Early Works

JAIME PERMUTH
Untitled, 1983


 

To be ten is to be continually startled and challenged by the surrounding world. One is in a strange predicament: oscillating between the sweet call of childhood and the persistent, darker whisperings of a maturing mind.

It was at that age that I first fell in love with photography. Holding the camera to my eye changed me, instantly and forever. Although I couldn't have put it into words at the time, framing the world implied an aesthetic choice that privileged certain places, moments, and people—separating them from the otherwise shapeless flow of time and space. It ended the period in which I could only absorb the teachings of others, and allowed me to embark on my own quest and return with my own signs and portents.

What remains of my earliest photographs is mostly back home in Guatemala. But, at my current home in New York I keep one print, which my father printed for me as a gift. It is a simple image of a young boy sprinting under the falling rain. My camera caught him in the fullest part of his stride, suspended in midair. The boy never looked back or even realized I was there.

I can almost smell the rain that day and feel the weight of my finger pressing the shutter, as if releasing the trapdoor to a deeper plane of existence.

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