Perception is something we come to individually, but we need to be mindful as we progress through life. Though what we expect and/or wish to see might not always be accurate, we still need to look, perceive, and explore reality’s potential. Annie Dillard discusses several examples of the perception of newly sighted people and the struggles they face when tasked with seeing for the first time. Some of the participants chose self-imposed blindness over actually seeing. As such, perception doesn’t easily change in our society, but if we spend time in the mindful, our abstractions can become somewhat clearer. [MAP]
“Seeing is of course very much a matter of verbalization. Unless I call my attention to what passes before my eyes, I simple won’t see it” (Dillard 8). “All I can do is try to…hush the noise of useless interior babble that keeps me from seeing just as surely as a newspaper dangled before my eyes” (Dillard 9).
Our ability to notice certain details can be hampered by how well we are able to name and describe something. Our expectations of how something should look can prevent us from “seeing” something that is outside of that norm. [RN-J]
As with water, constraints of communication materials are often social and historical (Wysocki 56);
What is unavailable in these images? How does a social and historical context inform them? What are we asking of the audience when presenting them? Sometimes an image can be a record of a precise moment in history, yet without knowledge of that history, it loses much of its significance. Even a computer generated logo has the ability to engage in a complex discussion of the social. But as with words, a language must be shared among the audience in order to elicit the desired response.
An image calls for words, and words produce images; they cannot be separated.
How does an image move or transfer (Barry 9), not only in geographical locations but from our mind and thoughts? How are our hands, images, and insight collected and made apparent through some display of visual representation? These are some of the very questions Lynda Barry seeks to answer, expanding reader’s idea of visual representation to more than an image drawn or painted, but also to a book, song, or object we interact with (15). One of the ways to answer these questions is by using a composition notebook. Collecting elements from our everyday lives and using these as entry points can create unexpected juxtapositions that form stories and show different patterns that Barry believes will help discover “what this thing I call ‘the back of the mind” is up to (62). When this is achieved, understanding movement and transfer of the visual from within becomes more apparent. [JW]
Images, layout, or graphics communicate meaning by constructing visual arguments, making claims through particular use of comparison, juxtaposition, and intertextuality (George, 29). Images are a means of visual representation of the world rather than replication of a permanent reality. In the case of drawing, there is the image you are attempting to create – and there is the actual image as it is drawn (Barry, 16). [JS]
Whether it is because of a memory or an oddity, the punctum is what stands out to the spectator creating an element of recognition. The photographs show pieces of experiences that can be altered (Sontag 2); however, the photographs do not show what is not in the picture, like Barthes remembering fragments of his mother’s movements, but not the rest of the movement or the moment in time (65-66). Neutrality is not a trait of photography as Barthes decries the lack of it in his own body (12); neutrality contradicts punctum.
Because photographs are static images, the viewer of the photograph has the ability to study the image for an unrestricted period of time, allowing him the opportunity to experience both the punctum and studium of the photograph in ways he would not be able to with moving picture films (Barthes 26). The photograph captures and reproduces time and allows society to understand culture and time in ways that were previously impossible (Sontag 13). [LW]