[Poet and writer, b. 1926, Newark, New Jersey, d. 1997, New York.]
We are all exposed to the flash bulb of death.
The poignancy of the photograph comes from looking back to a fleeting moment in a floating world. The transitoriness is what creates the sense of the sacred.
Whoever controls the media—the images—controls the culture.
An unnoticed corner of the world suddenly becomes noticed, and when you notice something clearly and see it vividly, it becomes sacred. (On Robert Frank’s photography)
The sacramental quality [of photographs] comes from an awareness of the transitory nature of the world, an awareness that it’s a mortal world, where our brief time together is limited and it’s the one and only occasion when we’ll be together. This is what makes it sacred, the awareness of mortality, which comes from a Romantic conception (Keats’s) as well as a Buddhist understanding (as in the “Shambhala” teachings of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche).
You can’t photograph everything.
Ordinary mind includes eternal perceptions. Notice what you notice. Observe what’s vivid. Catch yourself thinking. Vividness is self-selecting. And remember the future.
I do my sketching and observing with the camera.