Marco Delogu: Indulging in the ‘Present’

Paul Graham:  Diptych from "The Present"

08 Oct Marco Delogu: Indulging in the ‘Present’

In a world of constant, relentless acceleration, the practice of photography – which can now be produced and distributed almost immediately – emerges as the medium of choice to capture, define and observe the ‘present’. Stripped then, of both any nostalgia connected to what ‘has been’ and any anxiety about the changes of tomorrow, what emerges is a rhythm of experience that means really feeling and living. To reflect on this rhythm, we must look around and understand the space that surrounds us, take on this unique ‘today’, stand in the centre of the universe and investigate the building bricks of the world as we perceive it today. We observe it and therefore we live it.

The affirmation of the big brother society as a pervasive element of our contemporary lives has resulted in extreme forms of self-control that eventually became cause of our loss of control [1], that endogenous illness of our age. In order to take back our lives, we must outright refuse this obsession and look at the Present as an opportunity to indulge ourselves, free from any cage. The spread of technology, the shift of production tools from mineral to binary and immediate, almost global sharing thanks to the development of social networks have all given us the chance to ‘save time’, yet it is a saving that we immediately waste through bulimic consumption. Indulging in the present would mean slowing down, exploring an individual photograph in an infinite moment. This sort of indulgence is by nature a sort of self-abandonment that creates the premise to cultivate and mix histories, stories, geography and everything that is connected to life. And photography makes this very effective.

Photography, especially when staged, appears nothing more than a careful process of control: the planning, the posing, the camera settings and the shot, followed by post-production and editing to achieve various different ends. But it is the actual shoot that of all of these steps (although they all are to some extent) is more susceptible to unforeseen elements that thwart the chance for absolute control and it is these elements that distinguish a good photo from an unsuccessful one. Accepting this fact means liberating photography and understanding that “(…) a photograph is a photograph, nothing more than a photograph: It is not a text, not even a comment, it is not an object, nor a concept, it has no intrinsic value, it does not speak, it does not make noise, it does not trickle or strip or protrude or evaporate. It cannot be eaten, it does not come out of itself, it has no dimensions or temporality, (…) The things that appear in its imaginary frame although they may refer to what has been and will be no more, appear for the first time in the history of the world.” [2].

[1] For further reading see The present of photography and the dialectics of control by Stefano Velotti in the same blog.
[2] Edoardo Albinati, Forte del limite, in FOTOGRAFIA – Festival Internazionale di Roma I Edizione: La Memoria, Roma, Bruno Mondadori, 2002.