Robert's Blog

robert golden's blogs consist of three different subject groups - photography and film_cultural essays _ social essays

THE MYSTERIES OF MEANING

If there is meaning to be found in life, where do we look, or to what do we listen?

Is it to our own internal electro-chemical noise, in the fireflies of enlightenment we call our dreams, visions and thoughts? Or is it found in substances - the flesh of our lover, the sand in our toes, or even in the foggy mist on our face? 

Is it found in the words with which we describe meaning? Perhaps it is in an image that may say, “not only did this light exist at this time at this place reflecting from these objects or people” but that the things were understood to be worthy of becoming an image. That was because the photographer dreamt and then recognised meaning within them, consciously or not. She formed a constellation of dreams, ideas, knowledge, experience, culture and instinct, and said, “I perceive you, I nominate you, I embrace you in all your beauty or horror, and here is my gift”.

 Ill father and disabled daughter in a top floor flat without a working lift   Srebrenica BiH   2015

Ill father and disabled daughter in a top floor flat without a working lift   Srebrenica BiH   2015

That image, encountered by others may elicit inexact responses or stirrings of other newer meanings because the image is humble and only itself, another shard of culture amongst millions of others. For a moment or indeed for a lifetime in another’s existence it may gain meaning and therefore relativity – a weight that overcomes its unbearable lightness of meaning.

    That image gains relativity because it attains weight, the weight of heavy souls rather than angel’s feathers.  It connects invisible desires to invisible meanings. The image has become a visible guide to invisible and often unarticulated meaning we are hungry for. 

 The hands of David Glass - mime artist, director and writer   London

The hands of David Glass - mime artist, director and writer   London

Photographers become detectives searching for clues to reveal the mysteries of meaning. This is precisely how we make the invisible become visible.