I am finding it increasingly difficult to rise above sentimentality. Watching the passers-by--many of them turning toward the camera, pleased, even eager, to be photographed, others, backs turned, faces averted, simply going their way, either oblivious to or studiously ignoring the camera--I thought little of the composition, or the quality of the camera-work, even less of the actual subject. I have been aware lately of a growing certainty that cinema will be with us for a long time, despite its current relegation to the vaudeville house and amusement arcade. I am not certain where it will fit in--perhaps as an adjunct to the theater--perhaps even as its rival, even usurper. Or cinema may simply be the next pictorial art, an extension of still photography, allowing painters the increasing freedom they seem to need these days to move beyond external representation, as painting moves within, eliciting increasingly personal impressions--but then again, this may be where cinema leads, not toward representation of objects but of thoughts--and I could use the word "impressions" but, for now, the camera seems tied to things as they are.
But one more turning: not "things as they are," but as we recall them. I know that the camera is an eye--but the eye leads its consumed object only to the mind, where almost immediately, as I've noted so often before, the object becomes subject, and the reality a memory. And so here is the sentimentality I mentioned, watching the New Yorkers promenade: If cinema persists, then so will these little snippets, these glancing moments, long after the persons represented by the images are gone. So I am looking at living beings who, in the act of being photographed, are already near-effluence, moving into my eyes, my mind, my memory. And silly fool that I am, all I wanted to do was to cry out a promise to remember them all my days.