Monday, November 18, 2013

"The soul speaks through images." - Carl Jung

  I came across this quotation by Jung awhile back and have been thinking a great deal about the implications of it.  If the soul truly speaks through images, what is it saying?

   I think the first thing it is saying is that our need to record, almost incessantly, our daily life in photographs is telling us we are desperate to hold onto moments, even silly and shallow ones.  You just have to look at Facebook to see the obsession for this daily validation.  It is, perhaps, not the images so much that are speaking but our need for them.

   When making photographs was a whole lot harder to accomplish, people had to be much more thoughtful about what they photographed.  As the ease to record has grown, the quality of the record has fallen.

   Now, enter the contemplative digital photographer.  Is that a somewhat contradictory designation?  Can you be contemplative at  3 frames a second?  Of course the answer to that is a resounding NO.  Contemplation is what you do before and after the image is recorded on your memory card.  In fact, the actual recording is almost an afterthought and perhaps not even necessary. 

Let the Light Touch You
  After thinking more about the quotation I've come to the final conclusion that what Jung is speaking about is how we reflect on the images we make or the ones we look at.  The soul will direct our vision to see what we need to see and no two people will see the same thing.  The photographic image is a powerful stimulus for self reflection.  This all brings me to the idea of composite images; images made from two or more photographs.

   Soul Collage is a process of making photomontaged images from magazine photographs.  You can use your own photographic images  as the surrealist photographers of the early 20th century did.  Soul Collage is the name of a specific process which was developed by Seena Frost.  I've been doing this sort of collage for a long time - the collage card above, a montage of 4 different images, I did quite some time ago. I call my cards Transformation Cards.  Bringing together unrelated images from diverse sources transforms them into another way of being.  It is an intuitive and subliminal process that is great fun to do.  It can also be very enlightening.

    I just came across Seena's book on her particular process and card designations and thought I'd pass it and the idea of photo collage on to you.  No matter how you do it or what you call it, this form of photomontage is a fascinating way to give voice to your unconscious mind and it may be something you might like to explore.  (Those of you who are computer savvy can create these composite images digitally.  I prefer the old fashioned "cut and paste" technique.  There is something very primal and soothing about it.  It sort of speaks to the inner child!)   There is a good video introduction to the process in the link below...

"The Soul cannot think without a picture."
- Aristotle

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