Arts & Culture

The Eyeing

By: Liam Woodworth-Cook

It is said in the world of photography one doesn’t “take” a photograph, but “makes” a photograph.  The distinction is in the capturing, the striking moment when light is sealed within the camera’s walls.  Likewise, one makes a poem, harvesting choice words to describe or explain a scene, feeling or event. Sunsets can be glorious yet the documentation, whether photograph or poem, can be done poorly. The beauty of the sunset is left undisturbed in actuality, though the translation doesn’t hold up to the actual sight in the view of the audience. This is not, however, a writing on poor art or the difficulty in capturing a sunset. Instead this is about the linking of photography and poetry.

Vision is the tendril of dreams. To speak of the eye in photography is to speak of the lense in which the photographer views their world. The eye is the scope in which they perceive the world using the camera as an extension to capture what their eye has already envisioned. Of course this could be a moment to moment event. As Henri Cartier-Bresson writes “We have to be alert and know when to pick the moment which is significant.” The blink, the shutter snapping, the eye in action. He writes of this as an instinct.

For the poet, the eye is just as relevant. The poet’s eye scans the ground and corners for the mundane, the interesting, the unsaid, the joyous and the disturbing. The poet seeks to capture the essence of a thing and at the same time, invoke in us a release of emotion. It probes the viewers reaction to the words. The poet may look to arial view points, the wide broad stroke. The poet may also fixate on the small. The eye of the poet largely looks inside the mind. The poem itself could be a page, two pages, or three lines.

In both fields the artist has a fuel of curiosity – to search out truth, whether that is in framing a truth in a photo, or writing a self-reflection. Each artist turns a page around each corner for subject matter. The excitement of something new to uncover, or something old to rediscover. Bresson writes on self -discovery and the world at large saying, “A balance must be established between these two worlds: the one inside us, and the one outside us. As the result of a constant reciprocal process, both these worlds come to form a single one. And it is this world that we must communicate”.

The eye of a poet is in search, whether writing internally or externally. Sarcastic or surreal, the poet writes with a view, through a lens of discovery. The photographer in turn is capturing emotion, whether through landscapes or portraits or the in motion blur of a city square.

Surely a photograph can be worth a thousand words and I’ve read 20 words that a photo could not capture. Nor should there be a hierarchy between these two arts. They each blend off one another.  The viewer is rolled through the blatant visual and their own imagery of their mind. The viewer describes the photo in words or feelings within in their own head and the viewer collages the words imagery.For from the sparked pupil is a tendril, a questioning, a truth.

Categories: Arts & Culture

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