Photography and the Obsession with the Passage of Time

“Time” by Pink Floyd always told us to pay attention to the passage of time (“And you are young and life is long and there is time to kill today, and then one day you find ten years have got behind you”). And what have we done? We didn’t bother that much. But one day we woke up and realized that time had passed, we looked in the mirror and noticed some gray hair. There isn’t a day when I don’t think about how quickly things change: a blink of an eye and you’ve finished university, a few beers and you find yourself already catapulted into adulthood. Rivers of nostalgia. A moment ago I was young and life seemed very long, the time to take a breath and I’m already 41 years old.

I’m a photographer and the passage of time is perhaps my greatest obsession. The two things cannot but be connected. Photography is therefore a job, but also a therapy. The only solution to my thoughts and maybe the only moment in which I delude myself that I can control time. Pure illusion, but also a kind of magic. The magic of stopping the instant, that same instant that dies the moment you take a photo. I wonder if all photographers have this relationship with time and if all photographers find comfort in this illusory power. Every now and then I feel a little anxious, usually I’m not anxious at all, and I can repair that feeling of emptiness that I feel inside only by taking photos, or viewing photos of the past (mine or took by others). Sometimes I notice, through photography, my city changing, I notice how it once was, how it was in my photographs and how I felt in the moments when I took those images. And something inside me finally calms down: for a few minutes time stops or dilates, under my eyes, through the moments that I stopped in the past and that come back now to close the draughts of my fears and heal my naive melancholy.

I realize that of all the passions I have (cinema above all, but also music, books, travel, football…) photography is the one that most of all appease my obsession with Time. There is no solution to the passage of time, but photography helps. There is no other choice for us who have this little power: to take to the streets and stop our city and its inhabitants in those moments which one day will return to heal the wounds of a seemingly distant future, but which will mercilessly reach us, reminding us of the sadism of Time and its pleasure in torturing us. We must take photographs, more and more, because these images will serve our future, much more than our present.


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