The joys of photography
World literature tells us the tragic story of Faust who vowed to bargain away his soul if he could find one perfect moment of happiness. He would eternally forfeit his soul if upon finding that one perfect moment of happiness, he would utter the words, “Stay, you are so beautiful.” He couldn’t find that happiness in his relationships, in society, in achievements, but he did find it in a small village by the sea, with the sun setting down, and mothers calling upon their small children to come back to their homes. In the simple joys of these village folks, Faust found his one perfect moment of happiness. At last, he said the words, “Stay, you are so beautiful!” and his soul was eternally forfeited.
Photography has the power to capture not only our perfect moments of love and happiness, but also searing images of cruelty and poverty. It has the power to preserve in a rectangular frame the beauty of a thousand sunsets, the joys of parents seeing their child just learning how to walk on its own, the sublime happiness of students graduating after four years of hard work and sacrifice.
Unlike Faust, however, we do not have to bargain away our souls in order to capture our perfect moments of happiness. We only have to pick up our cameras, look at the world through the viewfinder, and as life passes before our lenses, capture these perfect moments of happiness on film, as we say in our hearts and minds, “Stay, you are so beautiful!”