Through a Jungian Lens

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The Unvarnished Truth

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I continually am amazed at what is captured by the camera lens.  Sometimes, okay make that often, the image captured isn’t even seen.  The camera lens appears to capture more than the image seen by my eyes.  It makes me think that I walk around with blinders on and filters that limit what is seen.

Yesterday while on a tour of a local Chinese village with one of my colleagues who comes from the village, I managed to take quite a few photos in the central park, an old Ming/Qing aristocrat’s home and of artisans and their work using traditional Chinese materials and methods.  This is a detail from one of the inner courtyard doors that led to a sitting room.  The wood was old, original from the period.  I would think that the painting on the door was retouched as I can’t imagine it being able to survive sun and pollution for such a long period of time.  Regardless, I had to get in close in order to capture the faint images which was barely discernible.

I took the original photo and tried to peer deeper into it using editing software.  I was interested in finding out what the camera had captured.  This is the result.  Is this a false image?  I would have to say that it isn’t what my eyes saw.  However, it is legitimate and authentic in terms of content.  Colour?  It is hard to say.

What I can say is that there is so much we don’t see, especially about ourselves and others, stuff that is there, stuff that is authentic.  I know that I am blind to certain aspects of myself that others can see.  I know that others are blind to certain aspects of myself that I am aware of, things that I am puzzled about because I don’t attempt to hide these aspects of myself from others.  And, there is a universe of shadow stuff that neither myself or others note.  I can claim to know who is the authentic “me.”  Others can also claim to know the authentic “Robert.”  Both would be right, but neither have the full picture.

The pictures seem to contradict each other creating a conflict, a tension.  Which is real?  This is a tension we face everyday as we search for the truth about ourselves, about others, and about the world around us.


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  1. Really like the contrast of these two photographs. Asthetically, I prefer the second, but I know how it is to know what is “real” and love it for it’s own sake, regardless of how weathered it may be. We are studying weathering much these days in Geomorphology. The constant abrasion of rocks creates new particles in some instances and definitely changes the scape, sometimes gently, often ruggedly.

    I find myself reflecting on weathering the storm, and valuing what one has decided is worthwhile— how it will never look as it did new from the package of birth, but how age has a beauty all its own- whether it be the age of a marriage or a spouse or a home or a life.

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