Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Re-Inventing the Wheel

Posted in art, perception, photography by Jason Gray on February 5, 2009


Untitled“Untitled”, Nikon D300, Location: St. Louis, Missouri

 The idea that photography owes itself exclusively to the reproduction of recognizable places, peoples and things is one the has consistently been argued for or against since the media’s inception.  The unique thing about photography that causes this inherent dichotomy is its two functions; utilitarian and intellectual.  For instance, a photograph of a single-celled organism can either function as scientific fact or esoteric fantasy; one being the representation of a thing that we can not see with our own eyes for the benefit of our understanding, and one being the recognition and appreciation of a design that we are not ordinarily familiar with.  Which is real?  Anne Hoy wrote, “The photograph has an indexical relation to its subject: it is chemical proof of the presence of its subject in past time under light, a trace of existence like a thumbprint or DNA evidence.”  Today however, the opportunity to alter what was real is greater than ever with the widespread use of digital photography editing software.  No doubt a plethora of altered truths exist as accepted truths; bended realities that thereby bend the rules of life that we live by.  Who hasn’t pictured themselves as though they were in a movie, and then sought out to make some version of that fictional version of themselves real?  

In any case, this photograph was taken while my brother and I were walking along railroad tracks, south of St. Louis, at Cliff Cave Park, along the Mississippi River.  At this point along the tracks, there is a spot below a cliff face, a hundred or so feet high, that collects the junk that people throw off the precipice high above.  As those articles of detritus are heaved over the side of the cliff, their reality is altered, and they lose what they were, and become first missiles for a moment and then a fractured design on the ground below.  Something appreciated from above.  My photograph took into consideration the new purpose of the wheel as part of a composition with the sticks around it.  Like the single-celled organism, it is a wheel and a found object artwork as well, and only the viewer can tell the difference.



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