Eric Fromme on the Camera

Imagine a tourist - with a camera, of course - who arrives somewhere and finds a mountain, a lake, a castle, or an art exhibit in front of him. He cannot really take in what he sees, because he is too preoccupied wth the photograph he will make of it. For him the only relevant reality is the one he can record on film and take possession of, not the one that is actually before him. The second step, the picture, comes before the first, the act of seeing itself. Once he has his picture he can show it to his friends as if to suggest that he himself created this recorded segment of the world, or ten years later he ca recall where he was at the time. But in either case the photograph, the artificial perception, has crowded out the original one. Many tourists don't even both to look first. They just grab for their cameras. A good photographer all first try to capture for himself what he will later try to capture with the camera. He will try to relate to what it is he wants to photograph. The preliminary seeing is a kind of activity... This kind of activity refreshes, brightens, and strengthens our vital energies. 

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