photographic puzzles

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In Through a glass, darkly: photography and cultural memory Alan Trachtenberg states that whether we say that photographs are merely surface descriptions or interpretations analogous to written history comes down to how we look at the image:
as a general rule we choose to see a photograph either as a mechanical transcription of a field of light with randomly disposed objects, or as an intentional reordering of that field into a deliberate meaning. We can look at the picture as the world, or the maker's mind or imagination playing upon the world.
We desire and need more information than the image alone. Uncaptioned, a photograph can seem a mote floating in space, unmoored, unattached. Or a cryptic hieroglyph. Hieroglyphs hide the codes, the secret knowledge they require for decipherment.

NorthropH.cluster.jpg Holly Northrop,

He adds that for all their apparent transparency and ease of identification, photographs often seem hieroglyphic, obscure, ambiguous, elusive, the more so the more transparently window-like they seem.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Sauer-Thompson published on May 2, 2009 12:34 AM.

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