Get Your Premium Membership

Can one see only with the eyes of a poet?

by Benedito Silva
The purpose of this essay is to discuss the construction of images by the photographer. Photography seen as a possibility for a creative, artistic and transforming practice, which involves risks. In this context, freedom and plurality produce different meanings, and doors to other views. To achieve this, there is a need to produce subjectivities, reinventions of objects, of oneself, and of the world itself. In this sense, constructing an image acts as a transforming power. The discussion here is approached as a deciphering of visual treatment. Reading images is to deduce, to instill an interpretation, and to engender varied meanings according to the nature of this interaction.

It is encouraging for us to revisit photography, and in constructing images, taken as an inventive and artistic production process, to experiment with an esthetic surprise, laden with poetry, lyricism and visual metaphors. Photography, for the poet Drummond, includes poetic magic, since according to him it also becomes inevitable that each technical procedure, exercised with love and precision, unleashes a specific poem.

Given this assumption, we might ask: Does idea supersede technique? No matter how many precise techniques are found, and paraphernalia for images and their treatment, the most important thing would be the photographer's eyes. It is in this sense that we can state that an idea can supersede technique.

The photographer, as a "doer" (photographer/poet) does by feeling, looking, thinking, and by having the needed technology for these, although not necessarily extremely complex or expensive equipment. It is not about addressing the intervention of software that is taking over photography to give it new meaning, but of appropriating photography to speak of the imaginary by means of visual experimentation and metaphors. There is also the challenge of originality that is imposed on the search for an "unseen" approach.

  The many possibilities offered by digital cameras have been a great achievement. There are many authors who affirm that photography is viewed as the most popular of the arts. With digital cameras this art has expanded even more, since photography plays a comprehensive role.

Photography, in distancing itself from its various functions, whether documentary, for recording or informative, when entering the territory of beauty, seeks the uncommon, the connotative. It is also true that we should never confuse imagery with reality. On the other hand, beauty may also be found, for example, in photojournalism when, exhibiting all its ability to transmit information, can with certain guidelines created by the photographer, make use of connotation in a message that is purely denotative.

Photography is art. It also asserts itself as an important manifestation of visual poetry. It is impossible to feel indifferent to a composition that obeys the demands of the most conservative arts.

The perspective that has followed is that not "only with the eyes of a poet can one see," but only with the privileged eyes of a photographer/poet is it possible to obtain solutions aimed at representation for expression, recording, or any of the other functions of photography, and not just attribute to it a denotative function.
Beyond this global diagnosis, this essay allows for possible insights. The most significant experiences are highlighted, emphasizing the fact that this is a snippet of the author's perception, in this almost poetic proximity to the watchful eyes of the photographer.

Author's website:

Book: Shattered Sighs