Several of my first experiences of the world are etched forever (and exclusively)
in my mind: the unfathomable immensity of the Grand Canyon; the jutting monoliths of Stonehenge; the gleaming white marble of the Taj Mahal; and the belching orange fire of Hawaii’s Kilauea Caldera. After a lifetime of vicarious marvel via books, film, and photos, I believed I was prepared to view (and photograph) each firsthand, only to be humbled by the experience.
Experience. Not a scene or view to be photographed, but a three dimensional, multi-sensory, memory-etching moment. Standing on the rim of the Kilauea Caldera that night, I knew my camera couldn’t convey the significance of being firsthand witness to the newest rock on earth bubbling beneath celestial pinpoints that began their journey thousands of years ago. So I was content to just stand and appreciate before engaging my camera to capture the two-dimensional memory-trigger you see here.
Am I frustrated by my inability to recreate reality with my camera? Of course not. In fact, I appreciate the things my camera does differently than my eyes, but that’s a thought for another day. Right now I just want to stare at this image, remember my first volcano, appreciate the way my camera has guided and refined my experience of the world.
It is true the most mundane and ordinary photographs are made spicier by memories!