What are the underpinnings of a picture? Of a human life? Last post, I started a commentary on the famous poster created by Robert Silvers of The Titanic. Eight years ago tomorrow, when I first saw this marvelous work consisting of a photomosaic with hundreds of tiny photos combined to make one large portrait, I was inspired to write a long, philosophical piece for the erudition of my two grandchildren who were mere toddlers at the time. Now, I’ll continue that line of thinking, but it will clarify things for you to go back and read the last post if you’re not familiar with it:
Assuming that the portrait of the Titanic is the unwitting creation of someone whose life had added up to this scene, and assuming that we are taking part in a life review using this picture to figure out the direction of a life, we might hear The Analyzer say:
“Notice that an overwhelming percentage of the photos that make up the blackness of the Titanic’s hull are underwater scenes of the deep, dark floor of the ocean. Most consist of marine life and reef creatures, as well as the darkness that they live in. The sunken hull of the Titanic has now been discovered and photographed in its watery grave on the deep, night black ocean floor. So, even within the mosaic of a fine proud ocean liner, one can find clues to its destiny.”
How would you feel now if you were the one under review? Not so hot! And, you’d be wondering how you could change the fate of the picture that you had, unknowingly, painted with your life. How could you, at this late date, stop the Titanic from sinking? How could you divert the horror that you had created and had amassed with all of the millions and jillions of little life decisions you had made along the way? Maybe, if you had learned to laugh for all of those times that you chose to curse. Or, if you had forgiven, instead of holding onto a grudge. Or had had a different ambition instead of power.
Maybe now that you have left life and are staring at the clear picture of where you were going with it, is there any way to divert the ultimate tragedy that is readable in the cards? It’s certainly a lot harder to do, once you are in that Analysis Room In The Sky; when your billions of freezeframe snapshots have been put in the developing solution and collected up as finalized. If you had only spent your living days analyzing your moves and decisions. “Where is all this going?” “What am I all about?” “How do I become spiritual instead of material?” Then your picture surely wouldn’t have come together as one of the most materialistic symbols imaginable, steaming confidently towards its own destruction.
It would be something lovely, with a forward-moving future, such as a lovely flowering plant, full of luscious buds ready to burst into stunning blooms (see Princess Diana) in the next stage of existence. That pending future is just as easy to read in its mosaic/life photograph as this one of the Titanic is. Which one would you rather see in that data-gathering of life’s sum total, as you take the analysis of what you did on Earth? There’s the whole thing! Even the lowliest flower is much more desirable than the most powerful accident waiting to happen.
To continue studying this composite picture of Robert Silvers’ Titanic as if it’s a human life that we are totaling up:
Appropriately, every small picture making up the composite whole is ocean-related. There are many sorts of ships represented: tall ships, cruise ships, sailboats, yachts; plus many beach scenes, diving scenes, swimming scenes. We also find appropriate underwater scenes, such as scuba pictures of reefs and creatures of the deep. So, this individual was true to themselves to the core. Consistent.
All pictures were happy and pleasure-filled. I don’t see one to be ashamed of. However, I also don’t see even one shot that portrays “work” in any way, unless the person was a pleasure boat captain, or a marine photographer, or a travel channel host. Even so, they were obviously having a whole lot of fun. Which is what life is all about….right?
There are no indoor shots…no studious shots…so this is a very focused collection that features the oceans of the world. No wonder, that it is expressed in one very powerful image of a great ocean liner. So, what conclusions do we draw, if these were the personal memories of one person? If they were a printout of somebody’s memory banks?
To Be Continued…