— Stephanie Miller (@StephEMiller25) November 18, 2014
The reason I decided to paste my blog post on this picture is because of the moment. I, along with Stephanie, and Christina have seen some of the best sunsets of my life while driving. And there seems to be no shortage of watercolor skies when others are driving that my phone can’t do justice.
Depending what kind of picture you are taking, timing can be everything.
Not only do each of these stories capture moments that we could miss if we blink, they also each tell a story. As mentioned previously, Weston points out that a photographer’s job is to make sure the viewer interprets the image for the same purpose the photographer took it.
The snake picture for instance. Many people (myself included) have a fear of snakes without seeing them with their jaws open about to snap a small bird in half. But isn’t that an interpretation in itself? Predator versus prey. This picture, while dealing with time in one way, also deals with perception. Recently, due to the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, many members of the black community have started their own campaigns against racial profiling. Deante Covington, an African American man from Oklahoma City took things into his own hands by posting two side by side pictures of himself with the hashtag: #IfTheyGunnedMeDownThe first picture of him was of him smiling in a an Air Force uniform. The picture to the right of that was him blowing smoke out of his mouth in a baggy hoodie and jeans. The message of the picture dealt with: “Which one would you shoot?”
Like the snake picture, these pictures dealt with timing, though the photographer manipulated them to show themselves in two different lights. Covington’s pictures were a direct shot fired at how the media deals with portraying victims (from minorities) when they are shot and whether they show pictures of them smiling and happy or choose to show pictures of them that make them look menacing and show them in a negative light. Just because someone can be a predator or make mistakes does not mean that in their entirety they are evil. There are even pictures of Hitler smiling and playing with younger children; photography is a choice of what you choose to show in that moment and using the luck of your timing. Timing can send a message with a photo.
The second picture is interesting because it is both the beginning and the end of something. Pictures like the bee losing its stinger remind me of those videos in slow motion where someone is slapped across the face or a bullet is shot into glass as it breaks into hundreds of shards. Timing of pictures doesn’t just work for speed. There are often pictures of controversy that come from times of the past. Pictures from the Holocaust, pictures from the Vietnam war, pictures from the Civil Rights Movement.
One picture that comes to mind takes place during the sixties. A police squadron are facing some sixties hippies with their guns pointed at them. Instead of being scared, the hippies stick daisy in the bayonets of the opposing officers’ guns.
It is interesting to think if the photographer knew what type of impact this picture would have on future generations. The same can be said of the pictures that can be seen of 9/11. To think our children and others will only know it through television and conversation. To think there are children born after such a crucial event, but that they will know the magnanimity of the tragedy from a picture. Timing adds power to photography.
The last picture of the statue Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) in Rio de Janeiro with the airplane between his hands is to show how views can be skewed by photography. Once again with story-telling, timing adds symbolism to a photo. The enormity of the Jesus statue with something as small as a man-made plane between His palms.
Another great example is the homecoming picture from WWII, with the sailor kissing the nurse and how people use that as a symbol for victory and passion in a relationship when the two subjects in the picture were both strangers and got caught up in a moment. We hold pictures like these dear to us because the represent our inner thoughts and desires. The tininess of our human lives, the want of a lover who celebrates sheer existence. Timing adds symbolism to a moment, to a photo because it gives it meaning.