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The Details Hunter/2 Evocativeness of the Sign: an Exercise of Imagination

For this month’s review I chose an atypical sea picture; It wasn’t taken from the water, the author is not a yachting photographer and there is no action. Basically, the exact opposite of the one I proposed in the first episode!

The author is Luigi Ghirri (1943 – 1992 – here his archive), an authority in the Italian conceptual photography whose works inspired a generation of photographers worldwide. 

The analysed picture is part of a collection of 41 images named “Atlante”  created in 1973. Ghirri carries out an imaginary voyage capturing the details of a common atlas: in his project, the geographical symbols then lose their illustrative purpose becoming a proper landscape. The direct experience of the journey is annulled and what remains is the reinterpretation.

With the big word “Ocean” in full close-up, this picture offers the sign/ symbol’s experience, which is the mediation between given representation (the sign) and our private imagination: six simple letters have the same meaning for everyone in geography (they are a code) but in our minds they suggest unique images and memories. 

When you then look at this picture, go beyond what it represents: It is a chance to bring out your mental images of your real sea experiences. 

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