We Like It Like This
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We Like It Like This • Posted: Sep 21, 2019 10:04:33Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

Consider the adage “The Truth will come to Light”. It implies truth is hidden, ostensibly in shadow, and that light unveils truth, a kind of desperate character mostly seeking to avoid notice. With so many people these days burying their heads in the sand, putting on aires, fabricating and obfuscating, proclaiming belief beyond fact, and automatically assuming, one begins to wonder, this one does anyway, if maybe humans are evolutionarily ill-suited to living within anything other than a comforting fantasy of belief, that truth is actually biologically incompatible with the human psyche.

Sure, some of us crave the truth, actively and curiously poke around and prod shadows in search of underlying truth. But, most of us seek to live within a routine flow of sensual input that complements a set of expectations we have for how we want our lives to unfold. Slap us in the face with something contrary and we rage, step back, and maybe pull out our guns. Case in point, the Texas police officer just convicted of murder for entering the wrong apartment thinking it was her own, encountering the rightful inhabitant of that wrong apartment, and shooting him dead as an intruder on her own private space. Fear, maybe. But most certainly rage took hold. There was absolutely no consideration or investigation of truth hiding in shadow, and an innocent man eating ice cream in his own home was gunned down dead.

Something similar is happening in Hong Kong and in Chinese Uyghur provinces. A mainland Chinese government hell-bent on maintaining a set of idealized expectations for the behavior and thinking of its citizens has begun yet another brutal campaign to cleanse dissent from the ranks of its citizenry. Dissenting citizens are being “disappeared”, by the thousands. The intent is that a compliant citizenry should cause no disruption of grand plans to “elevate the living standard of all its citizens”. No contrary set of values, plans, or sets of belief are to be tolerated. Truth is what the Chinese government wants its citizens to believe, what it brings to light via its own government controlled media outlets. Curiosity and alternative ideas have no forum for discussion except within shadows. And, government surveillance of those shadows is becoming ever more ubiquitous. PBS reported this week that human government minders have even been installed within many Uyghur homes as “part of the family”. Imagine a government surveillance figure in your home. Would that add to your sense of comfort and security, or stir your sense of outrage?

Within the US, Trump and his supporters eagerly pile on fantasies and dissemblances that seek to further shadow any actual truth, and in the process accuse any who don’t buy into their dissemblances of propagating dissemblances of their own. Dizzying, to say the least.

Within a photograph, truth is not always hiding within shadows. Nor, is it universally revealed starkly within light. Within a photograph, truth may reveal itself within the interplay of shadows and light, within the interrelationship of elements depicted in an image, and within the relationship between photographer and his or her subject of interest. And, all that is wholly dependent upon the intellectual and emotional curiosity of a photograph’s viewers. The main question to be asked by anyone seeking truth from a photograph is: Is the image a dissemblance of reality in furtherance of some idealized fantasy of ideas and values? Or, is it a straightforward glimpse of what unadulterated reality actually looks like?

Surely, it can be recognized that useful and inspiring truth will only come to light if coaxed into realization and understanding by unprejudiced questioning minds. Unquestioning acceptance of fabrications and self-serving dissemblance will never offer anything close to the inspiring opportunities actual truth does.

May your truth seeking questions never falter, be squelched, or come to an end.

Saturday, September 1st, 2018
Venice Beach