Every now and then I come over a photograph where I think “this is perfect”. Some photos by Edward Weston, for example. When I then afterwards try to analyze why I reacted this way I realize that this has to do with a certain way to treat the photographic subject. What I also realize is that the approach is just opposite to mine. And that, I think, is worth a thought or two.
In the last post I wrote about poetic themes in photography. I also mentioned that I find poetry everywhere in nature. One aspect of poetry is a connection to music via the notion of rhythm.
Calling photographs “poetic” has its dangers. Some words have been hijacked and are difficult to set free again. “Beauty”, for example, seems to exist mostly in advertisement and or in combination with the female form. As in beauty pageant.
The same has, unfortunately, happened to “poetic” and “lyrical”, too.
In an earlier post I mentioned my upcoming exhibition in Helsinki. So if you are around here on Sept. 12 at 17h drop in at the Laterna Magica Gallery in Helsinki, Rauhankatu 7.
But earlier I also promised to tell more about the project that led to the exhibition and, in addition, I am proud to announce publication of the accompanying book. So, here we go:
A while ago I mentioned that are ways to extend the meaning of a picture beyond its obvious content. In providing certain clues, which I called “trigger information”, the artist hopes that the viewers mind will do the rest of the work by unfolding new layers of meaning to the picture. Symbols are one of the better known types of such trigger information. Some of them are so strong that we quite automatically expand their underlying meaning in our mind. In the Western world, at least, the cross as symbol for Christianity has such an effect. While, therefore, symbols can be incredibly powerful, there are problems, too.
The business of photography is often, actually, hard work. We landscape photographers also like to highlight the long hikes, the heavy backpacks with gear, the early hours, the long hours and so on. Does this make our work miserable? No, not at all. Often, it is a bliss.
But in physics, it’s dangerous to assume that things ‘exist’ in any conventional sense. Instead, the deeper question is: what sorts of processes give rise to the notion (or illusion) that something exists?
A Western school of thinking from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus to the English mathematician and philosopher Alfred N. Whitehead (1861-1947) has maintained the idea that reality is better viewed and understood in terms of processes than in terms of substance, objects and things. This school, loosely termed “process philosophy” has implications on visual art, so let’s have a look.