“The sun never knew how great it was until it struck the side of a building.”
Some photographs are difficult to talk or to write about. An overly unpleasant or controversial image would not likely be susceptible to carefree and enjoyable analysis. Perhaps the subject of a photograph may be so esoteric as to put it beyond the viewer’s abilities of explanation.
At other times, it can be because the image relies entirely on the viewer’s understanding that a photograph is the only way of knowing the intricacies of an incredibly small moment in time or is part of a much larger and overwhelming occurrence and is therefore inadequately explained in words – while a picture is worth a thousand words, a photograph very often necessitates none. So much so that it often becomes common to fall into the trap of attempting to explain a photograph merely by describing the content of the image, a process which is all but pointless, unless, of course, the photograph is absent, in which case, the words will not do it justice regardless of the lucidity of the description and will ultimately create within the recipient’s mind a unique image largely variable to the original. Images, photographs especially, describe their own contents and it is the viewer’s role to understand the contents as best they can.
Nevertheless, there is still space for elaboration and interpretation through writing and discussion, a process which can begin with description. And through description can be deduced meaning. So what then, is the potential meaning of this photograph I have supplied here? The photograph would seem to be of nothing at all really. There is no moment of decisive import, no persons of beauty or influence, nor even a single purposeful object of interest.
Perhaps it was the light. The thick, physical spread of late afternoon light as it floods golden horizontal across the day, warming the spaces between everything that we see and etching with more splendid clarity the detail of textures previously insignificant. In the sun, moments – time, life – become more palpable and stretch across the ostensible surface of phenomena to discover a more beauteous and gorgeous presence in which one’s own present may become more fully known. All of the past and every future happenstance is equally of the moment and no effort need be exerted in aligning oneself with what life may bring forth. Everything is possible in the sun.
While this image is not able to replicate such feelings nor envelop us as does a blanket of strong sunlight, it does, I feel, portray something of that elemental knowledge understood by everyone.