Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flying Pictures

I have good memories of the ad section in National Geographic. It was visually interesting to me as a child. The ads depicted larger-than-life people and a world to which I was a total stranger. I have a vivid memory of an attractive motherly figure with bright red lips holding up a finger in warning. I forget what the warning was. Perhaps I was being warned to never forget to buy the product being advertised. I forgot. But I will never forget that picture.

Newer issues of National Geo have totally lost and forgotten this magical space. The new ad section is larger and filled with ads about car insurance, cholesterol medicine, "rare" gold coins offered only for a "limited time" (haha), etc. National Geo realizes that everyone hates it so they are forced to insert interesting mini articles and pictures in between the ads so that people won't skip the section entirely. I usually choose to skip it anyways.

This month was different. I looked through it. I am very glad that I did because I came across something really wonderful.

This photographer can fly. After framing his picture he jumps and he flies for 1/125 of a second. His camera preserves the memory of this beautiful fraction of a second forever. These moments actually happened. They are captured with analog technology and unaltered with digital technology. Much effort went into the planning and preparation of each of these photographs and much pain and injury were the results of his inevitable descent after each shot (each picture took many, many attempts). All of this for 1/125 of a second. Daniel Gordon can very briefly accomplish the impossible.

I think that some of the best things in life are like this micromoment. So much sweat and so many tears go into making them happen. So much suffering is felt when there are no longer a part of our reality. But, in the end, you were in that perfect and beautiful moment and that's what matters. You. were. there.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to know that someone appreciates quality advertising. Sometimes I get down about my major because it seems like everyone just loathes advertising. I think they've been given plenty good reason to, but I feel like the challenge of making it is just trying to figure out a way make something that everyone else will not only NOT find completely annoying, but even a little inspiring, or memorable, like the picture of the motherly figure.

    I completely agree with your last paragraph. For example, I hated my entire summer sales experience. It was the most miserable 3.5 months of my life, but I still have some really good memories from that summer (probably less than ten experiences, with each of them less than a few hours) that made the total 3.5 months of misery completely worth it.

    I like your writing, ben.