Response to Equivalence: The Perennial Trend
After completing this reading, there are many remembered impressions that can be taken away, just as many impressions can be taken away from a remembered image in the idea of “equivalence” in photography, named by Alfred Stieglitz. In the reading it was stated “If the individual viewer realizes that for him what he sees in a picture corresponds to something within himself—that is, the photograph mirrors something in himself—then his experience is some degree of Equivalence.” The viewer can individually relate to the photograph because of what goes on in each viewer’s unique mind, so what the viewer remembers when thinking about that image has changed them in a way, or has brought up certain emotions and memories is what makes it equivalent. A photographer can show us a picture he has taken, he can be of something concrete, however what he means to do is provoke a feeling about something. The reading said “The significant difference here is that what he had a feeling about was not for the subject he photographed, but for something else. He may show us a picture of a cloud, the forms of which expressively correspond to his feelings about a certain person.” I personally have taken photographs just like this. If I am in a certain mood, or want to express an emotion I’ve experienced, showing it through an image is a metaphor for that feeling, which is my presentation of what I believe to be equivalent. This was the aspect of this “equivalence” idea that was highlighted in my mind after reading the essay.
For example the picture above I took in Lake Placid. I took this picture because it reminds me of the unique emotions and feelings I had when thinking about a significant person in my life. What some think is a landscape photograph, others like myself use it as a tool to convey emotion through capturing a frozen moment of time.
These frozen moments we call photographs all convey different impressions to each individual viewer, creating this equivalence, which is what I believe to be so unique and special to photography.