A Fleeting Moment in Time

“…apprehending the world as it appears in a fleeting moment in time, recording the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent.” 
 ~ Claude Monet      

I think Monet had it right.  He painted knowing that the moment in time he was trying to capture is a moment that will never come again.  That’s what’s great about art…it’s that one moment in time when you look at your result and think, “I did that.”  And this moment, that art, will never come again.  Pretty heady stuff.

As a photographer and a travel journalist who moves around the country, the planet for that matter, I know that the second I click that shutter, write that story, that’s not a time or a place that will ever come again…not for me, not for anyone.  That’s what’s so beautiful.

You can put 50 photographers, 50 writers, in the same place, the same time and each and every one of them will come back with something different.  And they’ll look at what they’ve accomplished and think, “I did that.”  And they can be proud of what they’ve done, forever.  How cool is that?  And even better, no one else can do it.  Only them.  Only in that moment.

I was in Cannes, France once, at a convention for filmmakers, trolling for companies that might want to co-produce a project with us. I used to live in France, so being there again was not a really big deal. However, I found myself at the harbor, walking around, looking at all the yachts, taking pictures, and thinking to myself, this moment, right now, will never come again.  I kind of woke up for a second and I decided I’d better make the most of it.

I know I can’t possibly be the only person this has happened to.  You go somewhere, you’re doing your job, getting that next great shot, that next great story, and not taking time to enjoy any of it. Then you get home and have all these regrets about not having paid attention to what was right in front of you.  That old saying “take time to smell the roses", or coffee, or whatever, pops into your head, and you know it’s a moment that’s lost.  

But it’s not!  It’s not because you were there, you clicked the shutter, you wrote the story, and you have the memories.  Good ones.  You got to do what no one else got to do that day.  You got to be a photographer.  You got to be a writer.  You love what you do and every day you wake up happy because of it.  Seriously, it doesn’t get any better than that. 

There’s this scene in “The American President” with Michael Douglas and Annette Benning that I love.  It’s where she goes to the White House to visit and ends up in the President’s bedroom.  Both are nervous, but she goes into the other room for something and comes out wearing one of his shirts, says something and turns around and goes back into the room leaving the President to stand there wondering what’s up.  Then the moment of realization dawns and he says “ok…alright!” and struts into the other room.  We all know what happens next.

The point of that scene is to grab your moment and embrace it. You deserve it.  You created that situation, that art, that image, that article, that moment. Be proud of yourself and what you do, regardless of what it is.  Think…"I did that."

Until next time...