Fall 2015, Volume 19

From the Art Editor

All digital photos are arrangements of darker and lighter dots. Color is optional. This is how all digital photos are alike. Always graciously acknowledge the materials of the art medium. They are exactly what they are while everything else that happens has to do with how the artist uses those materials to nudge you the viewer who responds. You can learn to become more aware of your contribution. 

See a photo and quickly, if not instantly, you will know what a photo is of, for example that snap of your beloved, or an Ansel Adams landscape, that rock star, that brand of hamburger. The poetry of good visual art lies in the deftness of its retinal clues that cause viewers to become independently conscious of one subject, indeed the artist's concern when making the art.

Interestingly enough, retinal data is manipulated by brain into different kinds of truths that are sometimes incompatible. Visual artists can either work hard to depict simply or they can work a different way to depict and to invoke feeling beyond what the subject matter might prompt on its own. The uncanny, or the enigmatic, the numinous, the eerie, …, in art always suggests an artist of more complex ambition.

Art is an opportunity for empathy between people. In this issue of Verdad, I was attracted to Jeremy Freedman's images by a complexity of intent (see his statement, too.) I saw simple subjects removed from their contexts by the blur technique. This focused me on how, in the absence of framing narrative details, I automatically start building a story, or set of contingent stories, consistent with what very little I might actually know.  Know thyself. The color is vivid and suggests both a noise level and an emotional tenor. I vacillate about color as aesthetic beauty here. I don't think Jeremy's going for beauty first. He seems open to beauty and pragmatic about when it doesn't happen. So Jeremy's going away from straight descriptive photography to blurring provides us a mirror to see ourselves again as storytellers, as beings intolerant of not-knowing, as fans of beauty who have learned by experience that memorable beauty is rarer than we might prefer. Still, we love to look, and keep looking. That's us.

                                                                                     — Jack Miller