This project is based upon a quote by Ludwig Wittgenstein: “What can be shown, cannot be said” (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus).
In this project I wish to challenge the idea that photography is a language and want to ask the viewer:
“What is there that can be shown but cannot be said?”
What we see, when we look at something, is a reflection of our cultural knowledge, learnings, language, and life experiences. It is from this singular view that we interpret what we see. This is what I call the “logical picture”.
For example: if you see a picture of an apple, you identify this as an “apple” within the “actual image”. Anything that you are able to identify within the image I call a “logical picture”.
Starting from there I propose that there are two types of images:
• Actual Images
• Possible Images
The “actual image” is the image as an object which contains the “logical pictures”. By this I refer to the physical reality of an image: frame, book, canvas, screen, etc.
Within the above-mentioned connotations lies the question of whether we can step outside the limits of the thought to reach the “possible images”.
The “possible images” are those images that go beyond the “actual image”. “Possible images” contain surreal elements, poetry and emotions that cannot be properly identified or explained through language or rationality. This is why I believe a skepticism about the motif within the frame of the image is a prerequisite and is necessary when we view an image. Poetry has to be pragmatic to be relevant.
There is an isomorphic tension between the photograph and the actual object it reflects, within this tension for me lies photography’s strength.
With the photographs presented in this series, I aim that they can be seen as a visual mental ladder for the viewer to bridge the gap between the “actual” and the “possible” image.
Carl-Mikael Ström was born 1986, in Sweden. He lives and works in France.
He studied photography at Fatamorgana in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 2013-2014. He was an assistant to the Swedish photographer JH Engström between 2014-2018.
Ström works within photography, writing and film. He moves between the different mediums, using time as his essential tool to let the frame of the project become visible. Intrigued by what cannot be explained through language within images his work revolves around the question: ”what is there that can be shown but cannot be said?”
He believes that an image has endless forms and that time passing inevitably shows, even in an image. Convinced that there is always more behind what you intend to say, he tries to accept the restraints and lies of creations.