I Want to See the Moon as the Moon.

Hello! This piece was recently published in Rebelle Society, a beautiful site with so much great writing on it! As I read it again, a new title formed before my eyes, which I use here. It’s about the kind of rabbit hole I fall into sometimes, thinking about why I take pictures. Thanks for reading, and to check out the original piece, (and the gorgeous image hey chose to go with it), here you go!

Tammy T. Stone

Tammy T. Stone

I Want to See the Moon as the Moon

I’m feeling sliced through, spread bare and screamingly, achingly alive.

Moons do that, on this balmy, nostalgic night. The fragments come before me, memory slides, assaulting visions of future things.

More and more these visions, as photos and images, become an in-between space, a meeting ground where the outside comes barreling in and my insides go to play. This is what my photography practice feels like sometimes.

I think about all the photos I’ve taken. There have been so many, and suddenly I’m confused about what they are.

Are the images already in my head in a state of always-have-been or do they only surface once the photo is taken?

This idea strikes me and I’m haunted by it. I don’t want to overthink, but somehow there is a sensation of all these pictures living alongside me, all these years, waiting for me to find them. Waiting for me like a new lover who will be gone by morning.

How many things do we wait for? And how hard the wait, with so many things lying underneath our impatience.

I feel like a glutton when it comes to images.

My head is so full of them all the time, giving birth and waiting for them, that it’s hard to tell whether this state is guiding me to take photos that have already known time and space, because that’s how necessary it is that they come into being.

Or whether I’m, in fact, discovering something new as I wander around with my camera.

Sometimes I hate images and I never want to have, see, or take another picture. In times like this, I want to go lie in a field, close my eyes, sigh, and enter a dreamless space.

Sometimes they taunt me, full of allure and promises that sour long before coming to fruition. But right now, I ask these questions without judgment or resignation. I’m just curious.

Where are the images that float between the world and my head, and what are they for?

This is almost like asking, Where does my heart have its strongest voice? Deep within, or in connection with the people and beautiful things of the world?

Where science meets the cosmos… where love takes its chances… the images are so glorious (I am still working to say this about my heart), fleeting and momentous.

It all falls behind; forgotten. Images fade and fall away. I don’t want to forget. I’m so scared of forgetting.

I rarely take photos at night. At night, I prefer to see without filters. Like now, seeing the moon. It’s a hazy yellowy slice I move to position right above the nightline of lush trees caving in to the walkway below. This is a view I don’t often have.

I move so the moon is dead center above the place where the trees meet. I’ve framed the view like I’m about to take a picture, before I can feel what I’m seeing.

So I stop, and look at the moon and sky and dark trees. I fall to the ground, and lie on my back, making angels with my arms and stretching until my heart hurts. Tears flow. Then I continue looking, and thoughts creep in.

I wonder about what the moon is, astronomically, in relation to the earth and the universe, and I try to grasp the cosmos from a technical perspective, and can’t. All I see is a pretty picture that could be found in a fairy tale or a children’s book.

My tears bring me back. The moon is palpably one-dimensional and plumply of this Earth, like it’s an echo of my very deepest longings and not a creation or a fact.

I feel like a million different people, but something about this night takes me to my teens again, when I was sure there was a unified me somewhere in there behind all the lives I knew I’d live, a me that was good and pure and waiting to find magic and light.

Which is to say, love. There’s never anything else.