Visiting the Ethnography Museum from Brasov I found myself being a little bit nostalgic. I saw traditional Romanian clothes, the tools and techniques they used, and even tough only 80 years have passed since when they were last used, it seemed to me like a world long forgotten. I also know it is not forgotten everywhere in Romania, as there are still a few people that live traditionally, although most of them are isolated from the bustle of the busy city streets.
As I walked around the old costumes, photos of men and women working together at making them, old furniture, I was a little bit jealous of them, I must confess. Maybe it was because they seemed beautiful and peaceful while also having a strong sense of identity. By contrast, we all now run from what is old and “done”, and in our search for discoveries, about the world and ourselves, we rarely take time to stop and just enjoy the place in which we are right now. The dissipation of border gives us so much to do and so little time. But then I stopped and I enjoyed my moment, and I pictured the city before going into the museum and compared it to the one I saw in the photos there. And suddenly I felt like it was better to have the chance to run in every direction I possibly could, while knowing that I could stop, rather than wanting to run and not having that opportunity. But then I also laughed at myself, for feeling so contradicted from only seeing a couple of photos, costumes and furniture that I already knew about.
And then I thought, what a beautiful part of art photography can be, for letting you peek into another time. Seeing how people looked like, their houses, the cities. What is more powerful than an image? I believe nothing.
I remember a quote from a movie that I enjoyed seeing a while back:
““What does a scanner see? he asked himself. I mean, really see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does a passive infrared scanner like they used to use or a cube-type holo-scanner like they use these days, the latest thing, see into me – into us – clearly or darkly? I hope it does, he thought, see clearly, because I can’t any longer these days see into myself. I see only murk. Murk outside; murk inside. I hope, for everyone’s sake, the scanners do better. Because, he thought, if the scanner sees only darkly, the way I myself do, then we are cursed, cursed again and like we have been continually, and we’ll wind up dead this way, knowing very little and getting that little fragment wrong too.” – A Scanner Darkly (I think the book was written by Philip K. Dick)
– Even a scanner darkly sees more than one that isn’t looking.