read —


Grateful for your generosity, Seb.

by Miki Ambrózy

For Sébastien Koeppel

21 October 2013

You told me about the trembling joy of seeing an image materialize during chemical treatment, the first glimpse of an image you created, a sensation that never changes: an anticipation, a contemplation, an act of looking at something that your mind, hands, eyes and light have already encountered. You spoke to me about film cameras as if they were close friends, silent and trustworthy tools of a beautiful trade, named after behaviours that evoke connection and a simple, primal love.

Such poetry cannot compare to the instantaneity of digital images that are transferred in a blink to the maker, real-time but deceptively véritable.

An image that materializes immediately is an image mechnically rooted in the moment, uprooted from the mysterious ways of creation, anticipation, contemplation.

You told me why you had trained yourself to create images that materialize instantly. You had no choice, you said. It’s easier, you said. Film will cease to exist, you said, and your eyes filled with the warmth of a believer who thinks in miracles.

Generosity can be arresting. I was arrested, like a wild animal frozen by light, not knowing where to run. My excitement upon meeting you, my fantasies of learning with you, my unconscious understanding that you are light and transparent – as well as generous like few people I’d known.

You moved on and we stayed in this world. Your images do not help me to evoke you – I don’t find you that way. Your sensitivity to your art deeply inspired me. Your ability to establish a culture around film makes me want to honour the challenge. Your generosity is an example for us for as long as we live. These are the places where I find you.

Nothing will bring you back, except to continue to believe in the material itself.

May your soul rest in peace and may we stay faithful this path that takes matter for what it is.