Man Ray

Above: Man Ray's photo Woman With Long Hair, from 1929. Credit: Public domain/fair use.

Inner Space

What about the inner-mind, the imaginative mind, the dreaming mind? About a billion of us are uploading to Instagram photos which capture pictures from the real world. Stuff we see, people we know, and all the rest. What does get very much marginalized by many Instagram post-ers, the majority of that billion, is any attempt to visually represent the life of the inner-mind--representing one's disturbed state-of-mind, say, or ... illustrating a distorted or bizarre image seen-in-a-dream ... a strange scene half-remembered from infancy ... an image that has often played on one's mind for another reason ... depictions of an hallucination ... a weird image induced by getting stoned, etc.

All of these types of image require the inner-mind to come to the fore with an equal de-emphasis of the actual ordinary quotidian. Such images--with their tendency to the bizarre, the strange, the impossible, the fantastical, the horrifying, the visionary--often require quite some effort to create. The work might require the use of collage. The work might require the use of distorting lenses (or another means of distorting ordinary reality like mirrors or shadow-play). The work might require the creator to set-up an entire scene with furniture and actors. The work might require the creator to work in post-production to artificially render a certain atmosphere or detail. The work may require the fabrication of strange-looking theatrical props ... and so forth.

Images from the inner-mind were the basic subject matter of the surrealist photographers of the 1920s and 1930s--Boiffard, Man Ray, Bellmer, Ubac, Cahun, etc. One hundred years later they are still undefeated and reign supreme as the most astonishing image-makers in this field of inner-human-experience-and-visuality. The tyranny of images from the ordinary world around us is one aspect of the rise to prominence of Instagram. The fine-art photographer is not always interested in this ordinary world. Very often the fine-art photographer is interested in the images from their inner-world, their inner-space, their imagination.

(5 October 2018)