The Enigma Machine: How Photography Reveals Truth

Ostensibly this is about photography. The photograph. How is it that a mere image, a reflection of a fraction of the world captured in the blink of an eye, can pack so much power, so much meaning, into a tiny frame? What stories do they tell? Why do I feel so moved by one particular photograph while hundreds of others leave me with nothing?

My photographs are personal. You are looking at my nude and ungaurded mind. My psyche, my heart. I started this thing, this journal, this web log, with the intent of making sense of it all. I appreciate you, reader, but I don’t do this for followers or fame. But a stage demands courage of the artist and truth often reveals itself before the firing squad. I stand here without a blindfold or a cigarette.

Serpent Box. That’s what I called my novel before I realized it was a metaphor for the human body; for my own body. We are each arbiters of our faith. Here, in this format, live online, I planned to explore my photographs in the hope of knowing myself better, and the world just a little bit. It’s the same reason why I write. Life can be complicated and mysterious. I tell stories with words and pictures so as to decipher this existence of ours. Not that it can be decipherd. There’s no decoder ring for living but art helps. Words and photographs. Each day I make progress in constructing my Enigma Machine.

They’re all self-portraits. No surprise that. A novelist writes his biography again and again by smashing himself into pieces he calls characters and hiding among other places and times. It’s a clever rouse but why bother pretending? Everything I put up here for you to see is coming straight from the strange world of reality as filtered through a pair of optic nerves connected to a wounded but miraculously healing brain. Everything I see has meaning, including the smashed beer cans on the roadside and the dandelions spangled across the lawn. You don’t need a set of Tarot cards to divine your condition or your future, you just need a set of eyes.

I found the trunk of a tree washed up on the beach yesterday and I saw contained within it the entire history of the human condition embodied in the desecration of women. How’s that for deep? I’ve always wondered why those armless, legless, headless Venus De Milo torsos are so moving. I honestly didn’t understandd it until now. The world will never heal and never change while the mothers of us all remain subjagated, objectified, reduced to genitalia, disposable and interchangable as dolls. All this #gamergate nonsense is missing the point entirely. It has nothing to do with games. It’s not even about women. It’s about men. It’s about boys. It’s about how men are made, how boys are planted and grown into them. We have been poor farmers, lousy stewards of the soils of both hearts and Earth.

And this has been on my mind. A lot. This thought, this realization, has haunted me now for several years. But I didn’t put it together until I started to read the images I was seeing all around me. Forget the news. Forget the internet. You don’t need movies or TV. We see ourselves reflected all around us, if we pay attention. Photographs are just like dreams, they can show us the latent truth about who we are and provide us with choices. The lady or the tiger? You know which door is which.

I think about the parable when Jesus spits in the mud and anoints the eyes of the blind man with clay. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world. That’s me. That’s you. We make our own miracles, by seeing through new eyes.

o O o

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