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Coda ~ The Last Word


Why I Photograph?

When it comes to explaining why I make photographic images I usually strugle a bit and then fall back on my mantra of “doing what’s next.” Not a lot of help.

But the answer is either a trivial “I felt like it” or the most important question one can ask. Huh?

Scientists divide problems into easy and hard. East problems are something like discovering the double helix or detecting gravity waves, both problems having a hint, at least, of how they might be solved. Einstein gave a hint on gravity waves but said they would never be detected. They were, in 2013, and resulted in Nobel Prizes as soon as they could warm up the printing press.

A hard problem, on the other hand, is one for which there is no clue as to its solution. A good example is figureing out how consciousness happens or my favorite, how sentience (experience) happens. We could also add why anything exists, or why the big bang happened.

I have been interested in cosmology since I was a teenager and so was fascinated by Jim Holt’s book subtitled “Why is there something, rather than nothing.”

After pondering the big bang and the evolution of the universe and then of human beings and figuring out nothing I decided to jump to the end: what is the best there is of life, figuring that might be the purpose. The first words to come to mind were beauty and joy.

I still think they are good answers for doing almost everything if we take them in their broard meanings. Love, clouds, discovery, learning, sunsets, grandaughters, etc. can be beautyiful and make use feel joy.

I am reading Walter Issacson’s biography of Doudha and it is full of the joy of discovery and of the beauty of biology and he almost says this, but not quite. But then, he doesn’t try to answer how we experience these, how the mind creates the experience for us. That is a hard problem, and no one, as far as I can tell has a clue. Yet it may be why the universe exists because we could not be fully human without beauty and joy and the universe cannot exist without us for if there is no one to experience the universe, its existance is moot. Which still leaves the question of why all this.

My answer is another question: can the ideas of beauty and joy exist without sentient beings to think about them?

They cannot, I contend, without us to experience the ideas and then the things themselves and the universe needs us so we need each other and somehow this seems to be the answer (arguments here) to why is there something. If something can think of it that is all that matters, and that means there is a universe and that means there must be beauty and joy and that is why I bought a view camera.

Quod Errat Demonstratum

Or,rather: how many of us are doing our jobs, the way we should be doing them? Many of us do less than we could. Many do nothing. And of course, many do less than they could. And many caudrio oiuuiui Taking Root. April 1991, Along the path encircling Walden Pond. This was on my first visit to one of my most important photographic venues.

Roots And Pine Needles
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