© 2003 Tatiana Palnitska. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the photographer
I have no idea what this is. I have no idea what this means. I have no idea what Palnitska would like us to see. I don't care, I simply find it irresistible to explore images like this. Abstracts do not appeal to everyone, so this may or may not be your cup of tea. But if you do enjoy abstracts, I can tell you that the world becomes a much more interesting and entertaining place. That alone might be reason to cultivate an appreciation for them.
When I talk with people who don't connect with abstract photography (or art), I find their complaint often boils down to either the lack of meaning or the issue of relevance. What does it say? Why should I care? Powerfully emasculating questions, true, but I'm not sure they help much.
Few people would complain that, say, clouds are aesthetically boring. But, what does a cloud say? Nothing. It just floats along while we look at it and enjoy it's playful shape, reflective qualities, movement, or even project on it our human emotions. Similarly, a photograph of some distant mountain may appeal to our aesthetic senses, but what does it have to do with our life? Mountains don't intend to make aesthetic statements but we project onto them our aesthetic enjoyment anyway.
I tend to think that better questions are not What does it say? but rather What do you see? And, not Why should I care? but rather What do you think/feel?
Abstracts require a bit more from us as viewers, not the least of which is to allow ourselves to become engaged with them. They do so because they are less about the world and more about ourselves. They imply questions we must ask that are absent from mere declarative images. So, what do you see? What does this image of Palnitska's make you think/feel? These are far more important that what it is or why she photographed it.
Tatiana Palnitska is featured in this LensWork Alumni Spotlight.