Fresh look at seeing

I would like to focus your attention on a review for a new book by Mark Cousins on the act of seeing. While not exactly brimming with positivity, it does embrace the idea that thinking about the act of looking is worth the effort.

This reminded me of a couple of experiences from my past: reading cinematic analysis by Wim Wenders – especially (E)Motion Pictures – and also the commentary he provided to the exhibition of his Polaroid photos from the 1960s and ’70s which are currently available to view at the Photographers’ Gallery in London, UK.

Here is a film maker who embraced new viewing technology and understood the patience required to let it unveil and unravel itself before him.

The other reason I feel like responding to the Cousins book is that as a writer I find myself drawn into a complex relationship with my reader. I reveal moments for the reader to see (in their mind’s eye). Put another way, I force the reader to be a voyeur on either the world I create or, more accurately, on the fictional people they are staring at. The reader might have created the fiction in their heads, but they choose to stare at the violence, sex acts and assaults I put the characters through.

Perhaps it is the nature of crime to constitute the reader in this bizarre dynamic. While everyone may consent to this strange bag of tricks: it is still strange and places the notion of looking in a far from benign place.


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