Why is it that when we see a photo of a tree on a hill we associate it with loneliness or isolation (and not, for example, with uniqueness or courage to follow your own way)? Why when we see a photo of two birds on a wire we smile like silly? Why is it that “two” makes us think of pair, couple, symmetry, harmony and not ambivalence, conflict, opposites, duality? It’s just a matter of interpretation. Or better said, it’s about the associations and patterns that we developed/learned in time (or saw so many times around us, in our family or society) through which we interpret the world and our own lives. Often I am surprised at how powerful these associations, labels, thinking patterns are, how we use them involuntarily, how we take them for granted, as if they were the truth itself (with capital t), without even questioning them. I wonder how would our lives would look like if we took off these “glasses” through which we see life or we stopped expecting it to be the way we want it?
Well, these thoughts aside, I must say that todays post was inspired by a podcast by Brooks Jensen, the editor of the photography magazine LensWork. He was talking about one of the fundamental questions for photographers: if there is something that connects the images that they do, or they are just a collection of beautiful/inspiring/appreciated images that don’t have anything in common. What are they trying to convey through the images they make? Why is it important that a connection like that exists? From this perspective, he speaks of the need for structure in the creative activities (namely photography), which might seem like a contradiction. Structure means a theme, a framework, which channels creativity. It means either establishing a theme (a title) for a photo project and then taking photos on that subject. Or, the other way around, finding a theme, a common element among the existing photographs.
But I guess that the more profound question that lies under these thoughts and questions is about meaning, what is the meaning of what I do? Do I believe in what I do? Which is again, a matter of personal interpretation.
Looking through my photos I took this year, I can see that one of the themes is…two. And even though the photographs have this common element, they express different things (at least to me). What do they say to you?