Show me what – and how – you think without using language.
When you are not constrained by its abstraction and subsequent reduction.
Tell me something.
That goes beyond the ‘deception of symbols‘.
Let me see what you see.
That concrete reality for which you have – and there are – no words.
Students. When they ask why I want them to capture an image. Somehow (no mater how loosely) related to a topic we are delving into. For those that engage it opens up their thinking. If only for a moment. We use the images / certain elements of the images as discussion points and link them to things they may have said or written previously. The aim is to push that thinking further and / or radically alter it in order to bring something new to the table. The technique shows them they are often sitting on unique and high-end and powerful ideas. They just can’t reach them. The images they capture – whatever they may be – are just one way in.
I also use this to break down the substantial barriers created for students who are using English as a second language. So they don’t lose heart when they can’t find the words. In addition to this I also encourage them to not be ashamed of – and to actually tap into – what is often fantastically ‘scissored English’. For I read it as elegant and ‘cadenced poetry’. All superfluous words removed and the pure and precise scattered unconventionally across the page. It is some of the most beautiful thinking and expression I have ever come across.
‘Untitled’. 2022. Northern New South Wales. 2022.
The Back Of The Mind
I edited out from my text a paraphrased line / idea from Lemn Sissay, ‘[let me hear] the voice of the back of [your] mind’. I love the idea and whilst I still think it applies in a certain context (in particular the unorthodox texts I often see from international students) Sissay was speaking about poetry not photography. His exact line is, “Poetry is the voice at the back of the mind”.
Lemn Sissay – Gold From The Stone + The Nantucket Project
Allan Watts – In My Own Way + The Way Of Zen
Gregory David Roberts – Shantaram