Ways of Seeing – 5

The time when I was just about to leave college after graduation was a time when most elders were asking me to get further education. There will be a better job for you if you get post-grad certification, they said. I thought, if I get a job now, earn, I might be able to sponsor my post-graduation.

Seems the time has come.

My recent fascination of making good use of gadgets is iTunesU.

I listen to more lectures online than I listen to music on my iPod. The most open campus in the world! I can choose which lectures I attend. I can choose which university I attend. Nothing beats a formal education and the real campus experience, but I am not complaining.

For those of you who don’t yet know about it, iTunes has a section, called iTunesU. Some very well-known universities have put significant content online for you.


One of the colleges I go to is the Otis College of Art and Design, specifically their Liberal Arts & Sciences section.

In this section, I subscribed to their course material on Introduction to Visual Culture. This is where I first saw the photograph by Robert Frank, in my previous post.

There is an amazing body of knowledge in that photograph. I know it now because I have heard the lecture. But here is the deal. At one level, this lecture tells you all that this photograph denotes and connotes (the three lectures are about representation, denotation and connotation) and so I know a lot about this particular photograph. I know the depth and breadth of what this photograph may mean, from the lecturer’s point of view. At another level, the lecture opens up a world of possibilities of ways of seeing.Beyond that specific photograph.

I was a bit taken aback at the level at which the lecturer explored meaning in that photograph. The discrete, the abstract. The known, the unknown. The contextualised and the not. How many layers of meaning does the photograph have? How much are you willing to delve and dive in? What is your own meaning; is it clouded by the meaning that someone else has made? Finally, are all the layers truly meaningful or just abstract banter for the sake of it, and therefore, what is meaning?

What you see is limited only by your curiosity to know; what you mean is limited by your means of making your meaning.

In Absentia (BW)


8 thoughts on “Ways of Seeing – 5

  1. “What you see is limited only by your curiosity to know; what you mean is limited by your means of making your meaning.”

    Well said!


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