Photographs permeate reality, as they engineer a constant churning of impressions, interpretations and meanings. By manner of their extensive production, dissemination, consumption and staunch rootedness in the real, they conspire and collaborate in the creation of imaginaries. The recurrent fluidity in the meaning of images smudges the boundaries between the real and the imaginary worlds that we inhabit.
This hinting at the unreal by a medium, which was hailed for its very capacity of producing an exact likeness of nature, today, seems like an anomaly. However, photography has never been untouched by a sense of fiction or fabrication.
Portraiture from the time of the invention of photography has been a calculated maneuver. Underscored by a conscientious choice of pose, manner and gesture, a thoughtful selection of props and backdrops record not the likeness of the person but rather, convey a fictive ‘image’, creating an allusion to reality that is far more tantalizing than reality itself.
Even the meaning of a documentary photograph is guided by the human ability to imagine, feel and vicariously inhabit the space that the image only briefly suggests.
This construction of images is highlighted by this issue of PIX, where photography practitioners deliberately create and sometimes even fabricate images by using various strategies to convey a sense, meaning or a thought, rather than finding visual resonances of their thoughts in the real world. Be it playing out fantasies and desires by the physical act of photo-montage, or the seamless integration of numerous photographs into the digital realm the intentional juxtapositions and associations in an effort to create visual witticisms; the mixing of mediums to produce an amusing amalgamation of meanings; abstraction as a ploy to make the ‘real’ unrecognizable, even unknown.
The untouched, unposed, unprocessed real in a photograph is not as sacrosanct as before. What is now seen is the increasing adaptation of the medium of photography to record not only what is without but what lies within. The camera roving about the imaginary landscapes of a photographer’s creation, recording not only details but desires, conveying not only facts but fantasies, creating not only meanings but mirages.