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March 21, 2012: Image Only

No Ideas but in Things,
wwwwwWilliam Carlos Williams

For our final photography assignment (the one preceding it is free choice) we’re to take a photo of an interior. This, I have been told, is a form of documentation; hence, it’s a documentary photo. Odd, the word document originally referred to a piece of writing, one usually having a legal connotation. Then the word document morphed into “taking into account.” So a documentary photo is one in which the photographer is taking a place, and the items in that place into account.

In this case, we’re not supposed to include living images in our photos. Consequently, the interior and objects are saying something about the person or people who formerly inhabited this photographic space. This is then an instance in which the photo might stand alone. This would be what you have if the photographer or the person that formerly occupied the space remains mum. And this is what you have if the photographer doesn’t provide a title. And this is what you have if there are no words in the photo.

The image itself tells a story, one that is open to interpretation.

The question that postmodern theorists might ask is, can in such instances, the photographer remove the subject from the photo? The absence of the person still says something about him, her, or them, but there are no stories being told in a direct fashion.

Still lives can also, by themselves, tell a story. Attached, a photo of a salt and pepper shaker, and an egg. Questions the viewer might have are:

Who took this photo?
What were some of the technical details?
Why take a photo of these particular items?
Who uses these items?
Where are the people who use these items?

These questions, in keeping with this particular dispatch, are going to remain a mystery.

Next: 104. 3/22/12: Great Expectations