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What is the definition of “having an eye”? Personally, I believe having an eye is a question of having an understanding for what is happening, in a work of art and in the world.

The Year in Pictures

January 31, 2013


© Dominic Nahr, Untitled from Fracture: South Sudan’s Independence, 2012 (Courtesy O’Born Contemporary)

What is the definition of “having an eye”?  Personally, I believe having an eye is a question of having an understanding for what is happening, in a work of art and in the world.

When I attended a recent exhibition of photographs by Dominique Nahr, a Canadian photographer whom Gail and I had discovered several years ago, I stayed for his slide lecture documenting his experiences as a war photographer in Africa and elsewhere. During his slide show I noticed a powerful photograph that was not in the exhibition. It showed a dead Sudanese soldier fallen in the foreground, before the oil field technology that he was defending. My eye responded to the composition, but my awareness of what is happening in the world told me that this is an image that “tells the whole story” of what is going on in the world and in art at present.

When I mentioned it to the gallery manager, she said that the gallery had thought it was “too strong” for their gallery-going public. Dominique agreed with me that it was his strongest image and said that he had also wanted it to be included in the exhibition. Gail arrived the next day and agreed that it was the image we should acquire, so I asked the gallery to print it for us.

Recently the same image was selected by Time magazine as one of the ten most important photographs of 2012. It’s gratifying to find that other people who are much more intensely involved both in the realities of oil, war and politics, and in the photographic imagery that told the world’s stories in 2012, should have picked this same image.

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Barry Lord

About The Author

Barry Lord is the author of Art & Energy: How Culture Changes (The AAM Press, 2014) and Co-President of Lord Cultural Resources.

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