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Thursday, 25 July 2013


At a perhaps more philosophical and theoretical level, painter René Magritte was obsessed with the relationship between words and pictures, and made a number of sketches, notes and paintings on the subject.

IMO, the "Stroop test" is a powerful illustration of just how much our brains associate word and image. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroop_effect

Extrapolating, I suppose we ought to be aware of many kinds of contexts and associations that can affect the way photographs are interpreted--text, physical setting, colors (or lack thereof), medium, frame, etc.

When our family cleaned out my Dad's house a decade ago, we didn't have time to salvage all of the many,many photos of long-gone relatives going back deep into the 19th century. These went into an auction lot. A few years later, a geneologically-minded cousin notified me that she had purchased the photo of a much-loved Great Aunt off the web after searching on her name. I didn't have the courage to tell her that my siblings and I were undoubtedly the origin of the image.

Mike you ARE a teacher

I would certainly struggle to approach some of Joel-Peter Witkin's work without any captions, but the information on his subjects adds hugely to my understanding of his photographs. (I used to think I was a purist and that all art should be able to stand on its own without captions, but Witkin changed my mind on that...)

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