When I look for vintage snapshots for my collection, I usually look for something funny. Not necessarily obviously hilarious, but there better be some detail that makes me smile. This photograph is an excellent example. There is so much going on here that it has become one of my favourites. I love the mundane photo-bombing by the indiscrete garden tap on the right and the shy peekaboo of the modest armchair on the left. Being a bit of a hylozoist, I can easily pair complex personalities to both of them. And then once the little sculpture is spotted, oh how easily a dirty mind switches on!
Freud quite likely would diagnose me as a misfit. I often notice sexual connotations, even where they might be less obvious. (The tap, for example—and that, of course, is completely intolerable once the observer of such nuances happens to share a body with female genitals.) He would quite probably recommend to institutionalise me—and I can only hope that I could afford my treatment in a picturesque establishment. Something apt for a lady, preferably with a gorgeous garden.
Then again, I’m rather surprised that many people don’t see and/or feel the sexual charge in things where for me it’s so obviously present.
This picture is a stretch alright: requires advanced level kinkiness, I would say. (I can practically hear my mother quietly disapproving.) I see a young harpist trying to blend in with the tomatoes, hoping that the next balls touched might be his. But God Almighty turns him into stone as punishment, despite doing such an excellent job. Especially in black and white: the best possible environment for a likely-bronze sculpture to impersonate the deep green and passionate red of tomato plants.
Isn’t it interesting how for a long time black and white was the only officially acknowledged language of photography? I find it intriguing how the medium of ultimate truth had to be monochrome, otherwise ridiculed and considered amateurish. As if the most distant point from our colour-filled reality was the one and only way to get the gist of something. To be considered seriously professional and share the truest of truths, one was to use a man-made machine—a machine filled with black and white film ignoring the colours that make the world what it is. This simplified, filtered truth was the only way to the heart of believers.
To be honest, I myself have a weak spot for this language. It helps me to see the world in another light. It reinterprets what I know—or I think I know. The translation of colours into Adams’ and Archer’s Zone System and its ten simple Roman numerals. They, combined in a flat rectangle, can tell you a story in an elegant, simplified way. Is what we see the truth? A truth? The only truth?
Do we truly care in the end?
Just give me an image and my imagination will fill it in with my favourite colours. The limitations of a monochrome world make my mind roam even more freely.
There is another side to every story. And it’s just one click away!
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