Saturday, January 17, 2009

Enjoying confusion

click photo to enlarge
For much of my life, as an educator, my task was to make clarity out of the complexity and confusion in the minds of students. When I ascended the hierarchy of management I was expected to do the same with the staff that I deployed. It's a laudable aim in that line of work, and elsewhere in the world. Minds greater than mine are attempting to do just that with the banking system, and I hope, for all our sakes, that they succeed.

And yet, perhaps because it seems mankind's unending task to explain the world to itself, there is sometimes great pleasure to be had in contemplating confusion rather than interpreting it. Nowhere is this more evident than in the arts. Film, novels, fine art and photography revel in presenting confusion, or apparent confusion, to the viewer and reader. That confusion can be interpreted, the "meaning" extracted, and an attempt made to understand it; or it can enjoyed at a visceral, literal level, as elemental, unsettling perplexity.

Today's photograph presents confusion in visual form. I could explain what is going on in the image, how the architecture works, what is being reflected, what is inside the glass and what is outside. But I won't. When I saw this scene I enjoyed it for what it was, a puzzling, disorienting arrangement of forms, and that is how I present it.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (300mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On