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REFLECTIONS ON MY PHOTOGRAPHS

2: THEME: STORY AND VISUALS

Section Index


  1. Theme: Story
  2. Theme: Visuals

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Reflections on my Photographs
 






2.1: Theme: Story

Every picture tells a story, they say. Indeed it does. However, what that story would be can be very ambiguous with photography. Of course you can provide a photograph with an according description and theme, but I'm very careful with that. I tend towards more abstract titles and loose concepts, to also allow for a greater variety and an increased possibility for interpretation. The stories I actively attribute to my pictures can rather be drawn from the way I organize them into groups and categories, the framing, so to say, sets the premise.

If you take Earth as an example, the focus seems rather restricted: What I show is earth. That category is set into the group of Elements, both introducing variations on the classical elements as well as some basic elements of my visual storytelling[1]. That being said, each of the pictures now stands both on its own as well as it is rooted in the larger context of its respective category resp. series. There is a certain development in that series, starting with what I described in poem #141, "White" - which is the core definition of what I look for in the entire group of Elements[2]:

"And beyond, below it all -
Earth so screaming, frozen, stiff"

The series then moves to plain earth, in color variations (2), then unicolored in perspective (3), then with the element of water and reflections of trees introduced (4), fuzzy (5) and straight (6) structures and a more askew angle and perspective (7) added, the last one being linked to the fourth of the Spirit category. The combinations of themes thus becomes important in here, and will be of even greater importance in all subsequent groups.

What "message" now is an image of plain earth to tell? May I refer back to that poem? Or should I utter an ecological message, or an agricultural one? I feel it not only quite superfluous but also dangerously restricting to impose such a limited "meaning" onto such a picture. Art doesn't come with preposterous agendas attached. Then I could write an essay on ecology or agriculture or industrialization or whatever. The purpose of art is precisely this inherent diversity of interpretation, this other-than-obvious level. That must not be explained away, and it can't be - all explanations on my side may sound interesting, but they are just my personal opinion anyway.

PJK
August 16th, 2001 / July 24th, 2003







2.2: Theme: Visual

If the story element is not that important to me, the visual impression becomes the more important. I concentrate more on what is central to the viewing experience, I dislike any kind of manipulation or fancying around with the image. I prefer a straight look, and - mostly - a very simple object. Straight and narrow, maybe one-sidedly and seemingly superficial. That's what Elements and Moments is all about.

(That obviously has changed since 2002, but let's leave it here for reasons of comedy).

As a contrast, when you come to man-made structures, architecture is my obsession right now, in both splendor and decay, in fuzzy angles and combinations and utter simplicity. The same perspective, though, holds true here also: A somewhat documentary character as a story element, and the looking for what is there visually. Askew angles are what often guides my pictures, sometimes it's about the angles as such (and thus very simplistic again), sometimes it is about what the angles lead to (like it is the case with roads etc.).

Broken down further, it's often just colors and color combinations, combinations of nature with artificiality, and since recently, human beings as moving or grouping objects, or simply, faces. I cannot always tell why a certain motif just strikes my nerve. It's just so. No fuzz, no buzz.

PJK
August 24th, 2001 / July 24th, 2003







Endnotes

[2] the keyword of "white" being further explored in "Sleepwalker"




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