arise that we perceive as autonomous and solid, though they are neither. Picture, for example, the immensely tangled and incalculable web of interacting currents, micro-currents and enfolded gravitational fields that constitute a wave on the ocean. The wave is singular and yet indistinct from the ocean itself, bulging upward and folding downward as it drives toward shore. The gouts of foam thrown off from the top of the wave are similar to ourselves and the objects that surround us, “things” separate from us as a “thing,” but also not. Our own being is an inherently momentary phenomenon, rising and sliding onward across time as the intersections of relationships, cascades of reflections, iterations, and fractal forms.

When I encounter momentary being, I impulsively want to take its picture. My desire is paradoxical, monstrously pretentious — and, as a practical matter, impossible.

We think of photography as an art that freezes the transience of life and transforms its relentless motion into monuments. — as an art of everyday and glorified snapshots. But at its lucky best, a photograph can be much more. It can reach down beyond its snapshot and suggest the relationships interwoven among “things” as momentary beings.

What is a momentary being? It is unknowable. A photograph may help the unknowable disclose its presence. I turn a corner, peer into a shadow, feel the strange spell of light; or in my meanderings I encounter a shape, a pattern, a cloud formation, a uncanny composition of landscape… Ah, a momentary being. An almost tangible spirit that has caught me in its web — or has it popped up, lively and wriggling, inside of mine? Can I take this spirit’s photograph and admire its secret before we both move on?


My special thanks to Paul Caponigro for curating this exhibition, applying his trickster-style inspiration to the selection of these pieces.