As the representation of a floating moment, photography has always been a source of inspiration. The magic of the camera freezes a moment worthy of recollection in order to share it with the eyes which were absent at the moment of its occurrence. It is this presence in absence which has made photography a popular medium in the age of busy bees. You can sit in your room and enjoy the warm, colorful beauties of faraway lands on the screen.

Recently, I saw a photo captured by Olga Gladysheva- an amazing nature photographer- which deeply enthralled me. The photo portrays a gorilla staring at a butterfly on its finger. Although one can never know what exactly causes this sense of infatuation, at least one can embark a journey to know oneself better. Or as Roland Barthes explains in Camera Lucida: “if a photograph interests me powerfully, I should like to know what there is in it that sets me off. So it seemed that the best word to designate the attraction certain photographs exerted upon me was adventure.” (19)

Photo by Olga Gladysheva

Therefore, I accepted this call to adventure, and as a sort of therapy, I tried to normalize that paranormal beauty by recapturing it through another medium, drawing. It provided me with the opportunity to brood over the photo so that to understand the reason of my obsession. In my drawing, I have tried to keep the delicate gaze of the gorilla pondering over the butterfly. What the gorilla is thinking at the moment is not important. What is important is the fluent delicacy of the stare. I have enlarged the eyes of the gorilla to stress this gaze, and as you can see the background of the butterfly has remained colorless so as to magnify its presence. I would like to call my drawing The Gaze and the Presence. You cannot imagine the way I feel comfortable now looking at the photo. As if recapturing it has helped me to see it anew and to accept its uncanny beauty.

The Gaze and the Presence by Tooba Soleymani Movahed

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