Through The Picture Plane

In 2005, Martha Langford was the Artistic Director for the Mois de la Photo à Montréal, Canada. She also edited the book which accompanied the festival under the (bilingual) title Image & Imagination (published by McGill-Queens University Press).

She commissioned me to write one of the essays for the book, entitled “Through the Picture Plane: On Looking into Photographs”.

Langford described the essay in her introduction: ‘Building on analyses of how we read visual space and spatial depictions in art … Walker draws out the importance of lived experience and first contact with a photographic work of art. His vivid memories are brought freshly to the page, animated by a researcher’s distrust of simulacra and a traveller’s affection for the souvenirs of exhibitions seen. Perception, memory and imagination intertwine in this text as Walker ruminates, testing his mental images against photographic objects, putting the thoughts of other scholars to the same test. Addressing the differences between the pictorial spaces of painting and photography, Walker considers the physicality of images in relation to his own body, a complex pattern of alternation between objects and illusions.’

Unfortunately, permission to reprint “Through the Picture Plane: On Looking into Photographs” here has been refused by the publisher, but the essay is reproduced in part on Google books, though the middle two pages of the essay is missing. See: