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|| News Item: Posted 2006-12-20

Preaching to the Choir: This is not science
By Paul Myers, Brooks Institute of Photography

Photo by Paul Myers

Photo by Paul Myers
See the seashells by the seashore.

Shhh. Listen.

Pick one up and hold it to your ear: where ever you are in the world, you are no longer there: where ever you are in the world you are instantly there, ocean side, with the sea crashing all around you.

One of the best feelings I know is this transcendence of time and space in humanity towards memory. In the instance of remembrance we are at one with our past, present and future selves catalyzed through sensory stimulation. The transcendental experience of art is that moment when we are at one with the emotional content of an image, song, sculpture or performance. We transcend our surroundings and become one with the artistic creation through memories.

The shell reaches up for my ear, again.

I am sure there are many rational explanations as to the shaping of seashells. There are probably even logical understandings of how sounds are amplified through a seashell and brought to our ears. These only get in the way of why I feel so many memories when hearing that sweet song.

I am writing about the feelings that spring from memories.

The seashell carries with it an audible reminder of the energy in the ocean, an echo of the currents, a memory that results in a form. The forces of the sea shaped the seashell. The tradition of the sea retold again and again for anyone who picks it up and places it to their ear. The content is shaped by the interactions of the ocean and the animal over time.

Setting down the seashell I turn towards a photograph.

Photo by Paul Myers

Photo by Paul Myers
A photograph is a seashell for your eyes. It carries with it the currents of humanity and echoes the light that formed it. When we look upon photographs they surround us in our memories and spurn our emotions in the moment of communion by allowing us to dwell within. We view the actions, interactions, the daily life and landscapes of other people, places and times than those we currently inhabit. Photographs are born of certain questions about human subjectivity that brought the technology into existence. Those questions are asked with each exposure and confirmed through the senses and in hearts of the audience.

And though it is possible to use a camera, I am writing about the feelings that spring from memories.

(Paul Myers is a faculty member of the Visual Journalism Program at Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura, CA. Prior to his arrival at Brooks, Myers worked for a variety of publications including newspapers in Freeport, IL and Marysville, CA.)

Related Links:
Paul's member page
Paul's personal website

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