Welcome to “Notes from the Field”
We are pleased to have photographer Liese Ricketts as a contributing writer on Rfotofolio.
There’s no saying what direction we may take here; but, I’ll begin with some thoughts about your passion and mine, photography. Generally I like to think about the nature of our medium, how simple and complex it is. I love that it can be as rich as to possess both of these qualities, simultaneously. So, let’s start.
In sixth grade, Mrs McDougal taught our grade school class how to diagram sentences. We drew one straight horizontal line, divided it into three parts with vertical lines, corresponding to the subject, predicate, and direct object. Then we drew lines angling down from there in different directions for the myriad other parts of speech. Doing this clarified so much for me about our language and its functions. It helped me to understand how language serves to elucidate meaning and that there is order, despite apparent chaos. Things fit together, like puzzle pieces, snapping into place. I had no idea then that I am a kinesthetic learner. I just knew I had found deep satisfaction in this visual exercise.
Years later I stumbled upon photography. There were scientific aspects about it that I liked but I much preferred, rather, the ability to rescue meaning from the image. The photograph is a jumbled sentence. I could rapidly diagram the scrambled pieces in the image for meaning and reassemble them in my head to read it. I understood also that we can make sense of it differently, intellectually, and emotionally. Photography is a language unto itself, although we interpret it based on factors like experience, culture, gender, age, etc. Meaning is a variable, but this process of detecting parts which form the meaning is a constant. We, perceiving and diagramming fragments, can decipher it.
Writers like Roland Barthes, John Szarkowski, Andy Grundberg, David Travis, Terry Barrett, and Susan Sontag, to name just a few, have helped me see much more in the photograph than what I had ever observed before. Nonetheless, the paradigm of the “jumbled sentence” still works as a tool I employ to respond intelligently to the visual enigma.
About Liese Ricketts
Liese Ricketts wears a few hats. A photographer, photo educator, closet writer, she has been engaged in the field of photography for over 35 years. She exhibits her own work in solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. Her recent portfolios, as well as her CV appear on her website. To learn more please visit her site at Deadphoto.
To read her interview please visit, Liese Ricketts Photographer
Thank you Liese.