11 January 2010

Gertrude Series, 2009

Gertrude No. 1 © Aryn Kresol

Gertrude No. 2 © Aryn Kresol

Since reading Susan Sontag's On Photography I have been fascinated with the argument of whether photography - or what a photograph depicts - is capable of truth or is merely reality falsified. While one might anticipate that each photograph acts as a presentation of reality, whether of our own or of someone else's, it must be noted that there is a vast difference between what truth is and what is perceived as truth. The difference comes in accepting that the perception other people have of reality is different than our own.

Just as what we perceive influences what we believe to be true, so too does what we know influence what we perceive. As John Berger states in Ways of Seeing, "the relation between what we see and what we know if never settled." In other words, we see what we want to see; we see what we know.

By taking away the descriptive elements of the photograph, literally stripping away what is to be known, the viewer's attention can be drawn to their innate desire to decipher what it is that they are looking at. The photograph can embody some thing beyond visual description. It is not about what is seen, but instead about what is being perceived, about what they believe (or want to believe) they are seeing. The subject matter is not the subject but rather the viewer's perception of it.

Some thing may not always be seen, but some thing is always perceived. Whether what is perceived matches what would have been seen is not the matter. With this absence of clarity, it is a matter of gaining knowledge from your perceptions, not a matter of perceiving what you already know.

.aryn kresol.

Gertrude No. 6 © Aryn Kresol

Gertrude No. 7 © Aryn Kresol

Gertrude No. 8 © Aryn Kresol