Truth From Perceptions

Click here to access a gallery for the Truth From Perceptions Project as exhibited at Midland Arts and Antiques Market, Indianapolis.

Truth From Perceptions

This project had its start sometime in February of 2011.  One day I read a poem that really knocked me out.  It is entitled “Poem 10, Societal Instincts” by Edward Henry Satchwill III.  The concept of separating truth from perceptions and the poem’s examination of the human condition continued to bounce around in my mind.  In today’s world, many times truth is ignored and in its place calculated perceptions are melded into one mass marketing scheme.  Yet within the realm of reality we all must end up dealing with truth rather than the perceptions that we are bombarded with every day.  These notions led me back to thinking about and revisiting particular photographers’ works that are important to me – Minor White, Alfred Stieglitz (especially his Equivalents), Aaron Siskind and Walker Evans.

Thanks to my wife, the artist Satch, I had used rudimentary plastic cameras (Holga and Diana+) for the last several years.  I let go of the science and process of photography and completely embraced seeing and perceiving my environment.  But, I felt that the time was right to again explore the possibility of using a more precise camera, at least for a specific project.

I began to pull these ideas together and got the idea to do an ongoing project. Conceptually, the poem would be the inspiration to see and perceive and I pulled off of the shelf an old Leica SL2 35mm that had an excellent wide angle lens.  Using a hand held camera was important.  Wanting to be mobile and photograph at will from any location or angle, I did not want to be saddled with a tripod.  I ran a quick test roll to see if the camera was in working order and realized that I would need better metering.  So, out came the spot meter – a light meter that measures the reflectivity of a tiny spot within a scene.  I had been employing no metering nor through the lens focusing since using the plastic cameras so all of this kind of jolted me a little bit.  Soon I was again employing the Zone System and making photographs for the project.

Out of all of this the project “Truth From Perceptions” was born.  Over the course of nine months over 500 negatives were made.  This exhibit of 45 prints was culled from 135 photographs that I felt “made the cut” and best expressed the idea of the project and reflected what I saw and felt while photographing.

Poem 10
Societal Instincts
Edward Henry Satchwill III

To separate truth from perceptions
Is to remove all its coherency.
Yes, absolute truths do exist in man
But their comprehension is beyond us.
Happiness, envy, love disgust and hate,
All ideals which are never to be matched,
And for this reason, clichés are needed:
“Love is exactly what you think it is.
If you don’t know what you think, then you are
Lucky, for you can find love anywhere.”
Such are the I.V. drips that keep us here,
Below enlightened, but above insane.
Not reaching full potential, but also
Not falling to our deepest depths of life.
So, in this way, do we oppress ourselves?
Or engage in paternalistic aid?
The fallacy of minds trumping the mind
Seems understood by none but you and I,
The weight of all mankind now upon us.

© 2011 Edward Henry Satchwill III
(reprinted with permission)

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