Every link in
the photographic chain, from the photographer first coming onto a
scene to the viewer of a completed image, is influenced by
subjective observation. In Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland a
book with no pictures sends a dreaming Alice into a room filled with
locked doors. A gold key located on a solid glass table fits the
smallest of the doors hidden behind a curtain. While still large,
Alice opens the door and peers through what is essentially a camera
at a lovely garden that she can see but otherwise cannot enter.
"...and even if my head would go through," thought poor Alice, "it
would be very little use without my shoulders." With that
declarative Alice is anything but poor as she has intuited the
richness of the photographic experience.
We have come
to understand that a photographic image is not the same as direct
perception thanks to the complications that arise from a whole
spectrum of factors ranging from our culture, education, and
personal experiences. Mental imaging, whether by the photographer or
viewer, is subject to this phenomenon. Ebenezer Scrooge perceived
the ghost of his partner Jacob Marley not as a disembodied spirit
that was very much present standing in front of him but rather as
"an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a
fragment of underdone potato. There's more gravy than grave about
you, whatever you are!"
are creating or viewing images you must understand how they appeal
imaginatively to you. Are they golden keys or undone potatoes? Only
you can say but the answer says much about how you will perceive
that which you visualize during image creation or view in finished form.