A word inspired by the wings of Herme’s sandals and vocation, a messenger. This is a word ingrained into my psyche. And I am in Doire’s class again, as she tells the story of guru answering a simple question. The answer, “The Earth rests upon the back of a turtle. That turtle rests upon the back of another…It’s turtles all the way down!” Interpretation, upon interpretation, upon interpretation. The power lies within the author, the one presenting the message. Hermeneutics: the study of interpretation.

Or rather, “Question everything!”

Since the beginning, I have found my Religious Studies background subtly woven into photography. Maya: illusory. All that we see is an illusion, a construction of perception, and reality easily bends and molds to the shift of sight and understanding of what the eyes behold. Shift perspective, hit the shutter, isn’t it SO different than where you were before? History is virtual for it cannot re-exist.

The seven dimensions of religion:








But these dimensions are also life itself. All important, but myth, that is the origin, that is one’s truth, one’s who, what, when, where, why. It is a continuum that one is but a mark no less significant than those that came before or will come after.

Myth has become a dirty word. A freak distortion. But what has replaced myth is so precise. Sacred Narrative.

This is how I see photojournalism. Chronicling the sacred narratives of people’s lives. And rather than do so through a pen and paper, it is a camera and time. It is a great privilege with an equally burden heavy responsibility. I am the messenger. How will I tell the story? How can I do this person, his or her story, justice? How can I communicate a visual sacred narrative that resonates with others and cultivates empathy and epistemological leaps?

I suppose sometimes it’s best just to start. To sit. To listen. And when I begin to know, to understand, then the seeing will be natural. Photo Essay has begun, but I feel like I’m really just finding friends I didn’t know I had, with great life and knowledge to share.

This entry was published on January 14, 2011 at 5:15 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Hermeneutics

  1. Louise Doire on said:

    I have assigned James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men for my new course. The book features the photographs of Walker Evans. In the text Agee wrote, “For the immediate world, everything is to be discerned, for him who can discern it, and centrally and simply, without either dissection into science, or digestion into art, but with the whole of consciousness, seeking to preceive it as it stands…This is why the camera seems to me, next to unassisted and weaponless consciousness, the central instrument of our time.” In this book Agee attempts to do with his pen what Evans did with his camera but he believes that he is the one who fails. Love.

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