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Loose Borders: Between the Real and the Uncertain
by Dr. Emine Koseoglu
2009-07-03 08:48:57
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Let's start everything with two assumptions:

1. It is a requirement for us to look at the objects with full attention and for long periods of time so as to construct a whole and detailed picture of the world.

Only in this way can we depict objects in accordance with their objective reality.

2. Perception of objects in a real environment by means of our senses may render possible the conception of objective reality. However, it becomes complicated in terms of the world of images. It can be said that bright, sharp, clear and complete photos, for example, demonstrate objective reality.

The objects around us actually exist even if we do not exist. But we, as human, generally consider objects by relating them with ourselves. We become subjects immediately. Actors and actresses... The world and the objects serve us. It does not matter whether we relate them directly or not, they are there as those that complete and detail the scene in which we live.  

But the objects around us exist even if we do not exist. They have their own realities and existential features. If we achieve to keep ourselves outside of the situation, it may become easier to accept the fact of “objective reality”.

What if we accepted the presence of objective reality? Is it possible for us as subjects to know any objective reality?


It is obvious that there are millions of objects in the world and that we come across with them every minute. However we do not recognize most of them. We realize something if we have a mandatory or justified relationship with it. But yet, we do not see its physical features profoundly if we do not constitute a conscious awareness.


Life is about flow and happenings. We conceive and live the environment and life in continuity, not in moments or scenes. Each movement forms a happening. And each happening actualize in a process.

Because of this continuity and dynamism, describing or knowing objects according to their objective realities becomes almost impossible.

“Moments” and Produced Images

We can not attribute the concept of continuity to the images we produce. Produced images isolate a moment among a flow of integrated moments. Isolation of a moment is something that we can not meet in life. The productions like paintings or photos contain concrete and at the same time imprisoned reflections of the moments.

On the other hand, those frozen, fixed and terminated images facilitate us to experience objects with their fixed states in long periods of time maintaining the same relationship. We watch them, look at them and each time we save different details to our minds. 

Yet images are elusory. First, interrupting something continuous contains a secret artificiality and reduction (Erguven, 2007). Second, images are productions of human; they emerge from the relationship of subject and object. They just mediate to reality.

Jean Genet: Paintings Are Known To Have Two Functions; Demonstration and Concealing
A photo or painting, in fact, is a process that is reduced to a final product. A photo/painting is for one moment because it just describes a moment. But it is also eternal as it becomes stable and concrete.

Realistic photos claim to present the real as it is with their sharp contours, holistic compositions and bright colors. Those images are not open to the interpretations, impressions regarding the producer’s aim and existential features of these images. However as debated above, this kind of images, lets say realistic images, can never be said to reflect the reality as they are also human-made objects.

On the other hand, there are some concepts that can be considered to make a photo incomprehensible or inversely considered to give a photo the ability of building the reality again and again: blurry, grainy, obscure, ambiguous, out of focus, bokeh, dark, nocturnal, muddy, hidden… 
Crowd (Photo: Emine Koseoglu)

Wet (Photo: Emine Koseoglu)

On the edge (Photo: Emine Koseoglu)

For example, blurry photos make the image unintelligible in negative way, but make it open to impressions in positive way as the blurry effect eliminates the borders of the objects and the composition.

People without faces (Photo: Emine Koseoglu)

Never-ending path (Photo: Emine Koseoglu)

Tired (Photo: Emine Koseoglu)

In addition, we see that the concept of aesthetics is handled in a different way in the photos that have impressionist traces. Although to be aesthetic is a must in traditional discourse, to describe or reflect the dirty aspects of the world means abundance for an impressionist.

To the unknown country (Photo: Emine Koseoglu)

Furthermore, sometimes the artist omits, hides or inverts some elements in the composition. Completing the missing features is left to the watcher.  

Trembling (Photo: Emine Koseoglu)

For Conclusion

If the produced images do not / can not reflect the reality; can only mediate to perceptual realities; then why not we make them open to impressions, connotations, interpretations or inferences?

Maybe, just because of this reason, a photo (or an image) should be produced to feel it, not to observe or analyze it. The viewers should be able to construct their own realities for millions of time. Again, just because of this reason, obscure, loose bordered, incomplete, blurry images that allow to impressions, interpretations and building of reality again and again would be more real.


Erguven, M. (2007), Sirdas Goruntuler, Agora Kitapligi, Istanbul.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-07-03 12:14:36
Most of us reject Plato’s advise to exclude the artist and the poet from the polis and yet we remain fascinated by his myth of the cave. What Plato was superbly illustrating with that myth is the fact that art is representation and as such will never yield the full reality or essence of what it represents as metaphysics is capable of doing; moreover, if art is produced in a cave where people delude themselves that their shadow projected by the fire on the wall is their essence, then artistic representation is twice removed from reality; all the more why the poet has to be banned. Indeed, the myth of the cave is a powerful myth and continues to fascinate us, within the context of rationality it is even plausible, until one considers what is perhaps the most important aspects of art: self knowledge. In as much as it is made by man, it inevitably leads to self-knowledge, to deepen the understanding of what does it mean to be human. Yes, the danger of narcissism is ever lurking, but on the other hand, without the mirror of art none of us would ever see our own faces.

Emine Koseoglu2009-07-05 13:41:17
I totally agree. Art is certainly an insight and a way of knowing / meeting ourselves, which is one of the most challenging adventures in life.

swann2010-05-02 15:32:20
perfect match between words and photos!

Emine Koseoglu2010-06-07 18:07:26
Thanks !

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