Words and photography. Two different media that rarely intersect besides some areas like photojournalism. Usually we see and enjoy fine art photographs without words, with not even a single caption in most cases. Good fine art photographs make us wonder and so we recreate with our own mind our interpretation of the image. It is our understanding of the picture, not the photographer’s.
Now let’s go to the other side. Let the photographer communicate with just words, not pictures, and let these words make us wonder about the image so we can recreate with our own visual aesthetics a world of possibilities based on the text. From words to pictures? It sounds unusual, it is uncommon. Related with this I came across a very interesting project, “Photographs not taken“, where photographers talk about images they did not take but they hold in their memory.
“The Photographs Not Taken” is a collection of essays by photographers about the times they didn’t use their camera. This collection is a series of photographs not taken with a camera, but, instead, lived and remembered. – more here.
A good picture can trigger an emotional response. Also words can move us, poetry can make us feel, captions can change our visual interpretation of an image. Words and images are indeed complementary ways to communicate and they enrich each other to create a response in the viewer with enhanced awareness of the subject matter. I wonder why it is not more usual to mix both media, fine art photography with words, captions and poetry. The juxtaposition of both ways of communication could create something different, a new art form in a way, or at least enhance our understanding of the photograph and the emotions that the photographer likes to convey with the image.
[update: arneg in the comments referred to a great site Unphotographable, where the pictures not taken are indeed described with words. Very interesting indeed]