Surface tension

Day 061/100

Pauline Réage wrote The Story of  O, is an erotic telling of relationships that explore love, dominance and submission, with the key figure being a photographer. This is what drew me to to the book in the first instance, as the photographer is attempting to push her photography beyond what she presently knows and experiences. In one translated edition a line has remained with me, unfortunately I can only paraphrase, it discusses the surface of a black and white photograph as if liquid, as if the blackness undulates when touched, present a surface tension that never remains static. I work predominantly in black and white when printing photographs and always marvel at the way in which the surface areas of the photographic print change depending on how it is moved and the way in which light reflects off the surface. How the blacks may appear richer and more visceral at dusk, and the whites become more startling at dawn. But more than being a mere facade of the captured reality, it is as if what makes the photograph powerful visually may become a mere shadow of itself when the surface tension is pierced. By proceeding below the physical surface of the photograph, we as viewers begin to hypothesize, deconstruct and make assumptions as to what the photograph is, conceptually and physically. Therefore there are instances where by undertaking this analysis of the photograph, we fracture the constituent part which made it distinctive, by piercing through the protective facade, the magic dissipates, removing the essence of the photograph. Hence, there are moments when viewing photographs when we need to refrain from the hypothesizing, the deconstructing and fashioning assumptions, and view it for what it is, and by doing so prevent the surface tension from fracturing.


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