Integrating Theory And Practice

Lecture 9, 22nd November 2011

Image and Text

Unfortunately I could not attend this lecture, and the slideshow on Moodle has no notes whatsoever, images only.

I have decided to talk about Duane Michals, a photographer well known for photo-sequences, often incorporating text to examine emotion and philosophy.

“It is no accident that you are reading this. I am making black marks on white paper. These marks are my thoughts, and although I do not know who you are reading this now, in some way the lines of our lives have intersected… For the length of these few sentences, we meet here. It is no accident that you are reading this. This moment has been waiting for you, I have been waiting for you. Remember me.” – Duane Michals

Original in thought and in the execution of his images, Duane Michals has ignored boundaries and he has spent his lifetime re-examining and re-iventing the photograph.

Rather than describe the outward realities, Michals has turned the camera and his vision inwards, confronting and attempting to show the landscapes of his own emotions, fears, dreams and desires.

“I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing” – Duane Michals

Many of the photographer’s sequence images are based on real incidents that have passed through the subconcious and then have been processed through his imagination.
The things he writes about his photographs can be uncomfortable to confront, and it’s that uncomfortableness, the “tender spots in the human psyche” that he works hard to expose.

He says, “It’s about a kind of intimacy and privacy and whispers. What I want is that part of you that you’re embarrassed about. That part of you that you don’t want to tell anybody out loud.”

An important quote from Duane, one which I think every photographer should think about and remember, is this –

“Photographers tend not to photograph what they can’t see, which is the very reason why one should try to attempt it. Otherwise we’re going to go on forever just photographing more faces, and more rooms and places. Photography has to transcend description. It has to go beyond description to bring insight into the subject, or reveal the subject, not as it looks, but how does it feel?”

‘The Illuminated Man”

 

 

 

 

Michals is fascinated by the notion of human spirituality and enlightenment.

The theme of the photograph ‘The Illuminated Man’ is that while we all possess the power of finding illumination, or an enhanced conciousness, most of us choose to ignore it.

 
Dr. Heisenberg’s Magic Mirror of Uncertainty, 1998

(6) 5 x 7 Silver Gelatin Photographs, Ed. 25

A Woman Dreaming in the City, 1968

8 x 10 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25

 
The Most Beautiful Part of a Man’s Body, 1986

11 x 14 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25

 

 

 

The Most Beautiful Part of a Woman’s Body, 1986

11 x 14 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25

 

 

 

 

 

All Things Mellow in the Mind, 1986

11 x 14 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Price of Pleasure, 2003-05

(8) 5 x 7 Silver Gelatin Photographs, Ed. 25

 

 

 

There Are Things Here Not Seen in This Photograph, 1977

11 x 14 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25

 

 

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