MY CONTINUING SEARCH FOR THE ESSENTIAL PHOTOGRAPH
Can we pinpoint the essence(s) of a Photographic experience.
‘We see things not as they are but as we are.’ Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
In the hustle and bustle of life it is easy to be emerged in everyday sensory perceptions without thought of the nature of the world around us. However, human self consciousness can examine the phenomena of the natural world and apply scientific and intellectual principles to evidence, in order to attempt a description of phenomena. My ongoing investigative blog attempts a clarification of one such enigma - that the photograph not only contains very little of its assumed truth, but also that its very perceived reality is threatened when examined by philosophical analysis. This test will look at the photograph in terms of identifying its real nature. Whether it can be proved or at least legitimately suggested that its existence is relative only to the individual viewer and even then, only as integral to that individual’s unique perception. In essence, Do we see what we think we see in a photograph? and how do we know?
If we look at the stars in the night sky, we see what appears to be a uniform map of points of light in the darkness. But of course some stars may be close and dim, some may be very much further away and bright. The light that leaves the different stars to travel to ones eyes takes differing amounts of time. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second, and the nearest star, Alpha Centuri is four light years away, and others are many millions of ‘light years’ away. So we are looking not at a constant but at a three dimensional patchwork of time zones, woven together by the brain to make an impression, not of a universal reality, but of an individual one.We see lots of different pasts, which exists only in accordance with point of view, and are relative to the consciousness of the viewer.
When a photographer clicks his shutter and the reflected light is thrown against recordable material, the picture is ‘taken’, the scene is captured. But we could ask ourselves, what is captured? Where is the photograph? There is of course validity in the obvious, the tangible object, the physical recording. ‘There it is !’ ... In the book, on the wall, in the archives of museums, ‘There it is’, within the frame of the medium presented. But this blog will, over time, suggest the photograph goes beyond the frame, out as far as the psychological limitations will allow; which is a very long way. It will look at its deeper nature and ask how the processes of creating the photograph will influence its final aesthetic feel, and how the relationship between the artifact and its inherent meaning can be quantified. Along with that, there will be enquiries, explanations and insight into the basic mechanisms of camera, lenses, equipment, skills and processes to improve understanding of technique, systems, practise and approach to photography. Follow my blog over the weeks and we'll throw some light about, find some answers and realise there are simply, just more questions...