Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday commute xxxix: finding value at the flea market

Have I said, I love my camera? This is not foolish, I think, because my camera can handle it. It is by far the most neutral support I've ever known - much more, for example, than a well-placed reading chair - for finding value. It does this by stripping everything I see of what I see in it; restores my world as a flea market. When, as we see, the existence takes place of a book by Richard Cheney, my camera gives me the world as it is, impervious to it. That it gives me a world imper-vious to me, while it's at it, is an observation I can accept from my camera. I go out sometimes with fresh film in my camera, expose it, and ignore its development. I went out to see.

But of all things, my camera is the very most steeped in context; its neutrality is rigidly enslaved to empiricism. It cannot give me this picture, yet this is by all means the most popular style of seeing that dwells in the human mind. We know this, and this is why fear was created, to let us know what to expect from seeing in this mode when it is exuberant.
We learn this terror at an extremely young age, and it exerts an endless warp. Why do I love my viewfinder for restoring the original act of play, only to leave me isolated?

Because I see, I am not? But delight of seeing empirically is still, delight, and how much of this is tolerable before the mind recalls its conditioned reflex to that state? This is not a marginal question; this goes to the heart of what pleasure is, whether in corrupted vision or in a camera's transparent registrations. If I give myself license to extend my pleasure because I deem its vision to be harmless, have I taken Richard Cheney's view with me?

I cannot fear pleasure that asks what it is. Empiricism happens to lack a crucial element of Richard Cheney's vision: tautology. My cam-era is redundant in mode, but not in discovery. 

It is, however, not necessary, that a man should forbear to write, till he has discovered some truth un-known before; he may be sufficient-ly useful, by only diversifying the surface of knowledge, and luring the mind by a new appearance to a second view of those beauties which it had passed over inattentively before.

Samuel Johnson
The Idler
26 February 1754



  1. Its is your beautiful eyes behind the camera that captures and make us see the world

  2. I should take the opportunity of this in-my-face sweetness to say I have not made the pictures for this page unless otherwise noted, and that they come from elsewhere and are sometimes modified for one reason or another. :)

  3. Oh Laurent - I meant you have an eye for beauty and its the eyes of YOU that make the picture appear here for us - whether you did it yourself or found it matters hardly in the least - the eyes that find beauty are what is important

  4. Yes but I don't think you need to say this because nobody is going to think that you "muffed" your line, but since I seem to have muffed mine, I'll publish this and explain the 1st response - I habitually change the subject to evade the underlying compliment, which is very bad form but which goes to my squirmy immaturity, which is an important feature I've been protecting for eons, and not just because it gives me the pleasing sensation of being baddy bad, which is much more interesting than being right; it preserves the sense of investigation and experimentation of the experience of doing stuff like this.

    But it's awfully wacky-nice of you to say, even it could make one cry to lack such happy thoughts in case one did, you know, lack such happy thoughts. I marvel that they do not seem to get in your way ..

    Still, I don't see how you can endure all the invitations you must receive.


  5. but your invitation is the only one that counts when you write so eloquently

  6. Thanks again, but I think it's in the aura of one's citations - the deceptive wake of a spiffy reading list, and here and there a portrait worth addressing. :)

  7. au contraire -ME THINKS IT IS MOSTLY THEE : )

  8. Lucien! I have GOT to invite you to look at another posting! I feel I should dismantle this thing, except I spent whole revolutions of the minute hand in balancing the lighting for the final portrait, and naturally this made one slightly sentimental. :)

  9. Laurent, the commentary is as delicious as the love affair you've proposed-and yes I've seen that changing of subject and the squirming you do-should you stop doing so-and behave-it would be a pitiable disappointment. Lucien remarks are echoed from a position just South of yours, but less South than more South. You may have outdone yourself with this make out session of Man Camera. pgt

  10. Saturday IS a play day, yes ?

    Merci; it is sweet to have fun and pass it around sometimes. Very sweet of you to indulge the little rotter.