Gislene Casseis, Bois Jolie, Haiti. May, 2014

Gislene Casseis, Zanmi Kafe farmer, Bois Jolie, Haiti. May, 2014

“In every act of looking there is an expectation of meaning. This expectation should be distinguished from a desire for an explanation. The one who looks may explain afterward; but, prior to any explanation, there is the expectation of what appearances themselves may be about to reveal.”

John Berger, Understanding a Photograph, essay called ‘The Enigma of Appearances’, p73 (ed. Geoff Dyer, Aperture, 2012)

[PS – visit this page on the Aperture web site, and be sure to take a look at the video of a panel discussion about this publication. Especially around the 5minute mark… where Berger’s humility is noted, and the quote from his book, A Painter of Our Times : “we can learn only from the success our equals”. I cannot express adequately how much I am learning from the families in Bois Jolie, from the students at CFFL, from students at Sewanee. Too much distracts and detracts from the immediacy of response and full attention that this kind of learning requires. And at the heart of this distraction is explanation. Extrapolate this, and we arrive at a critique of the educational institution.]