Moats: Cameras

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(HOST)  Commentator David Moats has been thinking about how we see ourselves and others – especially through the lens of a camera.

(MOATS)  Carleton Fisk made a comment about his famous home run.

This was the home run he hit for the Red Sox in the 1975 World Series, and film of the game shows the iconic moment, known by all New England fans, when he is waving and waving his arms, as if to coax the ball to stay fair.

Fisk said he doesn’t like to look at that film.  He wants to remember the moment as he felt it, as he experienced it; he doesn’t want that memory replaced by the image of what everyone else saw.

We’re a society besotted by images.  With electronic technology, people store thousands of photos on their computers, keeping a visual record of every mundane thing that happens.

Any event now occurs within range of dozens of telephones, raised up high so tiny cameras can record the image of the moment.  As soon as something happens, it becomes instant history, recorded, viewed, and re-experienced from the outside.

How we look to others is one of the great mysteries.  It’s something we can never really know, and so it’s the occasion of much worry, not to mention the basis for whole industries designed to make us look a certain way.

There is who we are – the person, the self whom we experience from the inside – then there’s the outward self that others see, our physical self, our expressions, the emotions that are made imperfectly visible.  It’s natural to want to know how our external self is seen and judged by others, and we look at images of ourselves with discomfort at the gulf that exists between what we feel and what others see.

If you ever see yourself on TV, it can be more than a little strange.  

We take pictures of loved ones to try to capture and keep an image that accords with our idea of them.  They may grumble when they see them – my hair looks weird, they say, or, why can’t I manage to smile?

So when my daughter got married, I was eager to see the photos.  It was a joyous event, of course, and I wanted photos showing how beautiful and happy everyone was – as if I could stop time and have the moment forever.

But there were moments that no photo could capture that will live in my memory as I experienced them, in real time.  There’s a photo taken of the moment under the tent when she and I were dancing.  It’s a fine photo.  But I don’t really want to look at it too much.

That was my Carleton Fisk moment, that was my home run.  I remember what she looked like as she looked at me.  I don’t know what she saw.  I know what I saw.

I don’t need a picture of that.

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