No time to watch the stars supposes a regression, a return to the origin. When I started taking photographs in a serious manner (which means: knowing what I was doing) I was really limited in my photographic material, my range of movement and my creativity. It was a time of pure experimenting, of trying to find interest in everyday places, and of simple compositions. It was in that time when I specialized in night photography. Getting impressive pictures at day with the things and places I had around was difficult, but night and its exotic illumination offered a new view that was usually unappreciated. Our eyes are mostly designed to work in daylight and they don’t get the subtleties of dim light as well as a camera does. That means that taking a photograph in a common place, with that illumination, tinted the entire picture with a halo of magic and oneiric mood that completely transformed everything into something new.
The heaviest exponent of that time style, and the one I play tribute today is “Campos de cebada” (Barley fields). It was taken even before I had my first reflex camera in a crop field near my home. It was a warm night at the beginning of summer (which proved to be a really interesting one, thanks to photography) and I took advantage of the good temperature to explore a little bit around. The result is the picture of a very common and characteristic crop field in my area, but in a completely opposite attitude compared to the typical landscape picture. Of course quality is poor, as it was taken with a tiny compact camera and my ability with photographic software was in its beginnings, but the point is that happened to be a memorable one.
Today’s picture is a reinterpretation of that one, in a way that also resembled my mood on those times. I didn’t plan to go taking the picture; I just decided to do it on the spot, right after arriving home from work. I didn’t decide to take a night picture, my intention was only to capture the sunset, but I prolonged it just because I was in no hurry at that moment. I didn’t desire to take a picture as a tribute to this one; I had another picture in mind, implying a more important role of the stars and sky and where the artificial light was just an accessory and not the central part. I didn’t decide to capture the car lights neither, it just happened that I saw the cars approaching and I took the picture just to try… You know… Because now in a card you can store more than 500 pictures and one more or less is just the same. Even, I didn’t capture the foggy clouds on the right side on purpose… They were just there and I used them to compose the frame. After returning home I realized that those clouds were also in the original one (7 years ago), almost on the same place. At the end, it happens that mi tribute picture occurred mostly by chance, the same “engine” that created the original one.
The title is straightforward. No one of the people that passed on the cars that night stopped to look at the stars. Only me, the bored and lonely photographer, was there, looking at them while the rest of the world passed around thinking on dinner, sleeping or watching TV. The picture captures this in the literal way, moving people, just leaving a trail of light behind them in the rush for arriving home, while the stars, static on the top, contemplate the human world that means nothing to them. And between two worlds: a camera; a little object that moves tiny electrons to capture light. Light that exists only at that moment and one moment afterwards simply disappears just to be substituted with some other light, similar, but different, always changing (in the same way that you can’t swim two times on the same river, as it flows to the sea). People can take that same picture in that same place anytime, with the same illumination and the same composition… But it won’t be the same light, the same stars that passed that night above our heads… unnoticed.
Because time never goes back.