Friday, 10 August 2007


Gathering clouds, France, June 2007

In response to a question I posed, Mark Hobson (The Landscapist) has posted a response, discussing the issue of the photographer connecting with subject and viewer. On reflection, I think I agree with him.

I take away 2 things from his response.

First, as a photographer, I cannot assume a viewer connects with my subject just because I do. Some might connect, of course, and that would give the image meaning for them but it is not an automatic process. I have to reach out in some way if I want others to draw meaning or have some kind of connection with the work.

Second, as a viewer, if I connect with an image I cannot assume others are. What for me has deep insight may be little more than a asnapshot to others. The reverse holds true as well - just because I may not connect doesn't mean others won't. We all draw differnt things from art, unless the artist delibrately sets the context for us.

As an illustration, I deliberately chose the photo to go with this post. On first glance it may look like nothing more than a snapshot of a random wheat field. I've titled it, that may give more context but I can't expect anyone to have thesame connection that I have with the scene.

In fact, it holds quite a lot of meaning for me. It is inspired by Van Gogh's "Wheatfields under Thunderclouds", a painting I was very much drawn to when I first saw it in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. the connection for me, however is in the fact that it is one of two pictures I own (merely posters) that, once hung on the wall, make a house a home. For someone who moves a lot (6 times in 10 years), that becomes important. The other picture is Picasso's "Femme assise au capuchon".

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