The Pregnant Moment A Latent Image

Definition of Latent

1. (of a quality or state) Existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed.

2. (of a bud, resting stage, etc.) Lying dormant or hidden until circumstances are suitable for development or manifestation.

A latent image on photographic film is an image that is not yet visible and occurs when the silver halide crystals in the emulsion have been exposed to light. Once the film is processed properly the image becomes a negative and corresponds to light sensitive paper.

What is a Pregnant Moment?

Generally this term is used to describe a narrative that includes past, present, and future in the space of a painting during one moment. I think this is applicable to any visual form of art including photography. In fact I feel like every single photograph in existence is a pregnant moment. The present moment is me releasing the shutter, the past being whatever was in reality and tangibly in front of the lens, and the future thus being the record of that moment. Even further, the future is infinite as long as the photograph remains visibly in existence and exponentially grows as long as someone looks at it.

Aside from the term Pregnant Moment being obviously associated with organic anatomy, I can’t help but wonder when an image is actually alive. Is it when I release the shutter that the image is conceived? Or is it after I have processed the film and can see the negative in the light? I think about this every time I’m developing my film and am always amazed by this anomaly.


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