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Banana Standoff | by kawkawpa
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Banana Standoff

This is a vintage "found photo" in my vast collection. It's alive with individual personality intersecting in this instant. For one example, the young woman at the far end of the table - her body language and expression as the women to either side of her play banana pistols, having a hoot... Take a closer look at the image in the large or the original size, if you like.


I intend to post many more of the best snapshots from my found photo collection. I've been looking through it, opening boxes with ziplocked bags of prints in them - many of the bags labeled, many not - sorting out the best and best-of-the-best, and in the process have been wowed and moved by hundreds and hundreds of incredible images. I have so many that I want to share with the world - moments of people whose reflected light beams were let through the camera lens, the aperture and shutter, and the patterns of that instant in people's lives were recorded on the receptive medium of film. In the individuals' current of daily activity, there was not even a blink at their reflected light-capture made possible by the camera; they were simply living personalities who just passed on... streaming on in laughter and work and boredom; living personalities who only experienced the continuity of their day when the camera recorded the light patterns from one instant in them. The best photos, for me, let me into that moment, and into those lives, in that hardly-noticed instant, inseparable from moments before and after. The best of the aptly-named "snap" shots are ones that, for whatever reason - maybe by conscious choice, or just by happenstance - are so composed, within the photo's defined borders, as to magnify the experience of the scene for the person holding the print. There's a sum-of-parts-more-than-the-whole power that feels somehow... satisfying... Or like I'm experiencing something greater than myself... profound... a profundity of timelessness - or maybe more pointedly, of every time and place as common... universal... Archetypal. And, at the same time, intimate and personal more than the ordinary snapshot - except that the snapshot is the epitome of the ordinariness in the people's lives whose physical reflection of light rays were allowed into the camera lens and, leaving the moment's light patterns exposed on waiting film.


I have so many of these profound glimpses into a living moment of people's lives - the snapshot that turned out "just so" out of the thousands that we'd look at and pass by with less than a glance. The captured instant on that print - the kind I've been writing about - is a focal point. It's a node that captured the living moment in profound aliveness for any to experience when they view the image, and it continues in that capture - by capturing the viewer of the snapshot's recorded moment... by deeply evoking in the viewer that long-past instant in such a profound aliveness that it's as though that moment continues even now - as though the moment continues even here, and with someone who was never there in that original experience - but who, through the incredible snapshot, does share in one long-past fraction of those individuals' living seconds of life...


To not share such snapshots with others is unthinkable for me. Who does not benefit from such synchronicity in human lives... time and distance dissipating, their barrier-attributes not real anymore - not even a factor in the snapshot's viewer's experience of that magical shared moment...? The Internet allows all this to be experienced worldwide, and it's the best chance for preserving privately-collected photo prints that might otherwise be trashed or destroyed. The Web is the best chance for keeping such snapshots - and that powerful reaction from viewing the best of them - from being lost forever....


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Taken on August 1, 2007