Inside the Box

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

One of the the comforts and joys that the “hobby” of photography has offered me these many years is a means to move and see that is counter to the usual track and course of mind and eye. And for that instant of seeing the world through the lens, it is not “the whole of it” or the integrative world view I strive to take in with my limited sight and wisdom, but its opposite.

Sometimes the worth of a photographically-intense hour is this small-world real-time frame of mind for its own sake in which time passes in a slower, vaster metric–and I’m sheltered in the confines of that smaller box of the now from everything in the real-speed world that had been urgent, perplexing and vexing before I picked up the camera or started working images on the computer.

Sometimes, and recently in particular, it has been a kind of balm to be able to intentionally disengage, to indulge the mind and hands in the moment as a refuge from a world not so organized, not so beautiful, not so easily contained in a frame of context and meaning.

Sometimes the only words I can find are images.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Nice piece.

    In the process of taking a photograph we see a “part” of the whole. By examing these “parts” we see other dimensions of reality.

    In the real world we can seldom linger on such a view. Photography gives us the notion of time stood still. Or so it seems.

    Thank you.