31 May, 2020

[Doc Diaries] Echoes in Subtext

Speech is power.

When I was writing my post about the gleaming architecture in Singapore, I felt something that I couldn't quite put into words. As I sit here writing this now, with the sound of police helicopters overhead, and amidst the turmoil resulting from a murder that didn't need to happen, I think I've found some of the words.

I am a documentary photographer. My calling is to witness and document people. And when I document objects, places, works of art, or whatever else, my goal is always to relate those things to the people. To see them, but also to see their inevitable, undeniable connections to humanity. It was written and has often been repeated that "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all\ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know" ("Ode on a Grecian Urn", John Keats).

I disagree. Or, at least, I think that is incomplete. That sense of incompleteness is what bothered me as I wrote about Singapore before, and it's what I finally realized as I start to write about Melbourne (and Footscray, a suburb) now.