Ian Talbot: Retrospective – Stubborn Breasts : Words
Chapter X of the ongoing series Ian Talbot : Retrospective by British fine art photographer Ian Talbot.
© Ian Talbot
“A picture is worth a thousand words – but which thousand words?” ” Anonymous
The series entitled “Words” was based on a very simple premise; using a copy of “The Household Encyclopaedia”, which had belonged to my grandmother, I made several images of random pages focusing on specific words or phrases that caught my eye. The actual text is largely irrelevant, the book is no repository of ancient wisdom but contains mostly outdated, if quirky and sometimes even a little dangerous, information on all things related to “successful” household management in the1930s.
Irrelevant though the text may be, rendered even more so by the limited focusing on a word or two and the rapid falling off into illegibility of this focus, the words still exercise considerable “pull” or fascination. This, of course, is in the nature of all text. Our curiosity to read what is denied to us by the illegible is indeed strong. This may well be enhanced in this particular image. By focussing on the word “breasts” one can’t help but wonder “What about breasts? Am I missing some important information here?”. Trust me… you’re not.
Apart from the use of limited focus to draw the eye to certain elements or areas within the frame, these images were as much an exercise in seeing how many more or less pleasing compositional arrangements could be made out of seemingly such bland and unpromising content. A definite case of form over content. One could, I suppose, view the photographing of pages of text of such little importance as somewhat perverse and I may be guilty of some degree of self indulgence here.
Text & image © Ian Talbot
You can see the complete set at Ian Talbot’s website : Words
Next : Chapter XI – Style :Fingering The Edge