THE “INDITIAL” PHOTOGRAPH
Contradictions also hold positive surprises
Light, even in photography.
It is generally said that light is a form of energy and in reality it is a form of electromagnetic energy little different from radio waves, heat and X-rays.
Their common feature is their undulatory nature which as such propagates, deflects, overlaps and reacts against an obstacle.
But if you ask a physicist what light is, he will answer that, like other electromagnetic waves, light is in fact a form of matter, little different from concrete things.
The particles of light, called photons, travel in swarms much like drops of water from a garden hose; when a photon hits something, it imparts a perceptible shock, just like water drops.
Index or icon?
We are faced with an apparent paradox: light has wave and corpuscular characteristics. That photography is then an "INDEX" rather than an "icon" changes many things. Accustomed as we are to considering it for its iconic value as an image, whose link with reality is dictated by resemblance, we look at it in the same way as a painting or other form of representation. But if the link between photography and reality is instead of an «indicial» or «physically forced» order as the semiotician Peirce specifies, given by a connection materially produced by the referent, such as a footprint in the sand, then our relationship with photography and the way of understanding it changes. This "miracle" of light has the meaning of a trace, an imprint, as well as a symptom, opening up from a theoretical point of view to the suggestions of a psychoanalytic and philosophical order that these terms refer to. Photography registers a symptom, a sign: it is a statute of proof, it is a silent testimony.
Quantum theory and relational interpretation
I am convinced that reality is the way in which everyone, with their own observation skills or observer skills, enters into a relationship with another physical system, made up of things or subjects, who are also observers and readers and are at least as active as we are.
I am also of the idea that the Universe is the set of every reality represented and also of all the ways in which it has not been represented.
I refer to quantum theory and its relational interpretation: what quantum theory describes is the way in which one part of nature manifests itself to another part of nature.
At the heart of the relational interpretation of quantum theory is the idea that the theory does not describe how quantum objects manifest themselves to us or to special observing entities.
It describes how any physical object manifests itself to any other physical object.
The observers are in turn observed in a relationship that conditions both fields of observation.
The language of photography
I find that the language of chemical photography is the most trivially immediate and exemplary for us to understand all of this.
We need to get rid of a heavy cultural filter, a way of thinking well structured by reason, and change the idea that photography or any other way of using reality is a representation of it: no, it is one of the many ways in which we we enter into a relationship with reality and it has the same cognitive and experiential value as any other way of relating with the other, the elsewhere, the outside, the observed.
The meaning of all this
The meaning of all this is that there is no supremacy of species at least in the world we inhabit. There are different observers who are also observed in a never-ending relationship game that relates everything at infinitely small and infinitely large scales.
In human terms, therefore, as complex observers (we are a complex structure made up of cells and infinitely complex biological relationships) we perceive ourselves as thinking beings (but not all) and we should take care of this capacity for speculative and constructive observation: it represents the access ladder to awareness.
Skill must be made autonomous and free from the temptation of definitive synthesis: judgments and conclusions must be suspended.
It is necessary that we definitively accept the ineluctable flow of universal events aimed at increasing entropy and defend the vital flow of the Universe.
We consider that we are non-exclusive partial observers and we become aware of our condition: we are guests of this planet, conditioned by an extra-terrestrial nature, close to the stars and cosmic dimensions but we are also so pathetically nostalgic and fond of a process of slavery born with the life.