Science Fiction ages rapidly. Read anything from the 1950s and you know what I mean. Not so Fantasy, and that may be a reason why I ws always affected more by Fantasy than by SciFi. In fact I am quite sure I have not read any SciFi book in 20 years. Until yesterday, that is.
Yesterday, shortly after I took this image of a fence in Kaiserstraße, I went into a bookstore to find some Fantasy books. Their English section has quite a lot, but as most Fantasy comes in at least trilogies, it is rather difficult to find something complete.
For me, with books it’s a little bit like with music: I know some names, and when I see a new book of one of my favorite authors, I normally buy it, even if I know that I am not going to read it at once. And it’s not only that: I routinely scan the shelves for certain names. Katherine Kurtz is such a name, but the sequel to “Childe Morgan” is obviously still in the works.
Another candidate is of course Ursula K. Le Guin, and from her I have bought three books, two SciFi and one, “Voices“, the second part of her Fantasy trilogy “The Annals of the Western Shore”. One of the SciFi books, “The Lathe Of Heaven“, is what I currently read. It is set in a then-near future, now actually in the past, but this does no harm at all.
This is not a book about strange inventions, not a book about technology, just like all of Le Guin’s books it is about people. In this case it is about a certain guy living in an overpopulated, run-down Portland at a time when pollution and climatic change have done away with the polar ice caps, the seas have risen and Oregon has even more rain than it already has in reality.
The guy, George Orr, gets psychiatric treatment, because he tries to suppress his dreams by drug abuse. He does this, because every once in a while his dreams “come true” in a very special way. He may dream of an alternate reality with an alternate history, and when he awakes, not only has the alternate reality become real, even history and the memories of people have changed.
At first his psychiatrist does not believe him, but then he begins to abuse George’s dreams to actively change reality. About that and about the relation between psychiatrist and patient is this fabulous little book.
In a way that’s not so very far from what we do in photography. We dream up worlds, and when we’re successful, people believe in these worlds, they become “real”. Yesterday’s “654 – Don’t Wait Too Long” is quite plausible for me, and that even though I know that it did not look that way while I was there. It could not even possibly have looked that way. Well, probably some off-camera flash would have done the trick, but is this different from Photoshop? You may get better quality, but essentially it is the same meddling with the reality everyone on location perceives.
Still, now that I have made this image, it is going to stay. The moment is gone and it did not even have any significance, but the image has started a life of its own. It is part of reality now, mine as well as yours.
Same with the Image of the Day. I shot it in the morning in blinding sunlight with extremely harsh shadows. For a long time I wanted to photograph one of these carts that postmen in Vienna use. While they enter a house, it stands outside on the sidewalk, and when you’re lucky, the street is empty and you have time enough to compose an image. What came out of the camera did not satisfy me at all. The final result, a 17 layer job, sure does 🙂