WHAT IS AN AURAL METAPHOR?

The toy imperative is everywhere. When I was a professional photographer I had a safe full of cameras and lenses..Leicas, Nikons, Pentak 6x7, Technica, Widelux, but my most favorte camera, and the one I used on the weekend, which was exactly the opposite of the camera I used most often during the week (a motor drive Nikon) was a "Woody"; a wood body 4x5 view camera.

I often asked the question: Why does black and white photography dominate photography as an art, when it is the further from a picture of reality? Let me say that another, and very biased way..."Why does black and white photographs have such powerful expressive ability when they completely lack the color of reality?

Before I answer that question, because it has a direct bearing on the audio arts, let me tell you about "Zone" photography, which is a tuning process for those who love the expressive qualities of black and white and therefor use view cameras. This is a process of optimizing the control over tonal gradation in the photograph by tuning every finite element in a whole-isitic way. Every element from the specific lens, paper, developer, lens on the enlarger, film, are calibrated to maximize the subtley of tonal gradation within the very limited tonal range of black and white. Change any element of the entire system and the whole shabang has to be retuned. Sound familiar? That’s is the point: a truly expressive photographic system, like your audio system, is made up of elements are are totally interdependent.

THE POWER OF ART IS METAPHOR AND METAPHOR REQUIRES LIMITATION SO THAT IMAGINATION CAN EMERGE and DOMINATE

Photographers gawk at the masters of art and stand in front of black and white photographs and are moved. We are moved because we want to be moved, and to be moved we must fully engage our imagination. I have been to the locations where Ansel Adams took his famous "Aspen" photographs, and I don’t have to tell you about the beauty of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains, and how moving they are. But looking at his black and white photographs are in many ways more moving, and a completely different emotional and artistic experience, because the photographs open my imagination; they force me to give something to the photographs...to fill in what is missing. The black and white phots offer me the opportunity to merge with the art, because my imagination always has the urged to merge.

With a black and white photograph I can, as I must, create a completely different relationship to the subject.....I can study it, speculate on it, and I have often used the example of the lover caressing the body of his loved one....my imagination can slowly move back and forth across its body.

The black and white photograph also permits us to take the plunge into deeper meditation on the subject: the trees in Adam’s photographs are not trees but "treeness", and that is important.

YOUR HOME AURAL METAPHOR

The music in your home is not a live concert, it is not the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and it shouldn’t be because if it were it would deny you the possibility of a deeper form of artistic transcendence. The music your create in your home is your 4x5 black and white photograph: an extremely limited replication of the subject from reality, which therefore create unlimited imaginative possibilities not possible in the reality of the live musical event.

Like the photographer, you are, in your home, the co-creator, and because of that creative (non-passive) involvement, the very limited and imperfect music metaphor in your home, your relationship to the music is taken to the edge of its capability....which is your imagination.

Why is this an important subject for the new pilgrim on the path of musical ecstasy? Never seek "accuracy" because that is a plunge off the cliff of artistic expression into oblivion. Creating musical ecstasy in your home is a distinctly different art than the musical performance, or recording. A CD or a record is one millioneth of what happens in a live musical event. Accept its limitation and don’t try to turn a photograph into a mountain. Accept its limitation and use it to discover your musical imagination, which can only be found when you are expressing it.

 

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