The ability to embed soul and emotion on photographs is not within the domain of abilities of the camera but instead entrenched by the artist on his or her shots. Then, passion is transmitted to this inanimate object as the artist crafts his or her vision to become reality. As the popular saying suggests “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
As a shutterbug, one of the things that I find interesting in Tamayura Hitotose is the interpretation of photographs; take for instance, the presence of tamayura (“children of the light”) in Fu-chan’s photos. The Maestro perceived those unusual tiny lights in Fu’s dad’s picture as the result of the overflowing gentleness and love between the father and daughter.
In addition, Fu mentioned that a photo can contain a lot of mysteries and meanings—that it can turn anything into something special, and can connect the hearts of the person on the photo and the one taking it. Most of all, a picture can bring joy to one person but at the same time can bring sadness to the other. Hence, it’s so amazing how a single object can generate manifold arrays of realities. However, come to think about it, does it mean that multiple versions of realities are comparable to compound adaptations of truths?
I always believe that ideas of realities are exclusively dependent of culture, as Frank Oppenheimer put forward “it’s not the real world, it’s a world we made up.” However, although I’m inclined on this postmodern ideology, I don’t fully agree on its viewpoint that there’s no such state as individualism. Postmodernism posits that we have reached an artistic dead end, and there is no chance for a fresh, original perspective because everyone is corrupted by culture. Thus, photographs are not anymore perceived as transparent window of the world, but as complex webs spun by culture because as an art photograph simply emulated, replicated and borrowed other forms of realities.
On the other hand, although a picture fabricates a thousand meanings, I still believe that it holds one absolute truth—a modernist view. Why? Because there’s no such thing as another “me”, and whatever I interpret will always generate something unique. Indeed, language itself is corrupted, however there’s something in our own construal that will always be left unspoken—a truth that is pure, universal and independent of each of us. As Plato’s Ideal Forms advocated, the notion of ultimate “reality” can only exist in the mind. Truth cannot be inconsistent, and given that our experiences with the world are ubiquitous with irregularities, they must be false. Because of this, mankind could never tangibly seize Ideal Forms, making the notion of ultimate “reality” can only subsist in one’s consciousness.
But of course on top of this, I would like to acknowledge that an acceptance of postmodernism doesn’t essentially discount modernism, although both often are in direct opposition. However, it is hard to look at every different viewpoint and then try to conclude an understanding about truth and reality. Indeed, photographs are artworks that are mechanically processed and used by many as a way to keep memories of the “real world”. As products of a certain reference of time, the ideas of truths that pictures emanate would naturally follow the change of time. However, the perspective of how “true/believable” or “false/implausible” something is depends solely on our own discernment. As illustrated by Fu, fun moments in the pictures can actually make you sad. And regardless of being static, an image would always hold different meanings and mysteries on each of us.