It began with a dozen very local oysters (Ice House Cove, thanks to Toni and John who presided over their growing). The very local trick for opening them is to put them in the oven for a few minutes, just until the shells open. Absolutely delicious. A byproduct is some of the salty oyster liquor leaking into the pan and crystallizing with the residual heat. Instant abstract, sort of galactic in flavor:
Of course I couldn’t let that be the final act…
And there were a couple of other captures from the same pan:
I like me a good enigma, and I’ve used that word in all sorts of connections over the years, but never thought to inquire into its etymology and various senses. Dictionaries seem to agree that the Greek ainos, ‘fable’, is the original progenitor, but others cited are Greek ainisessthai, ‘to speak allusively’, and Latin aenigma, ‘riddle’. The modern senses favor
- hard to explain
- hidden meaning or known thing concealed under obscure words or forms
- dark saying
- baffles understanding
Looking over my own past uses, I seem often to invoke enigma in describing something non-obvious that interests me or piques curiosity or captures my attention. An artful story is what’s required to dispel murk (or mirk). See Narrativium for the how and why.
Most dictionary senses seem to favor the textual enigma, but I’m especially drawn to visual instances, in which there’s something unresolved
or flat-out puzzling
or ambiguous and suggestive of multiple possible readings
or just plain weird
Edward Gorey on writing:
…the way I write, since I do leave out most of the connections, and very little is pinned down, I feel that I am doing a minimum of damage to other possibilities that might arise in a reader’s mind. (New Yorker Dec 12 2018)
Photographers who traffic in enigma and abstractions of various kinds, and/or explore Buddhist and Taoist notions of the contemplative owe a lot to Minor White. Herewith some of my thoughts from more than a year ago: Major Minor.
Digital processing is really a marvel, especially in the ease with which one can tweak an image to express different flavors, moods, attitudes. The danger is that it’s easy to take the tweakage too far, but that’s really subjective. Here’s one from yesterday in which various changes are rung (as Bill Skinner was wont to say). It’s worthwhile to contemplate why one might prefer one or another version.
the unedited original:
cropped and adjusted, subjectively pleasing:
monochrome, with green filter:
using Lightroom’s “Infrared” preset:
using Lightroom’s “aged photo” preset:
Of course I
see a creature, probably a large-mouthed fishy person (a staring eye in the upper center)