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A Blog About Culture

Recognition, Situation, Identity, Reality

Or Object and Ownership

Or Communication and Existence

Or Art as Idea

Obviously this entry could very quickly run away from me. I think this is one of those situations in which I have too much to say, so really I’ll just write down one tiny little thought — the catalyst — so that it can serve as a trigger for future ruminations or wonderings or arguments with myself. And by that I mean, no, I don’t have conversations in my head or talk to myself in any way. Singing to myself is another story. (And I guess this WordPress account really is just fodder for talking to myself, but I disguise it in a tone of voice that makes it seem like I have friends to whom I’m speaking. You’re there, right Mom?)

Lizzy really has been a muse lately, mostly in that we are so comfortable with each other that we talk about a variety of subjects. These conversations set off the connectors in my head that cause me to remember other topics in that strange way that brains and memories do. So, as she showed me the website of a photographer friend of hers, my third thought (after I like landscape photography and This guy’s got great composition) led me into: What is the point of photography?

What is the point of any kind of tangible representation?

Scholars call the process “reification.” People who don’t want to seem pretentiously intellectual call it “thingification.”

Photography as an art is one thing. Art’s one thing, and I’m not going to begin to go there. That’s the stuff dissertations are made of. I’m not an artistic photographer, but sometimes I see something and feel the need to take a picture of it – not to document that it was there or that it existed, but that for a second, this is mine. This is my moment, and this is my reality.

What’s that called?

The desire to own a piece of the world, and prove that I do?

All of these thoughts were reminding me of something but it might have just been a class discussion I was half-paying attention to in 2008 (I’m fairly certain that’s what was happening) about photography and reality and reification. In a very thorough research attempt to brush myself up on visual theory (Google search), I found the following blog post quickly defining the terms “reify” and “redact” in terms of photographic excellence. That’s getting away from me, but still worth a thought or two. Maybe a blog post in the future. No promises.

Read the reference: “Reify and Redact,” by Mike Johnston (The Online Photographer)


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