“A Photograph is the Biography of a Moment”

Facebook can be a real time suck for me if I let it, but every once in a while I find out about something that makes a mark on me in some way.  Today, I saw an interesting story posted, about a photographer, Art Shay who was in his nineties.  Art was reflecting upon the photographic legacy he will leave behind, when he dies.

Going through his lifetime of images, it was clear what has been his favorite subject matter – his wife. His wife, Florence, passed away 2 years ago, and as Art picked up a framed photograph of one of his favorite shots of her, he teared up a little and said, “a photograph is the biography of a moment”.

That line hit home and it got me thinking about “the moment” People watching, South Beach, Miami, Floridaand how I have spent a lifetime, capturing them.  That is the power a still photograph has – to capture the moment and preserve it in time.

Think about how your recall your own personal history or the era you grew up in.  How do you remember things?  For me, many of my memories of childhood are drawn from old photographs, when someone who had a camera, snapped a moment in time.  We all remember history through images that have become the icons of their time.

Still photography is a powerful medium.  It captures that one special moment in time and preserves it forever.  It has the power to provoke and to move people to action. It can give you hope or fill you with despair. It can bring a tear to your eye or a smile to your face. “A photograph is the biography of the moment”.

Art Shay has an exhibit of his work: “My Florence: Photographs by Art Shay” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College in Chicago till May 24, 2014.




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