Our human measurement of time is telling me that once again a year is coming to an end. In the realization that only to us humans, something like a day, a month or a year means anything, I try to dismiss a feeling of restlessness as I vividly remember that this year had only just begun. Now in a stage of our lives that all but one of our parents have passed away, we start to feel differently about time and perhaps even more about the sensation of life seemingly picking up speed as years go by. Last month time ended for two loved ones. In between there was time....one week....and I taught workshops in that time, because I wanted to use my time, that I consider a gift, to be of some value to others.
To me time is the essence of my photography. It is when one single moment is transformed into timelessness, or when timelessness is transformed by a moment in time. It is the moment of transformation of something that has been here for ages being lit up by a fleeting instant of light. It is the moment in which I connect with another manifestation of life, far older than I, in which I decide to make an image to not only convey its scars created by the urge to survive, but also to add some kind of eternity to its existence. It is the brief appearance of patterns on a shoreline or the clouds in the sky, that tell the story of the eternal nature of the fleeting. It is a reconciliation with things that can not stay the same.
As an optimistic yet philosophically inclined and pensive kind of person, even I know that time is running out for these trees and no matter what I am trying to do, the forces that will lead to their destruction are probably greater than my small efforts to tell their stories hoping in some way to convince people to see them as fellow forms of life.
As time is rushing by though I aim to connect to these trees, as I recognize that in one way, we are one and the same. We were brought onto this planet by the same force of life, a creating force, which made the tree a unique individual just like me. I pick up my camera, so that in that instant, I can freeze time and timelessness in one act of creating. This is the paradox in photography. It is a second or even less in which one can capture eternity or in which time is preserved.
Photography is my way of slowing down, of reconciling myself with time , which seems to pass so quickly. When I am out there and look and truly see what is around me and only me and the subject seem to be taking up space in my consciousness, time slows down, time becomes of value, because in that second I can tell a story, if I do it right.
Life is most appreciated in those moments when transience and attention meet. Photography can make the fleeting last, it can make the transient eternal. This is why I prefer photography over any other kind of art.
All there really is is transience. Not one moment, not the subject, not the conditions nor the photographer will ever be exactly the same again as in that moment. And so I return to the trees and forests of my childhood, I visit them in the hope of a silent encounter, in the hope of once again trying to tell their story better, capturing a sense of stillness in which they live forever. These are the encounters between an introvert who cherishes solitude and silence and these still majestic beings and somehow I feel completely at ease in the midst of them, which I never do when surrounded by people. Only then, in this silence and solitude I can create, I can connect not only to nature, but to my creativity and myself.
If I can have any hope at all, it is that I may slow down time a little more often with a camera in my hand and tell the timeless story of the survivors in the forest or the eternally changing skies and shores, that I may stretch out those moments of magic into memories that last.
As always I would like to express my gratitude for your interest in my work and writing. I highly appreciate it. I aim to keep writing these essays without sponsorships from third parties as much as possible, but of course writing these takes a lot of time and effort and if you feel compelled to support my work, please consider buying a print or my eBook The Magic of Forest Photography. I would be very grateful.
My print shop went online recently and contains all portfolio images and all the images from the book Woodscapes and Praxisbuch Wälder Fotografieren. The prints are available in many sizes and on Xpozer (my personal favourite), canvas, aluminium dibond and many more. From December 15th 2022 prints will be available to even more countries.