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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Strange Views, Not so Strange: Cities, Green, and the Rest

Posted by Bill Benzon on 02/10/12 at 01:29 PM


Whatever’s going on in this photograph, it seems to me, is entirely obvious. It’s not usual, of course, for the foreground to be out-of-focus, nor for the blurry foreground objects to all but obscure the in-focus background objects. In fact, you have to look a bit to see anything in the background at all. There’s more grass, it looks like some trees, and a building.

As for that building, I’m crippled in seeing it because I know what it is, and I also know that it’s the tallest building in New Jersey. Which is, of course, irrelevant. But, if you don’t know what building it is, what do you make of it? Do you even know it’s a building? I mean, it could be some concrete marker post, couldn’t it?

And why take such a photo? Such a non-image, which is, upon reasonable inspection, obvious, is it not? We take many photographs so that we can remember something, whatever it is in the photo. This photo can hardly be about rememberance, can it?


This photo, too, the foreground is blurred. But not so dense. The in-focus background is clearly visible. There’s that one tree in the middle, echoing the grasses in front, and they echoing it. Those echos, and the space in between, I suppose that’s what’s happening here.

And this, this next photo is sweetly obvious. There’s a city in the distance, actually, two cities, separated by a river you can’t see. There’s a field, a salt marsh actually, of grasses of some sort. And that patch of green in the middle. The green, the cities, and the rest.



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