If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Thursday 15 Mar 2012
A true photograph need not be explained,
nor can it be contained in words.
Ansel Adams (20 Feb 1902 – 22 Apr 1984)
One among many of the more irritating features of contemporary celebrity culture is the vapid ‘interpretations’ of their own oeuvres by poets and painters and other artistes on television shows voracious for ‘intellectual’ content. Few things strike me as more vapid than their narcissistic drivel – except possibly the mindless softballs lobbed by some bouffant, contemptuously ingratiating interviewer.
Maybe you could understand it with poets, who are, after all, playing with words and all too often, given the relentless opacity of their modern confections, do all too often need to unpack the private lexical puzzles they’ve contrived.
But painters? Just look at the picture, for Heaven’s sake – it’s pictures, not words, nor, in Adams’ own words, “can it be contained in words.”
And I make this observation though fully cognizant of my own peccable transgressions in this regard – here and there. So sue me – I am large, I contain multitudes, I am entirely capable of simultaneously harboring two contradictory notions in my head.