Frame… Understatement

   Photographs are like AAA road maps, both have borders defining their content. The borders of a good road map shows the relationship of space and time between cities, rivers, and mountains. The borders surrounding a photograph capture content, encouraging a relationship between facts which produce meaning.

Cow With Five Legs, San Diego County Fair, 1983


   The simple combining of two facts within a photograph’s border can change the meaning of a photograph. Facts by their nature have a hierarchical order and the bossing around inside the frame is done by how the camera sees the space and time between those facts; just like a road map.

   Within a photograph’s space and time is its ability to understate how facts should be read by the viewer and understood. The negating of content assumes the photograph can be read with a few chapters missing. The photograph then becomes a visual crossword puzzle where the answer lays neither in the vertical or horizontal space, but the empty squares between facts.

   The freak show photograph made at the local county fair is missing the chapter where the viewer gets to see the pentangle of legs as advertised. If photography has a funny bone it would be found on the stage of understatement, where spot lights are directed toward an unseen punch line.

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