Hello Cruel World
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
NY Times - Health
A Disease That Allowed Torrents of Creativity
By SANDRA BLAKESLEE
Published: April 8, 2008
New York Times - Art & Design - PHOTOGRAPHY REVIEW
In Atta Kim’s Long-Exposure Photographs, Real Time Is the Most Surreal of All
By HOLLAND COTTER
Published: July 12, 2006
“Atta Kim: On-Air” at the International Center of Photography
His view of Times Square leaves all the stationary elements — buildings and such — in crisp focus, but reduces traffic to a shimmering haze, a ghost of motion. Other famous New York intersections get the same treatment...
Every once in a while, I encounter an image that precisely expresses something of the way I feel about life. This morning was one of those "once in a whiles". This image, from "On-Air", an exhibition of Korean photographer Atta Kim's work currently at the International Center of Photography, is one of those images:
That's a photograph, an eight-hour exposure, of the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-seventh Street, looking south, here in New York City. I've walked through that intersection I don't know how many times on my way to my dentist's office. I've stood on that very corner at the right of the frame. I may even be in that picture. I could be — no way to know unless and until I find out the date and time on which the picture was taken.
But whether I'm technically in that particular photo, I'm certainly in it spiritually.
Granted, this is not the first time we've seen this type of photograph -- a long exposure wherein all that is alive is smeared into irrelevance, and all that is not alive remains clear and solid. Naturally, if we increased the exposure time -- to 800 years, say, instead of a mere eight hours — what seems clear and solid in this photo would smear into irrelevance just like the car and foot traffic above. Which is pretty much the essence of my response to this image.
As I said, I could be part of that smear in the lower right hand corner of the image. I certainly see myself there. My life, looked at one way, is an irrelevant smear — and yet it never feels that way to me. I look at that corner and I recall all the times I've stood there, lost in thought, ear buds in my ears, listening to one of my (liberal) talk shows, waiting for the light to change so I can cross.
The irony is that the irrelevant smear of life in that image is the very thing that reminds me I am here, and that I am as clear and as solid as all that is clear and solid in that image. But I know that I'm only clear and solid in my own time scale. My time scale is as justifiable as any other, but that does not make it the only time scale there is.
I'm haunted by time. I know that I was burped up by time and that I will — too soon for my tastes — be swallowed by it again. That fact is right there in that image above. But what's also there is this: Being reminded I am merely a part of the bloodstream reminds me of my own, um... corpuscularity.
July 12, 2006 at 07:19 AM
Comments: Post a Comment
This is my blogchalk:
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.