This fall, ‘Seeing Absence’ will be inaugurated with a post that is not on seeing absence.

The man in the photograph is about to enter his house, and as you may guess, he is looking for his house keys. But looking is a wrong word. His eyes have nothing to do with what he currently perceives. The absence of keys is perceived not by sight but by touch. Compare this image with Henry Grant’s photograph in the previous post. In Grant’s photograph, we, the viewers, see the absence which the children are not seeing – of images on TV. In the current image, the situation is reverse: we do not perceive the absence which the man in the photograph is perceiving. He feels no keys in his pockets, but we have no corresponding sensation of absence. We only glean the fact of absence from certain cues. But the two images are importantly similar. Grant’s image strips the act of watching from its objects (faces, TV images) in order to reveal watching in itself. This photograph does the same for searching. We don’t know who the man is, and even his hands are not shown – all we know that he is feeling an absence. We can see people hear sounds. We can also see people touch absences.

Man Looking For House Keys; Kunming, China. By TravelPod Member Marjorieandpaul.

Pocketed Absence

  • September 16th, 2012
  • Posted in Absence

2 Responses to “Pocketed Absence”