"The artist is the one who arrests the spectacle in which most men take part without really seeing it and who makes it visible to the most 'human' among them . . . The painter recaptures and converts into visible objects what would, without him, remain walled up in the separate life of each consciousness: the vibration of appearances which is the cradle of things."
" painting . . . gives visible existence to what profane vision believes to be invisible . . . This philosophy . . . is what animates the painter . . . in that instant when his vision becomes gesture . . "
I think it fair to say that what he says about painting could be said of photography too, at least of some photography (he would disagree). And I am reminded of a seminar I once took part in where we spent several weekly sessions on one sentence in Merleau-Ponty's book. In exasperation, one participant (who couldn't understand the passage) said, well, I didn't know it took conversion to understand it. At the time, I (and several other participants--it was a seminar full of tension) were somewhat defensive (and quietly, I suppose, derisive). Now I wish I had said: Exactly!! You have to see the world differently to understand and that does take conversion.
All of this is another way of understanding what I try to do in my own photographic work. Notice how the colored image above "reveals" in a different way what is shown in another way in the black and white image next to it.