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J. Adrian Wylie's Perspective

J. Adrian Wylie's Perspective image
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Agenda Publications
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Phocojournalist Hcnri Cartier-Bresson once said, "photography is not documentary, but intuition, a poetic experience ." And yet the images of homelessness in America that we've seen so ├╝ften are taken by photojournalists- stereotypical images of the homeless shown panhandling, pushing shopping carts filled with their possessions, and sleeping on park benches. A big misconception I had was that the participants would use their cameras to document their lives much in the way a phorojournahst would. Instead they hved up to Cartier-Bresson's ideal, creating poetry. I found several of the photos to be very intriguing. Jim's piloto of a dog takes on an unnerving duality when, at first glance, the animal in the center of the image assumes a menacing stance. Not until I looked close did I see the dog was not bearing its teeth, but exhibiting an active curiosity and, as Jim's title implies, did seem to be smiling. Gary's beautiful image titled Tranquility shows two people in a canoe who appear to be paddling through a frictionless sky as they move towards an ambiguous fuzzy destination at the top of the photograph. Both of these photos translate from a visual level to a very personal, poetic one. The dog image indicates how any first impression can be skewed when one does not take the time to examine things closely. The canoeist image relates more on a life-passage level, in moving towards a distant mysterious goal that only some effort and the passage of time will make clear. Although they were all working with little or no photographic knowledge, perhaps their firsthand knowledge of the struggles they face helped them to go beyond making documents of their Uves and instead reveal to us their own poetic experience.


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