Saturday, September 24, 2011

a mini breakthrough - "I see therefore I am"

Had finished my final assignment for People and Place a couple of months ago now and would have been putting it all together for the assessment. However, I was away in India for longer than expected overseeing the fourth printing of my book.

OCA tutor Jose Navarro suggested that I might do something about this for the OCA; he agreed to do a write up for them if I came up with something. Hence, while in Delhi, I made extensive photographs of the whole process of printing the book and am now putting this together. So far, I have put cuttings from the test sheets that were run through the printer before the printing actually began, into a scrap book and included an analysis of it all. I like doing this kind of thing as it enables one to consider the practicalities of photography.

At present, I am putting together a book of photographs to tell the story of the whole printing process which also involved editorial and layout work at the publishers. It is not easy making the selection but one starts with a succession of images that clearly help to tell the story; some images draw one's attention even if they are not obviously part of the narrative.

I am reading "Context and Narrative", a book that Jose suggested; it is a little academic but helps to make me consider the issues involved in what I am doing. Am also considering a body of work by Anna Fox who did a series of photographs of people working in offices while Freidlander's photographs made from a car seem relevant (I like his sense of composition).

Have also been reflecting on Rene Descartes statement, "cogito ergo sum" which is usually translated as "I think therefore I am"; this translation seems incorrect to me. I feel that "I see therefore I am sounds better. The word see is being used here not just in its' literal context but also in the sense of comprehension.

The fact is, as Berger states in Ways of Seeing, we see the world before we think about it. His exact words are ...
"Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognsies before it can speak."

This realisation seems highly significant to me because in photography one really needs to see the images first and put the text after them rather than the other way around as is often the case.