week at San Jose State University, the local student body organized
a carnival. Rides and games were brought onto the grounds of the campus.
Attendance was sparse, due to high ride prices, and a general lack
of school spirit.
like all events, was a temporary affair. After the homecoming football
game, the rides would be packed up, the attendants would leave, and
the lawns of campus would return to their previously empty state,
leaving a few scars of dirt from where carnival machinery had once
When I saw the carnival, I watched a few students brave the mostly
empty Zipper ride. They laughed and screamed, and sounded as if they
were having fun. Thinking more about them, I realised that in their
fun, they had created a memory for themselves in that moment. They
had caught a slice of time that would stay with them for as long as
they chose to remember it.
That got me thinking about the memories associated with such temporary
events, be they parades, circuses, fairs or carnivals. In one's own
mind, the events and moments that occured at these places are as clear
But as I felt when I returned the day after the rides were packed
up, when one revisits and occupies the same space as his or her memory,
a disconnect appears. The rides are gone. The lively people are gone.
The moment is gone.
I have tried to capture this disconnect through my juxtapositions
of photographs of the campus carnival.
The primary photographs taken during the fair describe the physical
location of a temporary event. The secondary photos show the empty
space afterwards, and emphasize the transitory nature of time, space
It is a very buddhist principle, of which I am a casual follower of.
It's a philosophy that states that all forms are impermanent, and
that the only constant is suffering caused by desire. In photography,
the desire is the wish for time to stand still during a moment of
joy, and the suffering is when time refuses to accede.
The carnival was here. Now it is gone. It exists only in remembrance,
and in these photographs.