16 January 2018




Between June 27 and December 17, 2017, the Metropolitan Museum in New York City put on an exhibit: Talking Pictures: Camera-Phone Conversation Between Artists. Artists held photo or video conversations without text or captions. Check out videos of some of the conversations here.

In the spirit of this exhibit, Jessica Svenningson - a fellow Musings Contributing Editor, and writer of the Sew What column - and I, held a photo conversation from January 8th to 14th (some of you might recognize that as the first week back at school ;)). Here are the results of our photo conversation. On the right are photos by me (Katlyn Wooder) and on the left are the photos by Jessica Svenningson.



The photo conversation was fun but unusual. While in my texting, photos are becoming more common. Conversing through a set of photos without text is a new way of thinking. The total absence of traditional language ensures a level of uncertainty. I knew what stood out me was not necessarily why Jessica took the photo, but I responded to what stood out to me; be it a grid pattern, detail or lighting. (Side note: Jessica is scarily good at composition).

As unusual as conversing in images was, it is a liberating experience to not be reliant on the usual linguistic boundaries. When you're talking with words a similar level of uncertainty is present, the difference is the awareness of an assumption. The assumption is that when you are talking in every day conversation, you tend to be unaware that other people may interpret your word choice differently than you do. So you could be having two different conversations, and be unaware of it.

Jessica and I are both museum studies students in Toronto, and our conversation held moments of intentional or unintentional familiarity. I knew the last picture of the conversation was a picture of part of the Christian Dior Exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum as soon as I received it because I went to see the Dior exhibit in December. (It's a good show, you should go see it!) I would love to see what type of conversation two people could have, who live in different cultures, different geographic location, and who don’t speak the same language.

It's been fun.
Please leave a comment (maybe a photo comment, if you feel so inclined).

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