“The artistic image is always a metonym, where one thing is substituted for another, the smaller for the greater. To tell what is living, the artist uses something dead; to speak of the infinite, he shows the finite. The idea of infinity cannot be expressed in words or even described, but it can be apprehended through art, which makes infinity tangible.” – Andrei Tarkovsky
So last night I had one of those sporadic thoughts run in and out of my brain that left quite an unsettling mark on it’s way out.
It was something along the lines of: “Why am I so deeply obsessed by cinema, something that by definition, isn’t real?”
Now I know that the term “real” itself is incredibly broad by definition, but you still get what I mean.
Why, instead of stopping in a park to smell the fresh grass, might I prefer staring into a perfectly-framed grassy landscape of a Miyazaki film?
Am I not comfortable with my own “reality”? Is it a deep-set internal malfunction with my own perceived consciousness I might not be aware of? Am I in the Truman Show?
In times of these strange existential crises, it can be relatively common to find a form of consolation in very close proximity. This happened when later that night I was playing around with my camera and realised I could pull focus on my bedroom mirror. Being shot on my iPhone, these images hopefully can get the point across:
The idea of it just being the camera’s sensor still focusing on the real object, just bouncing light off the mirror sits perfectly fine with me, but I still felt compelled in the beautiful act of finding depth inside a reflection.
Neither of the two images above are technically “real”, but they are still just as prone to teaching us as much about life as their physical counterparts.
Just like when you develop feelings for another person, or find beauty and awe in glorious natural landscapes: in the split-second moment of first contact, you are only purely experiencing it. It’s only afterwards when you can make sense of your emotions that you can come to the conclusive reasoning that the experience was deeply significant to you in some way.
Only in reflection.