I have written about struggling to use photography to bring clarity to thought. Often times though it functions more as a way to escape engagement. At the end of a long day, going around a smoky concert room visually composing a scene can be a way to avoid interacting socially or with the performance.
Often the exercise is mechanic and artless, functioning as the leisure time replacement for the cadence of the word-day. Walking through life as a DSLR-armed aloof tourist is no way to live. But when it is working well it can be a transcendent experience, where the limits of the frame focus the view into individually meaningful scenes that not only record perception but also shape it. The exercise of framing the camera forces consideration of associations that the more continuous awareness of human vision makes hard to notice.
This shot frames together at least three components that are present in the moment: the performance, the audience, and the visual drama of the room lighting. In the moment, as events unfold, it is easy to look around and observe each of these but the act of fitting it all on the viewfinder makes me actually stop and look and then freezes it for posterity.See this photo (and more) in my flickr stream
(Written on 18 Mar 2011)