Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

September 1, 2008

Metaphor or Symbolic?

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Doug Stockdale @ 10:21 pm

Having finished re-reading the Mirrors & Windowsby Szarkowski, I find myself wondering about my own particular bent in what and why I photograph. And I realize that I am somewhere in between and not sure if near one pole or the other. I think it depends on the day.

So while all of that was working in the back of my mind, I have continued to work on my Re:Development series from China. I knew that there was something interesting in what I saw with regard to the various ways that the Chinese had contained, wrapped and supported trees and shrubs to protect them from the elements. Enough so, that I have a large collection of these photographs.

But there was still something about these that I saw as also being symbolic for the repressive Chinese government and their dictatorial mandates. So I had compartmentalized that away and carried on.

So while continuing to work on my series, further defining what I want to accomplish, I did another sort of my hold files. Just to see if in retrospect, there was some image that I initially missed, but now might have more promise. Yep, as I think about what I am trying to accomplish, and develop the idea with regard to my images, I have found some new life in those that I had initially passed over. My scope is expanding and my heart is coming more into play. I am now not so head-strong and rigid as to what is a “good” photograph as it relates to my concept. Nice.

Thus, this image was re-found and how it might be ‘read’. I recognized traces of what this image could represent at the time that I made it, having worked on the composition for a while before pressing the button. At the time, the recent uproar in Tibet had yet to occur. At the moment, I had realized that this globe from an observatory also could take on the appearance of Earth, a planet. Now perhaps it could mean the world at large, as a civilization looking down on the Chinese government and their current antics.

Add to that oversight, the individual trees, all bound and securely held in place. Here in the US, a tree would be held in place by a single pole and tether. But here, the trees are held securely in place by two or three poles and very securely bound with rope or twine. Which looks a lot like how the police overcome a protester, with a small group which encircles the protester and then bounds them up. And here, in a public place, every tree is bound up and very secure.

And so, I now will consider if and where these new images have a place in my developing project.

Oh, and I also wonder, with what may be the same answer, is this photograph symbolic or a sbutle metaphor for what is going on in China?

Best regards, Doug

Update: since no one has commented and chimed in, I think the answer is that this is a subtle metaphor for what is happenging in China.

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