Sunday, February 17, 2008
WALTER PATER: "All art aspires to the condition of music."
PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: Schubert's "Frühlingstraum" is familiar territory to a few who read TODAY'S, and I suspect knowing it, at least made them take a second look at the previous photo (http://rothphotos.blogspot.com/2008/02/frhlingstraum.html). Clearly, the photo is a tag-along which asks us while "reading" the photo to recall the emotional power of Schubert's song. Perhaps that attests to how far my photo falls short of Pater's quote (not to mention to Schubert's song).
I'm struck by how much of the power of Schubert's song comes from its embracing "spring" melody. That melody, while embodying the text, goes further; its harmonic structure and rippling line touch us at levels deeper than words; deeper even than pictures, which call on the power of naming and thus become generalized. I look at my photo and think, "flowers," though I also feel their reed texture. But Schubert's spring dream enters my ears unnamed and works in my chest and gut and mind in ways that have no words by which to grasp them. The best I can do is to say they offer warm consolation against the ominous raven-rumblings which counter them in the song. There have been times I've hummed that song quietly all day long.
For me today's TODAY'S does not resonate at all with Schubert's song. I was standing in the exact same spot. Only a few moments had elapsed. I simply dialed my zoom lens back from 130mm to 80mm to compose a more conventional landscape. I did so because I was pulled to the quiet power of the silo and certain other rhythms in the larger shot. However, its three-dimensionality means it need be nothing more than documentation of a particular place at a particular time. I include it in TODAY'S because I still enjoy its rhythms, patterns, and colors and the way they lead my eye. To that degree it still, "aspires to the condition of music."