Eli Hollander

Years ago at a Chinese restaurant, I got this enigmatic fortune cookie message:

 Not what people want you to
Photograph very shortly

Some skeptics would undoubtedly claim that the message was a typographical error: I was thunderstruck by its Greek oracle-like message: both a challenge and a prodding – get going. Photograph!… get off your ass… get serious. Of course, left to my pursuits, the "very shortly" part wasn't heeded: while I had already been photographing (this was the middle 60s, I, in my 20s), I was following another path and I became a filmmaker and a film professor before I came around to fully devote myself to "still" photography.

Photography for me is a document of an encounter, a happenstance, a meeting between me and a single miniscule instant in a continuously unfolding spectacle ("photograph very shortly?")... a tiny thin sliver of history, seemingly being played out for my sake at that particular fleeting blink of existence. Capturing encounters with a camera entails a process of confronting a chaotic world, and as a photographer, I look for moments that contradict and even reverse that chaos of daily existence through stylized meaning and composition, motifs, movement, shadows, color: moments that will never exist again.

The camera becomes a meditative "instrument," enabling me to glean an order and hidden patterns, repetitions, and interrelationships that viewers will hopefully identify with and take pleasure in. I seek images that tell a visual story in an instant: For photographing very shortly.

Yehuda Inbar - Stata Center, MIT

San Jose, California


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