I love those moments. The moments when you see something so beautiful that it catches your breath. The same moments that make you happy to be alive – no, that’s too simplistic – that make you happy to be human with a capacity to have an emotional reaction or an intellectual response to a person, place, thing, or instant.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the poeticism in everyday moments – visual poetry if you like. I looked up ‘visual poetry’ to see if it was a thing. It is, but not in the way I perceive it. To the rest of the world, visual poetry is the combination of words and images (or words made into images) to convey poetic verse. I found some really stunning and powerful examples, but they weren’t what I had in mind.
I’m talking about the swoon when the smile you adore catches you off-guard; the inconceivable palette of colour in the sky at 5am or the bleak, hopelessness on a grey Manchester afternoon. I think anything can be poetic and not just moments that are aesthetically pleasing. I get the most pleasure when something jars me – presents a wonderful irony or challenges my preconceptions.
I experience so many moments of poetic beauty – perfect snapshots in my mind to be treasured and pored over when I feel the need for that comfort in my soul, like a little keepsake box of ticket stubs and champagne corks. The wonder of experiencing beautifully poetic moments is exactly that: experiencing IN the moment – a personal and unique instant when the universe has come together at that split second, just for me.
But sometimes I want to share this beauty – for someone else to have a reaction to something that affected me. The problem is, I get so lost in my own world, it doesn’t occur to me to take a picture. Furthermore, I don’t have the language in me to convey the poeticism and beauty of what I have seen, so the opportunity to share is lost.
On the other end of the spectrum are those that seem to have a pathological need for a photographic record of every experience – almost as if it won’t exist unless it has been documented and posted on Facebook or Instagram. I’ve always puzzled at those who will watch a once-in-a-lifetime event through their camera lens, so intent are they on recording the moment that they actually miss being present in it.
Thankfully, there are people in the middle who are present enough to notice the visual poetry around them and have the foresight to capture it. Luckily some of these people are my friends and are generous enough to share (thanks J).
Meanwhile, I will endeavour to keep my camera finger ready and I will share something beautiful – today.