Bath of Light

I folded again and again into windows and walls, turned my head and let light wash over me and cover my eyes and my mouth and my hair. Photographed all of it happening. The window open, the window closed, the light washing in, the light fading out. The stack of journals filled with years and years of petty thoughts. The broken glass from that photograph of us, on top of a mountain, sure of ourselves, sure of each other. The rock on the ladder and the branches blooming with fluffy pink cherry blossoms. And again and again and again, my face and the window, my face and the window, always always always my face in the window. 

So what does it mean? What does it fucking mean? I’m trapped, it’s enlightenment, it’s illusion, it’s fiction, it’s something to aspire to. It’s searching and finding and floundering and walking forward and standing still and it’s nothing. It’s really fucking nothing. It’s all just to see how the light washes over my face. That’s all it is. Just the simple act of placing one photograph on top of another photograph until they don’t really mean anything at all and they aren’t really anything more than that: a photograph on top of a photograph. Nonsensical. Are two photographs more than one photograph? Why does this all have to mean something? Why do I always turn off the fucking flash? 

But really. Isn’t the flash actually kind of beautiful, a bath of light. A beautiful bath of light and no shadows. Isn’t that what I’ve been searching for? Isn’t that what I’ve been wanting to submerge my body into this whole time? Isn’t that the point of being a photographer, of trying to collect these moments, of raising my camera every time the light’s peeking into the window? Isn’t it? Isn’t it?  

I mean, I guess I made it myself and that’s not quite as wonderful as finding it. It’s not like walking into the kitchen in the morning and seeing that column of light on the wall, a piece of art right there. I should build a gallery and let the light come in and that will be it. That’s all it ever is anyway.

So it’s not an accident. There’s beauty in purposeful light too. There’s beauty in purpose. There’s a beauty in a purposeful object, the spoon in the kitchen, the water glass next to my bedside. Why should light get to be any different? Why should light be a god?

May 2016

by Brittany Chavez