Sunday, August 5, 2012

What's in a story

Stories are the way we pass on our history and traditions, the way we communicate literally or figuratively, and it's that capacity for communicating through stories that make humans special. The retelling of complex myths is as old as our capacity for language communication. But our ability to tell stories through visual images may very well predate that. 

The beauty of non-verbal story telling - as in visual or musical images - is the capacity to speak from heart to heart, mind to mind, without the need for verbal sounds with connotative meaning. There's an ambiguity which allows for the free flow of feelings - the investment of empathy and intuition by the artist, to be interpreted by how the viewer perceives. Without that investment, an image or creation is merely a technical exercise. 

Walking down Madison Avenue this past Saturday amongst the parade of fine clothes, elegant automobiles, and delightfully scented women (dressed in my street photographer's mufti of nondescript, ever-so-slightly shabby clothes) I walked past a café with tables extending out onto the sidewalk. There sat a very prim matronly woman who, when she saw me approaching, sniffed condescendingly and turned away. She was the queen of sanctimony.