They Use Our Mouths To Speak

         Photovism: activism through photography. When used with sarcasm, suggests a criticism of lack of action

            Ex. “photovism at its finest” (muttered as I stood near Kirkland holding my camera)

Orhan Pamuk’s novel almost seems frantic. He grasps for memories and denounces those he finds inadequate in his lone salvation of his home of Istanbul. While I love the imagery and composition of the novel, I feel as if he does not give enough credit to how the presence of the inanimate objects speaks.

 I really love these flowers. This is what I truly wanted to photograph (even though I already considered capturing the tents because they were so blatantly there). However, the “photovism” statement said a million words in one sentence. The artists that Vesna Pavlovic presented in her presentation would argue for the validity of “photovism”. The silence of their photos mixed with memory, implication, connotation and knowledge speak louder than words alone.

The idea of a photograph becoming part of what it captures also interests me. The muttered sentence itself shows how the act of taking a photograph has an immediate assumed purpose when it’s associated with certain things. The photo itself becomes a form of activism by capturing it.


 I’m not sure if the person was truly being sarcastic, but if so, the exchange between the photo and its subject inverts. A criticism that the photo is inactive suggests that the subject will become inactive. The inaction of this still activism is all of a sudden maximized. The message of the still objects distorts, and critics wonder if something is really being said, is something really going to be done, or is this just more publicity for whatever it is protesting?  In that way, there is also a risk in relying on objects to speak for its self, as others can manipulate or misread, or reject it altogether.  Pamuk finds this thought overwhelming.

In any case, now every time I see these flowers which I loved simply because of the way they leaned towards the sun, they’ll be associated with “photovism.”


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