Photography is often seen as immanently and constitutively connected to stillness. Even the terms used to describe it often draw upon something of its static properties. Such that we look for photography to deliver a ‘decisive moment’ or to ‘freeze action’ from a constantly moving environment. In this sense, photographic images appear to come from circumstances which are somehow inconsistent with its stillness. Reading stillness as a particular symbolic incompleteness, of course, would be eluded if all images moved. And where more obviously can this be seen that in the conflation of moving and still images already apparent and available in today’s smartphone camera features?
Understanding images in a way that does not relate to their particular subject matter, but instead draws upon their formal properties, we might conclude photography cuts across reality to acquire a form of stillness, one that suggests at the impossibility of image itself. Of course, the reverse could also be true, wherein the ontological incompleteness of a stilled photograph characterises a certain struggle between the impossibility of reality in its representational form.
In this paper, I claim any ontological limitations of still images can not be overhauled or rethought by contrasting the still image with moving images. Instead, image emerges at the intersection of these two: as one passes into the other and back again. The impossible properties of each form, their failure to be fully, either, moving or still, is therefore inscribed into the very possibility of image itself.