We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We linked Vanderleun's Frame Up photo essay yesterday, but I thought it was worth further highlighting - or framing, as it were. Especially because my photography teacher friend thought that his idea was cool, and plans to use it in her classes. A few random thoughts and a quote:
- Vanderleun is apparently a big Hopkins fan, as am I. Hopkins was a student of the medieval metaphysician Duns Scotus, from whom he seems to have come up with his notions of "inscape" and "instress." While Hopkins never defined these terms, he attempted to realize the immanent presence of God in his poetry with rhythm and imagery (eg, here.)
- Are photographers simply artists with ADD? I am (obviously) no photographer. I specialize in minimally-composed, poorly-lit, half-focused snapshots with a camera I don't know how to use, which are more intended to document a thing than anything else. In my youth, I drew and painted but I never developed those interests. I have always had too many interests - a dilettante in the perjorative sense of the word. However, I know that when you paint a thing you enter fully into it, of necessity, with brain, soul and hand. Same as playing a song with piano or guitar.
- Framing has, indeed, a magical effect. It has always been a wonder to me how putting a frame on a canvas transforms it. Or how a wall, fence or hedge gives structure and architecture to a garden. Or how framing a fact with context does the same. Or how putting a quote in a "quote box" inclines one to read it. Are frames our tools or are they our protection from TMI, or even from the terrors of the infinite and of chaos? Or both? I'm in over my head now. One day, long ago, I took a B&W random photo of an old dock piling with a spike in it and some weeds next to it, on the West Side of Manhattan. It was one of the 20 photos I've taken in my life that came out well. Produced it in the darkroom myself. I put it in a $1.99 black frame and it looked like art. It's long lost, though.
- In a comment on Vanderleun's piece, the internet metaphysician and master neologist Gagdad Bob has this to say:
This is an extremely provocative subject. The other day I posted about the importance of boundaries in the creation of meaning. In the absence of a frame there is no art or science. But who knew that simply providing one allows one to appreciate the superabundance of beauty that is always pouring forth from virgin nature?
In fact, you may remember the young videographer in American Beauty, who was able to perceive beauty by virtue of framing it with the camera, whether is was a paper bag blowing in the wind or a dead animal by the side of the road.
I often go mountain biking in my area, and just by virtue of taking along a camera and framing the shots (even if I don't even take a picture), a different level of beauty suddenly emerges. You start to see things from a "God's eye view," for what is creation but a finite limitation on infinite possibility, i.e., the imposition of boundary conditions on the infinite?
One could say the same thing of the formal structure of a poem, or of the structural narrative of a great novel that elevates the mundane to a higher plane, or the stage in theatre, which is also a kind of frame.
Bottom line: in the conduct of your life, choose your frame very carefully. It makes all the difference. On one level the frame is an artifice, but on another level it is the doorway into the infinite and eternal.
I guess it goes without saying that I see theology as a frame though which we may see, know, and experience all sorts of things (i.e., truth and beauty) that will go unnoticed in the absence of the frame.
That would be me. In theory, I'm a textile artist, but it takes so damn long to finish anything! So I take lots and lots of photos, ostensibly for "inspiration" but they end up being finished pieces on their own.
Never thought about the frames in that way before, I'll ponder it while I'm out on my walk today.
This is a fun approach to expanding visual literacy, giving context to abstraction within a frame. The viewfinder of a camera is a frame of course, which changes the requirements of composition with the angle of view or shifts in format--6x6 vs. 35mm for example. I think though, even in abstact composition there exists more than a merely random methodology. What is challenging about random framing is the opportunity to allow chance to challenge your notion of composition, but it seems more like a beginning than an end to me.
Bob's comments remind me of an explanation of existentialism I once encountered: "Experience is a sea of finite points with no infinite reference point." Worldviews frame experience creating boundaries so events have context and meaning within that context. Without that contextualization, we are adrift in that sea of finite points, with no infinite reference point. That is to say, lost.
Our ancestors in those caves in France and Spain--the first temples in the history of the world--didn't frame their drawings of the animals pouring into time and space from the eternal. The bounded frame arose after farming created a sufficienct surplus and the first cities came into being, and humans had to organize themselves into occupations, stations in the group. Then the art arose where parts were organized into a aesthetic whole, reflecting the new social reality.
I would suppose art rose from it's nascent state towards greater, more complicated representations of reality. By extension, framing became a coincidental element of expression. Rather than merely depicting an isolated subject, like a bison, the subject was represented in its enviroment, which would become a frame of sorts. I imagine such advancements developed contemporaneously with more complex social orders rather than as a direct result of them.