Introduction to GUP #56 - Transition


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Let’s not get too curled up and cosy with the status quo. Things change. And while it may be comfortable to romanticise the past, or live in the now, or look forward to the future, each of these perspectives takes for granted that points in time are fixed. A photo likewise gives us this impression: it suspends a moment so that we may better examine or appreciate it.

It is, however, mere illusion. Time doesn’t stand still, it’s in flux.

The world is changing. Photography as a medium is changing. Photography as an industry is changing. We, as people, are changing too. Is it any wonder we enjoy gazing upon the still photograph?

As alluring as an image is, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that moments are only fragmented views that deliver to us insights about the current in which we are caught. A transition implies a ‘before’ and an ‘after’, yet we are in the midst of a great flow, both affected by and responsible for it. We are not being, but becoming.

Within each photograph is a measurement of time, an articulated fraction of a second designed to record a movement otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Through the static, we gain a vantage point into the dynamic. In the face of transition, it may seem appropriate to mourn a perceived loss or celebrate what’s considered a gain, or vice versa, yet each of these moments is not over. After all, for a phoenix to rise from the ash, there must first be a fire.

Katherine Oktober Matthews, Chief Editor


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