Conjuring a Glance

In an earlier blog post seen here I displayed a photograph of mine preceded by a wonderful quote by Marilynne Robinson. The photograph itself was taken one evening and it shows the reflection in the window of street lights and the bust on the other side of the glass. The bust is of an artist who I once had identified but have since forgotten. Anyhow, this is by the by. I worked on this photograph today by overlaying another photograph of Chesil Beach in Dorset. It was an experimental affair. I don't usually do these kinds of compositions but there is something about both of the original images that drew them both together. Well, the interesting thing is this; I was reading once again today a book by Marilynne Robinson and I came across a quote that I wanted to place once again with this photograph of the "Bust of an Artist in a Window", much as I had done with that blog post I linked to above. So, here it is:


Lately I have been watching ghosts - the ghost of the young Olivier playing a wistful and inward and elegant Hamlet, the ghost of the old Olivier playing a Lear mightily bemused by mortality. And, most movingly, I have seen the ghost of the lithe young prince in the eyes of the age-ruined king. How remarkable it is that we can summon these spirits, head to foot as they lived, perfect in every gesture and inflection. All our best art is the art of conjurers, calling up likenesses, inviting recognition, their praise and vindication being that they may have made something true to life. The actor playing an actor weeps for Hecuba. And we will weep for Hamlet, for everything we recognise in Hamlet. So slight a thing as a thought can assume weight and dimension through so slight a thing as a word. Great meaning can be contoured by a glance. This in the earthy atmosphere we all breathe, the here and now. It is elusive to us, like other great realities, like time and space and gravity. And it is the haunt of souls...

Marilynne Robinson
"Experience" in The Givenness of Things


Cameron MaynardComment