Friday, September 5, 2008

the windowpane and the landscape

earlier this week, i posted Wolfgang Tillmans' quote that "a photograph is always seen through its content," and was reminded of one of my favorite passages from the bible (er, i mean, Roland Barthes' book Camera Lucida):
"A specific photograph, in effect, is never distinguished from its referent (from what it represents), or at least it is not immediately or generally distinguished from its referent... It is as if the Photograph always carries its referent with itself, both affected by the same amorous or funereal immobility, at the very heart of the moving world: they are glued together, limb by limb, like the condemned man and the corpse in certain tortures; or even like those pairs of fish...which navigate in convoy, as though united by an eternal coitus.

The Photograph belongs to that class of laminated objects whose two leaves cannot be separated without destroying them both: the windowpane and the landscape, and why not: Good and Evil, desire and its object: dualities we can conceive but not perceive."

honestly, that's why i am interested in photography, and really, in portraiture.

i would like to look at photographs that capture the awesomeness of both the prose and the sentiment here—photographs that make me feel the amorous and funereal immobility at the heart of the moving world, that show me the condemned man and the corpse, the windowpane and the landscape, desire and its object—and yes, fish coitus too. and photos that do so while making me grapple with the special trouble of separating the object from the thing it depicts.

and, as always, if you see any like that, let me know.

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