by Allan Kliger
“Emotion – We all know what emotion is, don’t we? Or rather, we know what it looks like when we see it in someone else, and we know what it is when feeling it ourselves. There it is. That word. Feeling. It’s inextricably tied to emotion, to the emotive state.
Are they the same? Most dictionaries define emotion as a psychological state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort, often accompanied by physiological changes. An instinctive state derived from one’s circumstance or relationship with others. In photography, it’s often what separates a great image from one that’s not. One that makes us stop, to study, to connect, to identify, to smile or feel pain, but in the end to feel something. To feel connected to the world around us. We are social creatures.
Seeing an emotional expression in another makes us feel. It brings us into that vignette, into that experience. Sometimes unwillingly, often by choice. It’s what I look for when I shoot. I want to feel alive, to feel alerted and aware of the world and it’s people around me and so when I see an expression of emotion I am driven to capture it. To freeze it forever. Perhaps to later relive being there, perhaps to kick start, like a jolt of current or caffeine, just for that moment, what it feels like to be alive. Sort of like when we’re healthy we can take it for granted because we don’t really feel anything, but when we’re feeling sick, only then do we know how good it feels to not be sick. To feel, to be in the space of another’s emotion, makes me feel, makes me appreciate, that I’m not simply a bag of bones but a sentient, spiritual being.