believer mag

Believer and Mike Slack put a great back and forth down for all to read. It examines the reading and ingestion of the photograph, book, sequence and effort.

“We have this lemon tree in our yard in LA, and in the springtime I watch the bees maneuvering from flower to flower, completely in their zone, burrowing in for the nectar, seemingly unaware of anything else. Making pictures can be like that—a biological impulse, a state of heightened attention, with the camera as a proboscis/prosthesis, extracting all these pictures and letting them cross-pollinate over time. I don’t really intellectualize this until later. Not that it shouldn’t be intellectualized, but much of the content of the pictures is chosen and composed almost unconsciously, without intention, and later communicated to a viewer wordlessly. It’s more about the sensation of having thoughts than the specific ideas contained in or attached to the pictures. The structure of a book provides a few clues or suggestions, and a viewer (consciously or not) decodes a syntax, a potential encoded message in, or between, the photographs. Is this like language? A pamphlet about Marcus Schaden’s ambitious new PhotoBookMuseum project describes photobook as “a type of visual Esperanto.” I don’t know if that’s exactly right, but there’s something to it.  Reading photographs may be like reading language, but only up to a point. I would say that cameras, as ubiquitous as they are now, still feel like a futuristic technology, but the impulse to use them is very primitive and ancient—people have been depicting their surroundings for a very long time. Didn’t most alphabets evolve out of simple pictures drawn from everyday life? “

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