Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Image as Metaphor

Actually, this post is really about vision and composition. I generally don't think of photographs in terms of metaphors. Things are what they are. My educational background in engineering and earth sciences has allowed the part of my brain that should light up at the hint of a metaphor shrivel and atrophy. It takes a firm and patient tutor to drag me through a poem.

But I am not so dull as not to at least recognize that there are those superior beings who can make these connections, and for those, the images and words of Diane Varner must be the real deal.

My takeaway from her work is the pleasure at seeing, and being inspired by, such clean images. Didn't some sculptor say, when asked how he works, that he just chips away everything that isn't needed until he is done? The parallel in photography provides one of the best guides to composition - remove from the frame everything that isn't essential.

Diane's work is so clean that it looks easy. Just look carefully at what is in the viewfinder frame, use a longer focal length, get a bit closer, add some selective focus, a step this way or that to get the post out of the background, right? But I think it takes practice.

Just like enriching the images by making those metaphorical connections.

And now that I've thought about it a bit more, couldn't learning to make that metaphor connection, to encourage that little sparking in the head when you make the connection between vision and idea, help us to see image possibilities a bit better? What do you think?

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