Eye of the Beholder

In a recent conversation with Alex Drago (which will be posted as a podcast in the near future) I was asked to explain one of my images, why i had taken it and what I meant when I said that ‘it had the feel that I was looking for’.

I actually find this not only a difficult, but also quite an uncomfortable thing to do. On another occasion I was talking to Zinta about this experience and I used the following anecdote to explain why I dont like to unravel my pictures so directly.

A while ago I was asked to provide an image for a group exhibition for a show called ‘Things We Love’ at the Crane Kalman Gallery in Brighton. I supplied a colour picture that I had taken of some plants under cutaway plastic bottles in the Barbican Conservatory. At the exhibitions private veiw I was introduced to the person who had bought the picture. She said that she loved the picture because it reminded her of her Grandfather’s garden shed that he had when she was a child. She then spoke about this place and the fond memories it held. I didnt want to tell her about the photographs actual history and location as this would probably have an effect on her feelings for the picture; a simple picture of a collection of objects in a building in London that had somehow evoked fond memories of a man and his garden somewhere in rural England.

Oddly, I can’t find a copy of this picture on my computer, but i will scan it in and post it in future.

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One thought on “Eye of the Beholder

  1. I recently wrote a book review on the ‘Rules of Art’ by Pierre Bourdieu, a recognised contemporary French critic of culture and the visual arts. Bourdieu takes delight in being informed about the science when appreciating art.

    He identifies that there are resistances and challenges in our understanding to explain why we like a work of art. With almost a rage to understand, he questions, “Why do so many critics, writers, philosophers and I will add artists, take such satisfaction in professing that the experience of a work of art is indescribable?”

    Having read this I was reminded of the comment Chris said when we caught up last week. Spoken by one of his mentors, “If I had to explain my work of art I would write poetry”

    I have empathy for both seekers of knowledge.

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