I'm Scared, Mom! Someday If They Say to Me, 'You're a Photographer'...

Laleper Aytek

(A reading attempt as a result of my companion to John Berger.)

John Berger, in his article titled ‘Steps Toward A Small Theory of the Visible' (1) (and the book with the same title), states through painting that "what seems like creation is the act of giving form". (p. 34)

I think, the definitions and explanations before this sentence, which emphasizes that the painter is not the ‘creative' but the ‘recipient' is very crucial: "The impulse to paint comes neither from observation nor from the soul (which is probably blind) but from an encounter: the encounter between painter and model -- even if the model is a mountain or a shelf of empty medicine bottles… When a painting is lifeless it is the result of the painter not having the nerve to get close enough for a collaboration to start. He stays at a copying distance. Or, as in periods like today, he stays at an art-historical distance, playing stylistic tricks which the model knows nothing about.'"(p. 31)

In fact, "The secret of how to get inside the object so as to rearrange how it looked was as simple as opening the door of a wardrobe. Perhaps it was merely a question of being there when the door swung open on its own." (p. 28)

Berger's words (and in fact all of this article) can also help us to find new/different clues about the photography as well as the true and valid one, and maybe the photography when it is read again.

Both the image and the photographer wait, look after and search for the collaboration/convergence that corresponds to be more visible, more itself which remains from more to less (contrary to the painting and painter which remains less to more).

The view should be reduced, shortened, and needs to be diminished in the photograph. Otherwise, the collaboration is broken and before the inevitable encounters take place, the snapshot captures the photographer. The game is spoiled. Since the picking and collaboration and the jigsaw process that makes "that" frame does not come through, the moment creating the photograph moves away. Or as Cartier-Bresson's terms, the "decisive moment" is missed…  

The first thing that will make a view to a photograph is the discovery of inevitable (for instant and/ or processual, single and/ or multiple frames) and then it is the construction of inevitable. This structure builds stones of the subjectivity structure of the photographer.


What is inevitable?

When and how does it find the photographer or painter?

How is it picked from many, how is it provided over the non?

How to be a "recipient" in Berger's words?

When it finds a collaboration, (how) does it compel a companionship? Or (how) does it lead?

"The secret was to get inside whatever I was looking at -- a bucket of water, a cow, a city (like Toledo) seen from above, an oak tree; and once inside, to arrange its appearances for the better. Better did not mean making the thing seem more beautiful or more harmonious; nor did it mean making it more typical, so that the oak tree might represent all oak trees; it simply meant it more itself so that the cow or the city or the bucket of water became more evidently unique!" (p. 28)


Could the secret really be just that?

Was that all the secret?

Well, how much did it really we call that much?

How much did it for me, for another photographer, for a painter, an author, a reader or a viewer?

For any human on the street, in the next apartment, in the opposite neighborhood?

For a woman, for example, living in a 2 room 80m2 house in the next door and except raising her constantly crying child, whose only occupation is staying stay at home and cooking?


John Berger says: "Everything is the result of receptivity". (p. 37)

So what should we receptive or the clarity of what?

"So much continues to look the some: teeth, hands, the sun, women's legs, fish... in the realm of the visible all epochs co-exist and are fraternal, whether separated by centuries or millennia. And when the painted image is not a copy but the result of a dialogue, the painted thing speaks if we listen." (p. 38)

How was it to make our lives more in itself?

What about photography?

"To find it—if one had the grace—it would only be necessary to lift up something as small and at hand as a pebble or a salt-cellar on the table.'" as Berger said. (p. 25)

Who knows, maybe?