Scavenger Who Wanders

Photography, Memory and Impermanence

🌱 2022-02-13

I really like the analogy Jason Fulford uses when thinking about photography.

The collector I’m thinking of is a scavenger whose mode is to wander. He enters the woods with an open mind. He might find a Scarlet Elf Cup or a Hen of the Woods; he may come home with nothing but an empty pack of cigarettes. The collecting happens over many years. The analogy continues when it comes to editing, making sense of the mess. Presentation is considered. Similar items are compared; the weak examples are discarded. The collector asks: Is there an audience for this? Is supplementary information necessary? Is the collection explanatory or mysterious? What ties the various elements together—the collector’s personal interests, or a predetermined set of categories? Is it about repetition or variety? Does the collection continue to grow, or is it now closed?

Expanding on that analogy, I see a darkness in the center of this pursuit within me. A scavenger of memories.

In When things fall apart, Pema Chodron talks about how "impermanence is the essence of everything". And bemoans that people have no respect for it. A scavenger is cognizant of impermanence all the time. They are in an eternal dance with it. Allowing the futility of the moment, which changes its meaning outside it, to live in whatever way it can.


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