Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Dangers of Photography

Lately I have been plumping up the blog with photos. This is a lazy man's way to fill space.

Fortunately, a chastening spirit from Italy came to my aid when I read an early short story by Italo Calvino entitled The Adventure of a Photographer. In this story Antonino, a reserved and philosophical young man, initially holds photography in disdain. In his words:

"The minute you start saying something, 'Ah, how beautiful! We must photograph it!' you are already close to the view of the person who thinks that everything that is not photographed is lost, as if it had never existed, and that therefore, in order really to live, you must photograph as much as you can, and to photograph as much as you can you must either live in the most photographic way possible, or else consider photographable every moment of your life. The first course leads to stupidity; the second to madness."

As the story progresses, Antonino gives in to the photographic obsession (a photogenic girl leads to his downfall) and he becomes quite deranged. By the end of the story, he has become a camera fiend, so alienated from reality that he is reduced to taking photographs of photographs.

Thus far, I myself have experienced little, if any, photographically induced derangement (knock wood), but I must be watchful lest too many photographs creep into my blog and dissipate its literary intensity. Of course, the only thing worse than a blog plumped up with photographs is a blog plumped up with quotations from other (and better) writers.

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