Inside a camera’s dark working space, the substrate is time. The shutter performs its work on it analytically, carving it like a microtome into membranous instants permeable enough to sight to be conceived through. These are, as unscientists say without realizing, slices of life. On one side, our side, each of these slices faces the paginated record of the past. The pages can be grouped by epochs or (take your pick; they’re interchangeable now) hours.
The other side, the side we can’t yet see, faces that which is not yet on record. Because it has not yet been differentiated, it is a substrate for all our senses. Because we are in its presence in the dark in a camera, we want to know it’s there, but we can’t yet conceive it. Waiting in the dark, demarcated under the lens, is a boundary between the image’s past and future existences in time, and in thought we realize that boundary as an instantaneous understanding of something that has been waiting all along for perception.
Then the shutter opens.
It will have opened itself only for a fraction of a second, but the sense of sight which filled that instant before time became sectioned into division is for ever.