Writing at his kitchen table, his focus was suddenly disturbed by the distinct sounds of hoofs, accompanied by loud cries and whistles coming from the street. There were always whistles. Glancing through the door frame, a long series of male and female equestrians paraded along the stones. Dressed per the gaucho tradition, the conglomerate suggested a fairly common engagement. A decent portion of riders drank from large takeout cups or beer cans. Many mindlessly tapped their smartphones. Patches of horse manure covered the street over the next few days. Much merriment was about.
He reflected over the few sentences. Not that he’d twice entertained the idea of a photograph (the first lie), a prose composition felt far more enticing. And though not even a realism painting, it made for a rugged, yet sufficient abstract sketch, should expansion ever cross his mind.
But to snap the photograph is to severely perturb. Cortázar profusely explores this branch of thought in the short story Las Babas del Diablo. There he expounds a whole philosophy of photography in captivating literary discourse.
Though somewhat of an extravagant narrative open to heavily varied interpretation, per the takeaway, reality undergoes a mutation once photographed. Reality forks an alternate timeline in variance with what might have been. Entirely academic, sure, but the deeper level implications deserve attention.
The object changes once cognisant of being observed. This may initially seem to concern only the photographed human or animal life. Yet the impact subtly comes to affect not only every atomic particle within the frame, but far beyond, spanning an impressive peripheral field.
And that’s only within a brief temporal leap. Ultimately, the newly forked timeline spawns a chain reaction, causing the altered particles to impact the myriads of particles beyond the infinitely discreet time slice impressed upon the frame.
Not only that, but the subject changes once set on observation, far prior to the snapped photograph. The photography regime in course, enticed by the very idea to clasp some contorted segment of reality, the subject already undergoes a change.
He didn’t warmly take to the change and thus seldom carried a photo camera. Camera free, he perceived a heightened state of inner awareness, preferring the surroundings' projection upon him, and his upon the surroundings. He wouldn’t be quiet the same otherwise, and neither would the microorganisms.
Skeptical of the photography practice and sardonic in attitude, he did occasionally carry the wretched device and even capture a rugged visual naively deemed worthy of a repeat glance. However, he’d far rather narrate in prose what that alternate timeline might entail.
The back aching, he stood up. That first part is another lie, but he couldn’t think of sufficient motivation why he might otherwise rise. In reality, he typed these lines already standing. The tablet on the upper plastic shelf in alignment with the horizontal eye gaze gave the writing composition some odd sense of photography.
Directly behind was a featureless wall, which might not sound much, but it was much, for less is more. And the less distractions crawled into the field of vision, the more ideas manifested themselves in prose … if only that were the undeniable truth.
In any case, the distractions were plentiful. To the left of the tablet stacked the folded shorts, to the right, the t-shirts. Further below the poorly folded undergarments added to the disarray. And then the continued hoofs, the cries, the whistles coming from the street …
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