|FIRMAMENT, © 2011, Bill Brockmeier, all rights reserved
Such an initial contact with the photographic process was an auspicious entrance for me into this art– first discovered by Joseph Niepce in France. I suspect that the magic of seeing light itself paint an image was as entrancing and magical for him as it was– and still is– for me.
Light, although it can be seen (of course it can be seen– in fact, light is all we CAN see!), seems fleeting, ephemeral, untouchable, and pretty much inscrutable. This "stuff" is all around us and the conduit by which we mostly perceive the external world, and yet it is a mystery that still baffles us. It is not surprising that many cultures, when first confronted with those who those who sought their portraits with a camera, believed their souls were being taken in a box, and captured on a piece of paper. Photographers, even now, casually speak of "capturing" a portrait or a scene.
A photograph is a thin, flimsy record of physical reality. It has very little of the rich depth and weight of even the briefest moment of the smallest piece of the real physical universe; and yet, as an art, it can be a powerful tool for expressing the inexpressible thoughts and emotions and longings of the human mind and heart and spirit. Just as light itself is our conduit for perceiving and understanding the external world, so photography can be a conduit for perceiving and understanding the world within.