Recognizable Subjects

   Working with a recognizable subject is more appealing to me then working with an unknown. What I mean by this is that I may not be sure if a composition has the impact I am looking for. Also, an unrecognizable subject may not carry the message I want to convey, as when it is recognizable. An observer of an image containing a strange shape or construct may not hold that person's attention as a recognizable one may.  

   I admit that there are some abstract images which are appealing, and there is a real body of work in photography that focuses on abstraction. However, to fashion such a construct as a photographic subject is not something I prefer, even though there are strong photographs in abstract photography.

    When a subject is recognizable and also appealing, it draws the viewer into the image. An unrecognizable one presents a challenge to the artist. Some artist love that challenge and look forward to it, and it is true that an abstract image, even though unrecognizable, can create an appeal where the feeling is recognizable, even when the subject is not.

   My work is not in the abstract. Granted the subjects are symbolic, their arrangements may not be usual, and often a message is hidden, but they are recognizable.

   What I mean by a recognizable subject is that there is no doubt in the viewer's mind of the objects displayed, but the composition may cause him or her to adjust their perspective. In this an abstraction has not been created; only a need for a change in his point of view or reference.

Sheilded Spear.JPG

   The subjects in this photograph are of two spoons, and the interplay between them or the composition, is creating a dynamic that is normally not associated with spoons; offense and defense. There is no abstraction. What is here is an association that is uncommon. With this in mind, the subjects are recognizable, and the symbolic association can be recognizable, even when uncommon.

   This image has not been titled. The reason is that the theme has not been formulated. Being open as to what a subject may reveal of itself, and to build on it is my usual approach for developing a series. Indeed this image is the genesis for a theme but the building on it is still on going; perhaps it is a bit premature to post before hand, but if Allah wills, the theme will be developed, the series named, and the image titled.

 The spoons __ when recognized as such __ on one level, are the instruments associated with getting nourishment. Of course it is not the nourishment in and of itself; the spoons only bring it to mind, like that of a logo for a restaurant.

 For the second level, the recognition is the clear symbolism of the male and the female; no longer spoons. The nourishment of love and warmth from the female, and from the male, the strength, and a well defined direction in life. I am not saying that love and warmth can not come from the male, and that some strength and some direction can not come from the female. I am only addressing the association in the posted photograph. Both are needed for the well-being of the human being.

   The third level __ the recognition intended by the image __ is that of a spear and shield. They are symbolic for the armaments to fight for oneself and one's rights, and to defend them from being taken away. The metaphor is not for what one's rights are, or even how to get and keep them. I believe that every mature human being knows what is right and what is unjust. The metaphor is in getting them, and holding on to them once obtained.

   Yes, I know, as a Muslim in today's world, these words may seem treating; however this is not the intent. Ask yourself, what rights are you willing to give up, or would you rather fight to keep them?