See what I’m saying

I’m reading Sontag’s On Photography, looking at paintings, and thinking about imagery in poetry. Are we all at different efforts, we photographers, painters, and lyric poets? Sontag casts a suspicious eye at the ubiquity, reproducibility, and voyeurism of photography, and its faux reality. (But what is not some fake version reality? Isn’t it all in our heads anyway?) But is it any less voyeuristic to paint a chilly Jane Avril, cloaked and distant, hollow-eyed, in ghastly pallor, eyes narrowed with some thoughts of her own? The dancing daffodils of Wordsworth are clear in my head as a photo and triggers the kind of glorying in such things that Wordsworth was after. Triggered too by its memory is the grief I felt on seeing a photo of two small children in the aftermath of the bombing of a village in then-Yugoslavia. I think we’re all in pursuit of a communication, a sussing out of how to manage all this “reality” presented to our eyes. Some of us cry out in light and shadow, some in these funny things called words.

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