image preview

Creation Date





Unsealed - Digital photography print 2009

Mehmet Adil
Regarding the printed image as medium of expression, I am exploring relations between pictorial appearance and images – when, how, under what conditions, and for whom, a picture might become an image.

Here I find resonance in W.J.T. Mitchell’s discussion of the terms picture and image in his book What Do Pictures Want? (1) In this context, Mitchell uses the word picture to cover all kinds of understandings associated with the word image taken together with the process of understanding itself; in short, the entire situation in which an image has made its appearance. This is an eminently active process, hence the verbs ‘to picture’, ‘to get the picture’, ‘to be in/out of the picture’. Image is “…any likeness, figure, motif, or form that appears in any medium [of material or virtual activity]” including “…mental imaginary entities, a psychological imago, the visual content of dreams, memories and perception…” and so on. Image is also a term to express likeness, similitude, resemblance and analogy, plus, importantly in this context, it may be simply the name for a product of photographic and printing technologies. In this conception, pictures are “ways of worldmaking” not just world mirroring (2) and images are participant in this activity.

That is to say, without a ‘picture’ there might be no image-s. At the same time we are reminded that: “While pictures can be destroyed [be it through natural disaster, iconoclastic action, carelessness, etc], images can continue to live on, haunting, tempting, and perhaps frightening or inspiring us.” (3)

Relations between pictures and images are both concrete and abstract. The proliferation of reproductive technologies has accentuated this process. As in my print ‘Unsealed’, where in responding to the contingencies of everyday living the real chases its own image (so to speak), and the image chases its own reality.

(1) W.J.T. Mitchell, What Do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005, pp. xiii - xvii
(2) ibid, p. xv
(3) Heather Collette-Van Deraa & Douglas Kellner, Review: What do Pictures Want? in International Journal of Communication 1 (2007), Book Review 162-169; available at The insert in brackets is my elaboration.


Copyright Mehmet Adil.


Image Location