When writing to a friend about Ulysses, James Joyce said: ”There is no past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present”.
In this series, we use photography to represent the concept of the ‘Eternal Present’. ‘The Now’ which the Greeks called Kairos –καιρός– to differentiate it from ‘time’ –Chronos–.
The challenge lies in translating into photographic terms an abstract idea as the ‘Eternal Present’. Two photos of the Great Buddha of Kamakura gave us the key: we put together two portions of two consecutive photographs which represent a past and future moment with respect to a present time. The ‘Eternal Present’ is depicted by the line between the two pictures. The perception of this line, like the fact of ‘seeing the present’, can be more or less obvious, but the less visible it is, the further from the truth our reality is. When human beings focus only on the past or on the future, they are unable to ‘see’ the ‘Now’. Only Buddha, in his eternal meditation, seems to exist forever in the ‘Now’.
We have created images that are not a faithful representation of reality, a metaphor of the fact that past and future are not real. Past and future only exist in the mind. As explained by St. Augustine: we are drawn into the past by our memories and extended into the future by our expectations. This doesn’t let us experience the ‘Eternal Present’ which is the only truth in our perception of time.