…sang Sly Stone back in the late sixties. Do you see what I did there? Gave an article a title which suggested a possibly inflammatory rant, when in fact it’s just the title of a song in my head right now. Almost like I’ll do or say anything just to keep up a level of interest in what I am doing or saying, isn’t it?
Figuring out what you want to do is great, but it’s not the same as being able to do what you want to do. I now know I am looking to make images which allow the viewer to believe they understand, and perhaps have a strong viewpoint, on the information contained within the frame. This idea puts me in mind of the great quote from Noam Chomsky,on how we believe ourselves to be wise and educated when the reality is perhaps something else. Chomsky said, ” the smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” So I’m looking to make pictures which speak clearly of a topic upon which many of us would happily comment and argue over, but which also contain elements which suggest doubt as to whether those opinions are the whole truth of the matter.
Every now and then I think I’ve cracked it. As with the above image which references the debate as to whether a certain black athlete should place his hand over his heart and bellow along to a song before he plays his game. My image contains enough information to suggest what it is about, which I hope would be enough to set one down the path of debating whether the athlete’s behaviour is a good or a bad thing, and possibly loudly and rudely if the debate is being held online; loud and rude being the currency of our times. Yet the image is also confusing, as is the issue itself. My picture contains the outline of a black man, yet we cannot know his opinion. Within his body, the slow shutter speed of the camera has captured another (white) athlete also kneeling during the national anthem. In solidarity? For other reasons? We cannot know. (Although serious fans of the game might know-but who needs facts when a feeling will do)
So this image is what I want to do more of. It’s my game winning field goal deep in overtime. Or,conversely, my game winning pass intercepted in the end zone It allows the viewer to feel they are on solid ground, but closer inspection suggests a more nuanced, and complex issue.