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Journal 12
June 15, 2011 - 9:45pm


One of the central problems of art--what to see and how to frame it--defined by three very different artists. Note that James, who works in the form requiring the most volume (prose), also expresses the greatest anxiety about the ability to capture something significant.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (The Decisive Moment): "[A photograph is] the simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms.”

Ezra Pound (“A Few Don'ts by an Imagiste”): "An 'Image' [in poetry] is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time. […] It is the presentation of such a 'complex' instantaneously which gives that sense of sudden liberation; that sense of freedom from time limits and space limits; that sense of sudden growth, which we experience in the presence of the greatest works of art."

Henry James (The American Scene): "It is the penalty of the state of receiving too many impressions of too many things that when the question arises of giving some account of these a small sharp anguish attends the act of selection and the necessity of omission. They have so hung together, have so almost equally contributed, for the fond critic, to the total image, the chapter of experience, whatever such may have been, that to detach and reject is like mutilation or falsification; the history of any given impression residing often largely in others that have led to it or accompanied it."


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