Assumptions vs. Reality

Matalon’s photo at the “Banks of the Nile” stressed the distinction between assumption and reality.  “This photograph occupied me for several days, not because of what was in it but because of what was not: a real sense of place or time” (126).  This aspect of missing a real sense of place or time is evident throughout Matalon’s novel, noted by the inconsistency of time and place and the confusing manner of the novel.

Staring at this photograph, all I can see is obscurity. The obscurity of the colors. The effects of the filter. The use of my iPhone to capture this image.

The punctum for me is the altar, rather than my two friends, the tourists viewing the cathedral. Light reflects from the altar and the golden undertones capture the attention of the viewer. This photo is from a trip that my friends and I took to Montreal. Though I know the general location of the cathedral, the name and exact location remains unknown. The obscurity between time and place is generally evident throughout tourism photography.  The intention of mine, as the photographer, was to capture the ambience of the cathedral. However, now this cathedral has been lost in space as an entity without a distinct time or place.

Examining this picture had me further considering the tension between assumption and reality. In the novel, as a reader I assumed that all of which Matalon explained through her photographs was necessary to the understanding of the plot. However, just as her photographs were obscured by their intentions and meanings, IPhone applications, such as Instagram (used above), sufficiently obscure the line between assumption and reality as well. The use of such applications changes the perspective of all viewing these photographs, as what appears is actually not what was seen in real life. This has me questioning the definition of a photograph and whether or not photographs taken by these means can be considered valid representations of reality.


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