Masato Hase
Ciba Univ.

#3 Visual sense and the sense of touch

Loren Balt's 'Bright Room' (Hana Karinko translation, Misuzu Publishing), compared to his first photographic essay, this time's intentions become clear. Why did Balt write a book on a disection of a panzani (pasta) ad? Actually I bought 2 books that wre published 1 from Asahi and the other from Misuzu but I can't seem to put my hands on it right now, it seems that I must have lent it to someone and they haven't given it back. This makes me so irritated, but I can't do a lot about it. So I will talk off the top of my head. I'm sorry if I'm a little incorrect.
The first Balt was talking about looking at a photo and how the artificial messages subconsiously communicate to the viewer I believe. The ad photo of the famous panzani pasta was of a half empty shopping basket and pasta and tomatoes and vegetables spilling out on to the table. Balt explained the hidden message in this photo. For eg, we assume that with fresh pasta and fresh vegetables, pasta will be made but we are made to believe that the fresh pasta is actually an illusion. Also the colour structure of the picture (green, red, white) arouses the mythodological french image of Italy. Looking at this delicious looking image, it beomes clear that the cameraman has carefully calculated it. However, the actuality of the photograph and the concealment of the artificialness shows how Balt has made more out of a shopping basket with pasta as a subject placed in front of him.
The photograph has a world which the cameraman must artificially structure. So by natural environment, they can conceal this. It is a fact that the photo's naturalism can be concealed by artificiality, as in the way that Balt did when he put a shopping basket and camera in front of him and compared this with the actual photo. By this the real environment of the photo is concealed. This means the photo is essentially an ideological thing.
His strength in photos is fundamentally changing content. The photo is not actually that thing. Comparing the different ideas of socialogists and logisists commenting on the relativity on the customary cutting off of the truth (pg 108), photos are what they say..(or what Balt has shown us in his diognosis of the ad picture) is not a world where artificiality is packaged into naturalism but, photos are actually natural. (I emphasise that Balt said he was never a logisist, but this would have to be a small lie) So saying that photos are natural, what does this mean?? For example, Balt says this.. (pg 99) photos originated from the effects of the literary field. So from the actual subject a sense has disappered and this made me take notice.
In front of the camera, pasta, a shopping cart and fresh tomatoes were placed. And from these things the camera had fixed on the light thrown from these things. This was the only logical thing about it. At the time, I am sure the reality of the tomatoes and pasta in front of the camera could not be hidden.
We can summarize. The true character of the photo can be summarized into a 'just because it was there' thesis. Photos, not like movies or novels made in the artificial world, show the actual past. Like I explained before, the truth which one can only think of as wild joy, at the same time Balt has noticed the reality of things being a natural fact.
But of course, on this earth when I'm looking at the panzani ad photo, I think of Italy and it's freshness. This is the truth and photos don't tell lies regarding the reality, but sometimes lies are told regarding the meaning (pg 106-7). For eg, looking at the last photo, we not only feel that the tomato is there because it is, but one wants to comment on the meaning of the fresh looking tomato.
The main thing we get out of the photo are these two types of things. We can call them 'sense of vision' and 'sense of touch'. At the same time we think that the tomato is there, we feel actual contact from the photo and we associate it with the colouration of the tomato, the shape and the sociological meaning - by the visual aspect. Photos are not a revealing visual media, but they have become a media that reaches out and touches you (pg 100)
The actual photo surface which was directly touched by the direct emission (the sunrays) and I think it attracted my line of vision to it, so I was extremely happy. The photo uses the light as a medium and something seems to reach out to us. 'Reaches out' but we don't 'see'it. Hypothesising the visual media of a movie as a close representation of a photo is a misunderstanding. We can say that something that is close to a photograph is for eg. is something like 'traces of god's existence'. There is holy words that say it has become a taboo because believers have touched it. So we believe in the photo (it's only a photo), idolize it, pray in front of it, and if we burn it, the people who before the war were strong Emporor believers would go to the point of comitting suicide!, so it's not so easy to smugly laugh it off! It's not just a case of holy believing, there is the case of the sense of touch of the photo when looking at this holy thing and the mythological feeling they feel when they are touched by the light above can not be said to be a superstition. They directly experienced the photo's 'sense of touch'.