Unreal Nature

November 16, 2016

So Dear to a Feeble Society

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:53 am

… in the overlapping of a pre-existing image with the present moment, their conjunction produces a new meaning altogether …

This is from the essay ‘Identikit’ 1976-1979 found in The Complete Essays 1973-1991 by Luigi Ghirri (2016):

The inside of the home has always been a ‘private’ place, a witness to the most intimate and personal events in the lives of its inhabitants. In terms of photography, we might think of the endless images showing a gust of wind ruffling the curtains, or of dark corridors which are sure to feature a door leading into a luminous room, or of unmade beds just visible in the dim light. In all these images, the soft, subdued lighting unmistakably hints at that sweet sense of shelter and protection that relates to home.

[line break added] All this may be quickly and easily contrasted with an image of a house with bare walls, or strewn with symbolic objects, conjuring a house of horror full of grotesque and hair-raising events — the prisons of our daily torture. In this alternation between stereotypes of ‘good’ and ‘evil,’ the real inhabitants of domestic spaces can turn to their television sets, which function like a kind of extraterrestrial presence entering the house to stir up the drama of daily life, so dear to a feeble society where only the daily grind offers a mediation between ‘good’ and ‘bad.’

The following is from ‘Still-Life’ 1975-1979:

… In one image, among the cigarette butts in the ashtray, you can make out the figure of [Michelangelo’s] David on its printed surface — a moment of activation, as David declares his own history and his presence today. In another image, the landscape that adorns an ornamental plate has forgotten that its fate is merely decorative, and is instead animated by a pair of binoculars which lie on top of it, as if speaking through them, offering itself to the gaze.

In this series, photography becomes a language that operates through the accumulation of meaning, where signs change and evolve when the world of symbols integrates with the physical world, leading to a third vision. On this conceptual plane, these photographs were assigned meaning — in the overlapping of a pre-existing image with the present moment, their conjunction produces a new meaning altogether, which is an act at the heart of photographing itself as I perceive it.

ghirri_stilllife

My most recent previous post from Ghirri’s book is here.

-Julie

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