March 23, 2003

The Worth of a Picture

image copyright Fred First

In the same way that there is disappointingly less in the words than there was, or is, in the thing spoken of, images almost always let me down in the end when it is my purpose to share them with you by this medium. While they may be worth a thousand words, this is of little comfort knowing it would have taken just the perfect finely-ordered ten thousand to begin to say it all.

I'll look back at this image years from now and see it in full-color stereoscopic memory that will pull together all the senses associated with being there. I will remember this place in context of space and time: the barn crossing was just behind me, the steep rocky bluff covered with ferns was to the left. I had come here just at 3:15 knowing that the sun would be pouring only then down the cleft cut by Goose Creek, and the water would glory in a dazzling animated brilliance that I longed to remember, if I could capture it in a picture. I will see this image and know that a week before, floods had scoured the creek to bedrock in places just ahead, tossed around massive boulders, and undercut the bank in front of me. And the next week, I found Hepatica and Trout Lily blooming on the high banks to the right, just there.

The viewer, on the other hand, must imagine depth, must infer the 360 degree context of being there when the shutter was pressed; cannot know the intentions behind the lens, or the expectations, what was hoped for it. In the image, you will only see pixels, while I will remember being.

Posted by fred1st at March 23, 2003 06:56 AM | TrackBack

Hey, how come you get to have all the fun?

Actually, I sorta picture myself standing back with a flyrod in my hand...

Posted by: ronbailey at March 23, 2003 07:10 AM

The advantage of the viewer, however, is that not knowing all these things, he is free to conjure up his own story, his own expectations, and if it misses a minor detail or two here and there, where's the harm?

Sometimes the visual created in the back of the head is as strong as the visual created on the front of the screen.

Posted by: CGHill at March 23, 2003 10:24 AM

Your words take me a good distance along with you, Fred.

Posted by: peggy at March 23, 2003 10:42 AM

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