And out comes a tenderly belabored prospect of dilapidation. Looking at a photograph I didn’t take, I painted a quaint tranche of unleveled-up Britain from the plein air of the shed I inhabit. Painting my two-bit canvases from photos lets me riff at easel on what the lens saw without being arrested for skill. But enough easel talk. Palaver is otiose — a picture says what it says.
On photography, I think of a bygone flurry of pushback to Christopher Isherwood’s assertion (premise? taunt?), “I am a camera.” Objection was raised that a writer could not “record” even in the most dispassionate way and still not introduce subjectivity into the account. Did Isherwood really think otherwise, I wonder? No more than a good photographer would allege being absent from the photograph. (At the atomic level, isn’t matter changed somehow when observed?) I linger fondly on how in “Goodbye to Berlin” her tenant was “Herr Issyvoo” to his German landlady.
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