Friday, July 10, 2009

Memory, Loss and Longing

The powerful themes of memory, loss and longing pervade Viggo Morensen's upcoming film release in 'The Road.'  The story begins in an American suburb in the near distant future.  An unexplained cataclysm sends shock waves through the earth, visiting earthquakes upon its inhabitants, thrusting dust into the sky that obscures the sun and brings on a deep freeze.  Plant life dies and with it the animals, followed by people who survive off the detritus of groceries and supermarkets and then off the flesh of other survivors.

The story is told in a linear fashion as after the death of the mother, a father sets off south with his only son to find life and other "good people."   As they make their journey through a landscape devoid of life and greenery, the father recalls a past that is no more and the son dreams of a life that has never really begun.

These themes of memory, loss and longing are the catalysts that trigger my own photography, especially as it concerns my own family.  Returning home to Kentucky a couple of times a year is like seeing life on speed dial:  my niece and nephews leaping from childhood into adolesensce and my parents moving from their vigorous "golden years" into a gray period where life sputters like a dying engine.

I watch their story like a viewer in the cinema, who can leave his chair at will and walk through the movie screen to engage with the characters, only to return back to his cushioned seat.  Yet their portrait is my portrait.

Recently, I mentioned to my friend, Uday, that my fear of my parent's passing impeded my own moving on in life, hindering me my from pursuing my own dreams, out of concern that I'll not be near or around when they go.  I think of going abroad again, yet measure the distance.  As my parent's life shortens, I become increasingly aware that what little time that we have left is all the time we have left.  My friend responded that even if I were there in the same vicinity, I still might not be there at that moment.   He had lost his own father while he travelled in Italy and my friend was in New York.

Photography is a futile weapon against aging and death.  Everyone grows older, everyone dies.  Life changes; new life goes on.  All I can do with my camera is arrest a moment, a moment that tells a short story and will always keep close by the memory.

1 comment:

C. L. DeMedeiros said...

your blog is fascinating,
I need to comeback again
and again and again

somehow is like reading a little bit of
my own life.

Everything happen for a reason, people like to say
I like to thing, things happen
because we're alive.