Ian Talbot: Retrospective – Feelings :: Figuring Jasper

Chapter XV of the ongoing series Ian Talbot : Retrospective by British fine art photographer Ian Talbot.

Feelings :: Figuring Jasper

© Ian Talbot

“Seeing a thing can sometimes trigger the mind to make another thing.” Jasper Johns

    In the course of working through my project “Figuring Jasper” I moved from a quite literal representation of the work of Jasper Johns to more loose interpretations. This was deliberate… a means of getting from a feel for the surface visual sensations of his work to meaning and then onto what the work could mean to me when filtered through my own sensibilities and concerns. The image here is one of the earliest and is, unashamedly, almost totally lifted from one of Johns’s own works, a graphite pencil and graphite wash on plastic illustration for “In Memory of My Feelings” by the poet, Frank O’Hara. How closely lifted you can readily see from the actual piece included here.

    I can claim no invention here but the exercise was useful in getting a handle on which of Johns’s considerable oeuvre most appealed to me and why. The attraction of this work for me resides almost totally, and totally visually, in what is for me the “punctum”, as Barthes would term it, of the image i.e. the curious (for me) positioning of the spoon in relation to the knife. I say curious because I would naturally always align the bottom of the spoon with that of the knife. Oh well, of such details are “puncta” made.

    There is not much more to be said about the image, what you see is basically all. For me a starting point on a journey that, one way or another, I can see no end to. Thoughts of Johns are never far from my mind these days. It colours, one way or another, almost everything I do…

    Incidentally, for those not perhaps familiar with Barthes’ writings, a “punctum” is (if you will forgive the vast oversimplification) the “point” in an image that most engages one’s attention. “Catches the eye” if you like. It need not be the most obvious nor even apparent to most other viewers.

    Ian Talbot

    Text & image © Ian Talbot

Next : Chapter XVI – Sciagraph 04 :: Sciagraphs

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