Time lapse photography is eerily like memory. Days get clipped into seconds, and all of it speeds by – making it hard to distinguish what the exact difference is as each image blends into the next.
In my second round of placing pennies on the sculpture, I tried to slow it down and savor each day as I relived it. I narrated my thoughts into a recorder, to capture those fleeting feelings again.
I photograph the sculpture after each penny, and compile it into an animated gif file. Watching this gif compresses an hour into a few seconds, just as the act of placing each of the pennies compresses days into an hour.
The act is a necessary journalistic record. Still, it makes me sad.
Those days are gone, consumed, spent. The pennies, as I cement them into place, become fixed, no longer useable currency.
I cannot retrieve them. I can only remember them, and then only the merest fragments. It feels like a huge loss. I cannot compel the happiness of the good days to remain, and I cannot erase the pain of the bad days. The pennies are locked in a vault of time.
The only consolation lies in stepping away from the camera and stopping the time lapse gif.
Maybe time really is a human invention, something we created to bring an order to the flow and chaos of our immediate universe.
I chose a penny from the box at random. The year was 2008, the surface gummed with black.
I try to retrieve a memory from 2008… it was my first Appalachian spring. I spent hours and hours photographing flowers. Every one of them seemed an architectural wonder.
A gift that opened slowly, like time lapse… as in later years I came to learn their names and later still learned their healing powers.
Every flower I photographed has died long ago. But flowers have no regrets.
Maybe we should let go of time, and not try to hold onto it.