Recently I came across a phrase I think is applicable to what a photographer does. In a comment about Shunryu Suzuki's "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," Steve Silverman suggests that that book provides "profound and subtle insights . . . dancing gracefully on the edge of the unsayable." (Italics added.) I like that last phrase a lot; I think much photography "dances on the edge of the unshowable." 12 some years ago when I started working in photography, like many newcomers I suppose, I thought a photograph shows us just what is there. One photography class shook that belief out of me; working in a wet lab, I came to realize just how far removed a photograph is from whatever is just there. It is after all a pattern of tones on a two dimensional surface. I once came across a statement supposedly made by Picasso: a woman looked at one of his paintings and said "it's a tree." He said, "no, madame, that's a tree" (pointing to one), "this is a pattern of colors on canvas." That may not be an exact quote, but it gets the idea across.
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