10 June 2009

Catch as catch can

This is slightly adapted from a comment left earlier this morning on TTMF's "Extended moments" post, which took Unreal Nature's "Catch and release" as a starting point and used my Today 090607 as an illustration.

Jim (at TTMF) is writing about the back story which grows in the viewer's or reader's or listener's mind, using the unknown spaces around what an artefact or its author provide.

I'm delighted and flattered to see an image of mine used as illustration; I'm also (artistically, intellectually, philosophically) extended by seeing my own artefact through other eyes. I, of course, know what it was that I photographed (and, in fact, assumed that the viewer would immediately know too), but have had many emails in which the sender did not know what it was, chose to see it in a particular way, or knew (but differently from me) what it was. I was pleased that Jim didn't know what the object in the hole was ... and I won't spoil anyone's extended back story potential by naming it.

One of the most powerful "author is dead" aspects of a text (taking "text" to include anything from musical score to photograph, film, sculpture, whatever) is that the "writer" (photographer, musician...) may (though may not) know exactly what the back story is, while the "reader" (viewer, listener...) certainly cannot. In that diffence lies one facet of the magic which art offers.

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