Thursday, August 6, 2009

they are taking pictures of taking pictures

Several days later Murray asked me about a tourist attraction known as the most photographed barn in America... Soon the signs started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site. There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot... We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers. Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book. "No one sees the barn," he said finally. A long silence followed.

"Once you've seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn... We're not here to capture an image, we're here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies." There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides.

"Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We've agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism." Another silence ensued."They are taking pictures of taking pictures," he said...

"What was the barn like before it was photographed?" he said. "What did it look like, how was it different from the other barns, how was it similar to other barns?"

"White Noise," Don DeLillo

[Damen Avenue above Rice Street]

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Chicago, Illinois, United States

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