“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” 35: the paradox of “picture’

paradox of pictureThe word ‘picture’ for a photograph is another word of paradox. When we first see it we would imagine a copy representing a real thing. Yet when we compare the physical with the image, we realize that the copy is not a copy.

How can that be? A ‘photographic picture’ may give the connotation of ‘copy’ or ‘duplicate’ or ‘print’ or ‘reflection’ or whatever you like to call it. But there are lots of variables. Assuming all other variables (including especially the qualities of the camera and the photographer) are perfect and stand at perfect constant, time still change everything. No moment ever stands still or remains the same as the moment just passed.

How shall we call a picture then? A mere print of a momentary impression by the camera and the camera man/woman. The word ‘impression’ may be a more apt substitute for the word ‘picture’. Impression implies the subjective input we infuse into each work of our individual human hand. Aside from the hardware (cameras, computers, mobile phones which double up as cameras, printers etc.), our technique, skills, and technical experiences, our thoughts, attitudes, feelings, emotions, moods, perspectives, values, judgements, morals, religions, beliefs, five senses, likes and dislikes, preferences, priorities, affiliations, social and peer sentiments, relationships, statuses and phases of life, financial means and stability, physiological and psychological factors…(just fill in whatever that influence you) are all subjective but pertinent variable factors that affect our input and output.

What is the use of a picture or impression to an onlooker then? Should a photographer simply keep all the photos in his or her own private albums? But at some points of life everyone wishes to share a bit. The good news is that you don’t have to keep everything in your closets. Why? Because many share subjective variable factors at certain phases of lives. Some can even identify and empathize with you for the impression you have displayed which has also spoken to them.

Hence, it is alright to use the word ‘picture’ to describe a photograph just as you may describe a drawing or a painting. For that matter, a photograph becomes an art because of your subjective input which gives a glimpse of your life that someone somewhere may identify and share.

~~~~~You may be surprised, we (human) are pictures/images too. We are created by God in His likeness, with all His honor and glory intended originally.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
[ From Adam to Noah ] This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.
When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
James 3:8-10 New International Version (NIV) but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
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