The Eye’s Mind

In these images of books, I am exploring the relationship between visual and verbal thinking. 'What does this picture mean?' is a question I am asked over and over. Trying to explain what a picture means is much harder than paraphrasing a poem and both endeavors usually yield only clumsy bits of information.


Words and pictures gain authority as soon as they enter books, tablets, and pages. We live in a culture of words.  If I am waiting in an unfamiliar room, my eyes dart around for something to read.  If there's a cereal box on the table I start reading. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century some books contained illustrations but many of the pictures were masterpieces of verbal misinformation; their creators had only words about the subjects, verbal information handed down for generations that yielded monsters and fabled lands.  Other illustrators observed their subjects, vision informed the 



Most of my books, tablets, and pages have more pictures than words.  A few are tribal books that have left their culture because no one can read them anymore; they are visual now.  One of the books that I photographed several times is an internet book that I made so that I could photograph it.


There are two pictures of a schoolbook that belonged to a boy named Sam.  He was trying to write but he could not resist bursting into pictures.


Olivia Parker ©2008

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