October 12, 2014
Absolutely nothing happened at Le Gras. That which is not expressed, is not equivalent to that which is not communicated. The misunderstanding that the two are semantically the same seems to be omnipresent, crushing the two words into one meaning; as if vision, or the sentiment of perception, could be fenced in by the enclosure of words. As if all that is experienced had to necessarily be subjugated to the ties of narration, or the necessity of a report. Indeed the opposite is tragically true. Not many centuries have gone by since, in the latter years of his life, Michelangelo revealed his well-known discourse on the unfinished (the «non finito»). Well-known, but evidently not well understood in its most profound meaning. Just like another Michelangelo - Michelangelo Antonioni - suggested through his films the construct of incommunicability through the accumulation of that which is not said.
Vision is not word, cannot be made into word. And for sure it cannot be linked back to an underlying problem with language. Many see incommunicability as an evil to be fearful of. These people fail to understand how it is exactly the opposite that is true: it is the prison of words, of language, that constitutes mankind's oldest and ongoing unsolved problem. Language is not a lie, it is just a misunderstanding - and contemporary photography is sadly a victim of this misunderstanding. It seems that nowadays, in fact, the only interest for photography is in its «storytelling» role: a photography that assumes the connotation of something that is no longer subject but simply complements a narrative.
But this is only a small misunderstanding, albeit a global one. Photography, and vision in general, cannot constitute the subtitles of the narrated. Only a colossal absence of intuition and sentiment can bring to such equal absences of intelligence. The horse of Muybridge should have taught not so much how to ride, but rather to rid oneself of every presumption of representation. It is always possible to exist in falsehood, it is however impossible to live in a lie which is posited as truth. Photography is not complementary to anything: it isn't even complementary to light, how, then, could it be complementary to language?
Increasingly, I find myself saying how photography shouldn't have to tell any story. If this happens, often it is because one is unable to express photography. Telling a story yes, and in some instances telling it well - but telling a story is something altogether different. Ask yourselves what Nicephore Niepce narrated at Le Gras. History is full of good stories, so let's leave it to writers to do the storytelling. Photography is something else: it is precisely everything that storytelling cannot say. Because while saying is not nothing, expressing is instead the final projection of a hope. Desperate, alone, incommunicable, sublime.
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