Monday 5 September 2016

Picture Post #16: Life Behind the Pile of Petrol Cans

'Because things don’t appear to be the known thing; they aren’t what they seemed to be neither will they become what they might appear to become.'

Posted by Tessa den Uyl and Martin Cohen

Azad Nanakeli 2011, Arbil, Kurdistan-Iraq
A tailor shop that is situated behind a pile of petrol cans. An image that offers a certain brutality about human life – yet in this harshness, but also lightness, man survives. In such ‘idiosyncratic sympathies’ is hidden our intimacy – and hence, similarity. How violent is it to earn one's daily bread out of sight of the street, and behind a symbol of capitalism and war and power?

Virtue will always raise its flags of dependence upon what it believes. Reducing intimacy to something impersonal in cultural terms, yet personal in providing a subjective state within which is created a distinct worldview. The subtlety between intimacy and brutality can then pass by unnoticed, or be easily exchanged, one with the other.

Yet human beings are blessed with something called imagination. And without imagination, intimacy cannot exist. Strangely, the most common scenes reflect our trouble with imagination. As if the common has very little value in regard. We let comparisons decree our personal preferences – and in so doing, not only do we refuse to imagine ourselves, but we refuse to imagine others. We refuse intimacy with the world.

Imagination evokes thinking, even though most thinking occurs within the already imagined. Imagination reveals a problem as to how we make the world intelligible. In this way, daily life offers us a myriad stream of common, unanticipated images like this, scenes in which a host of uncommon things can be traced.


Keith said...

An engaging example, Tessa and Martin, of abstract photography. The ‘things’—the barrels—that dominate the image are concrete, of course, but only within their self-defining limits. In abstract photography, the focus on shape, texture, colour, and pattern matters most, which this image exemplifies. (A rusty stain—the right rusty stain—is an example.) As a hallmark of abstract photography, the absence of (obvious) context—perhaps the Arabic wording in the background provides context in this instance, though only to Arab speakers—opens the image up to nonliteral expression and interpretation. Which, faithful to the nonformulaic, experimental nature of abstract photography, is for me fundamental to the medium’s—and this particular image’s—appeal. I enjoyed lingering and letting the imagination roam.

Thomas O. Scarborough said...

The post calls to mind Garrison Keillor: 'What keeps our faith cheerful is the extreme persistence of gentleness and humour. Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids—all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through. Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people. Lacking any other purpose in life, it would be good enough to live for their sake.'

Tessa den Uyl said...

In a subtle way, the picture above also tells how actions made in the past, 'promises from the past' release a negation to imagine the future. And this 'simple' notion shows how difficult it is to 'claim' our imagination.
Abstraction does helps us to observe, imagine, perceive but at the same time in the abstract is also hidden something dangerous; in the sense that it hides reality.

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