Getting somewhere

I think I enjoyed a little breakthrough today. Instead of working with pieces of kit and placing them into settings that question the sense of place and location I worked on two images – one domestic and one public – and injected obvious symbolism that destabilises the vistas. Well not exactly destabilises, but rather changes the vista to invite questions from the viewer about the nature of what they are seeing. Here they are.

Project 3 finals (4 of 8)

Project 3 finals (8 of 8)

I am really pleased with this approach. The incorporation of symbolism (well icon really because the shape shows a person and wheelchair) allows for a small adjustment to the image, but makes a big different to its evocation. In this case two photos that look like simple vernacular photos take on a whole new meaning purely through the inclusion of the wheelchair user symbol. However I don’t think it is just the  inclusion of the symbol but rather its digital integration into the image so it presents itself not as an addition but as a real part of the vista that generates the story because the viewer knows that this cannot be the case and so has to consider what and why the image is as it is.

This approach is not new of course and we only have to think of the numerous paintings where a halo is used to indicate the sacred within a human (Battistini, 2005, p148). But the halo is a true symbol with no mimetic quality whereas the wheelchair symbols does outline the shape.

Notwithstanding the effectiveness of both the photos above I think the approach is limited in that I could produce any number of images that include a wheelchair symbol but they would very quickly become repetitive. But a good day’s work in any case.


Battistini M. (2005) Symbols and Allegories in Art, Getty Publishing


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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