prelude to a photowalk (part two): the poemtographer

March 28th, 2012

When I think about contemplative photography, I think of breaking things down into their elements. We’re not looking for ideas, or for stories, or for evidence, or for arguments. We’re looking for the basic nature of seeing. Of noticing.

And what is there to notice? Looking at my photos and other meditative photos, I can break it down:

  • colors
  • shapes
  • textures
  • light and shadow

And for most photos, this covers it.

But then I notice one more element that pops up in some of my shots: words. And it’s interesting to me how words can feel different in the context of a photograph. You separate them from the uses and meanings, from the practicalities that they were written for, and somehow then they float in space. In the best photos, the words are like colors, just there to contrast with the other visions. A good photo, then, is like a found poem, a thing that exists for itself, made poetic by the artist’s eye.  (As Heather McHugh said, “We don’t care how a poet looks; we care how a poet looks.”) When the words are removed from their wordness but are still words–well, it’s beyond description. But I like it.

Do Not Allow Anyone to Damage Trees, Connaught Place, Delhi

Turkey Duck Chicken Rabbit, Detroit

Does that penguin say
USE ME, Rajgir, Bihar, India

Cheap Charlie’s, Detroit

Make a Fool
Make A Fool, Rishikesh, India

Starlight Express, Detroit
Starlight, Detroit

Bandar Se Sawadan: Beware of Monkeys
Beware of Monkeys, Haridwar, India

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