Friday 30 November 2007
Magic in photographs
Some people say photography is incompatible with magic. I disagree.
Certainly there is rarely a place for a camera in a ritual. To work that kind of magic you need to symbolically step outside time and into the realm of the timeless - to be in touch with the past, the present and the future in order to make change possible.
To create that kind of space, witches try to use tools that are ancient in style such as besom brooms, candles and wands handcrafted from wood. They also avoid anything that fixes the moment such as clocks, watches, TVs - and cameras.
But a photograph can be more than just a precise record of an event. A photograph can resonate with us on a subconscious level and inspire our imaginations.
Magic and the imagination are very much intertwined. The words even come from the same root.
To do magic you need to be able to imagine things as being different than they currently are. Pictures can help this process, especially if they are resonant with symbolism, hint at possibilities just around the corner, or just out of view or make us wonder about the chain of events that lead to that captured moment.
I took the photograph of a hedge a month or so ago. It shows an early twilight in autumn when the leaves were turning. The green image of a tree can be seen in the hedge where it was protected from the sun all summer. It is a kind of photograph created by nature.
To me the image seems magical. It hints at a strange shadow land glimpsed at that border between the seasons when the leaves are just starting to turn gold and fall. And it also makes me wonder what lies beyond.