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Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

By MichaelBilottaPhotography    
What is time? Beyond the mathematics of it, we have come to accept it as a species as something definitive, linear, and absolute. Certainly it is measurable, but who determined the scale with which to measure it? Speaking of time, this image took a lot of it - five days of toiling and trying things until it finalized to what you see here. I had the scenics done on day one, the environment, but what to put in it remained a mystery.

Adding new items into the symbolism steam pot is not easy. They need to be flexible metaphors, open to interpretation but also visually interesting. Clocks are something I've used before, but this is a new one, and I liked the way it looked - retro, but also a little nautical and art deco. I had the model use some old binoculars in the shoot, but the hard part about using them in a photo, just like the telescope I tried a few months ago, is knowing that the things they are looking at are going to be off camera. So it becomes a problem - what is he looking at? The zeppelins make their second appearance here, something I've wanted to do since I built the little model. A fan of the show "Fringe," I admired how the show used them to denote an alternate reality, one where the old style airships were still in use. They also help support my preference for vintage style in my imagery. Here they suggest days gone by, another era, passing into the setting sun.

It was an old song from the band Chicago that not only gave me my title, but also the inspiration for this image. Time and aging have been on my mind lately, and the shadow of ageism is visible to me even though I am in the early stages of middle-aged. The world of photography and art tied through social media is a very young game, and it seems that a lot of networks and sites are mainly interested in your work only if you are a wunderkind, a 20something up and comer. It feels like I am late to the party, and it can be frustrating. Certainly the flash and wow factor can be achieved by the very young, but many cannot add depth and meaning to their imagery simply because they lack the perspective and experience of living a few decades. The image here has little to do with the lyrical content of the song, but I remember this old chestnut in my early childhood on AM radios in my parent's cars, and it speaks to me now as pure nostalgia.

Despite my preference for verdant greens and autumnal palettes, I wanted to give this one a warm, summer tone. I also wanted this to be lighter image, a bit of whimsy, after two darker ones. It's about nostalgia and searching for time gone by, scanning the horizon for the meaning of the years, looking for the past. The time is connected to the man, part of him, inside him, and I found it amusing he would seek the memories and times lost when they are literally coming out of his head. I thought the clock looked a bit like a nautical instrument so I decided to add little planets in orbit around it, another reference to cycles and time. Does it matter what time it is, how old you are? Is there really a point where you become to old to achieve something? It remains to be seen.

a before and after version of this image is available on my Facebook page:

model: Ed Barron

Tags: Specialist and abstract Digitally manipulated Digital art Portraits and people Flash and lighting

Voters: DeSilver, briantjjones, jovanovic and 10 more

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DeSilver Plus
13 14 12 England
28 Jul 2013 12:25PM
I sometimes I have trouble understanding your images but as you say "flexible metaphors, open to interpretation" so perhaps that lets me off the hook? I do enjoy you pictures though and appreciate to time, energy and skill that goes into them. Also the write ups that you put with the images are always interesting to read. I have always thought that you are a deep and intelligent and holding a conversation with you would be very difficult unless one was on an equal intellectual level. So that lets me off again. Wink
Keep the images coming.

bluesandtwos 11 521 1 England
28 Jul 2013 8:45PM
My usual thoughts apply. As an airship 'anorak' this has a particular appeal, I need to look up the Fringe show too.

'I have always thought that you are a deep and intelligent and holding a conversation with you would be very difficult unless one was on an equal intellectual level', I have had similar thoughts. Would there be an element of truth in the statement? Does the depth of feeling you obviously have when constructing your images permeate through your every day life? Does genius come at a cost?

Hi Davic and Dave, thanks for the comments and the thoughts. I am not sure I could answer that objectively lol. I think deeply when I need to, and I suppose I am what people would call "overly analytical" but I can turn it off too. I like dumb comedy as much as smart comedy. I would admit to some depression and some issues too, but not sure I deserve the term genius in any way. I don't have a lot of opportunities for deep philosophical discussions either so maybe I just spew it here in my blurbs Smile
Superb work

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