Simon Chang: Past Events of the Future / Street gallery Tam-Tam

12 - 25 January 2021

Feather-light press of the shutter, an extraordinary instant before my eyes is captured with a snap of my fingers. Within that one-thousandth of a second, Earth leaves behind the image it packed to go as it spins along its axis; or perhaps it was a temperate, memorable moment of the present being condensed into a singular frame. Yet, myths surrounding that “present” seem to be our most deeply-rooted misunderstanding of photography.


My fondest works of photography often tell of the rectangular world perceived by the camera’s viewfinder of some ongoing moment on this planet, usually just after or prior to the shutter button’s release. Discovered by the determined photographer’s razor-sharp eyes are the ripples in the wake of story fragments, or details to be yearned after in the future.

There is no present tense in the world of photography—its grammar underscores that moment when the past and the future collide, that wonderful process of blurring the divide between reason and emotion with time.

There exists no other language in this world in which concatenation of past and present tense is permitted, and yet a photograph tells its tale with such nonchalance. On wafer- thin photo paper, a fortuitous event of both the past and the future is deftly pieced together—like the preparation of paints on an artist’s palette or that of a mother’s delicate touch when braiding her daughter’s hair. With such devotion, affection, and


selflessness, a photograph can ceremoniously record the fingerprints of time, hazy like moonlight, events of the future already satisfied


It is my belief that no photo is able to elaborate on a story about the “now”, much like city maps that indicate neither the entrance nor the exit for curious eyes somehow.