The Barn in your Dreams

As many of you know, I have this theory about the way memories are stored, and I suppose I will go off on a little philosophical tangent here. So, in meta-thinking about my brain, the way memory works is nothing like the way photos are stored in your directory on your computer. Since all of us use computers (obviously), and we organize photos into hierarchical directory structures, we tend to assume our memory in our brain kinda works the same way.

I think many of us, especially those of you that are regular and semi-regular visitors, have a mild form of synesthesia, where sensations get cross wired. In extreme cases, people can “taste” shapes, associate colors with days of the week, and that sort of thing. They get by fine, so it shows the brain is perfectly capable of such multi-functional wiring. After talking to many many groups and presenting my kind of art to countless people, I think that about 70-80% of us are comfortable with how these images are presented because their brains store memories like mine. The other 20-30% of people, I notice, reject them outright because it is simply not the way their brain works.

Take for instance this barn. When we think of a barn in our heads, it’s not just a series of shapes and textures… it’s every barn we’ve ever seen – it’s every weather condition we’ve seen the barn encountering – it’s every feeling and emotion we were encountering at the time – it’s imagining living in and around the barn – and it’s also empathizing with the barn itself, imagining what it must be like to be a barn. So most of this is on the subconscious level, and it’s why a boring, plain, predictable photo of a barn, while nice, does not really ever evoke anything deep in the viewer. Once you flip a few bits and allow the brain to make mistakes in interpreting an image, it allows some personal emotional context to come into play, letting the photo become more about the “viewer” and not about the photo itself.

Ahhh that was a long blog post I see… sorry about that… everyone in the house is asleep and I get lost in my thoughts.

The barn in your dreams (by Stuck in Customs)

  • Fun post and a really neat shot. I love the scene, and I really like your work being an HDR fanatic myself.

    I confess though that while the comp and elements of the scene are great, that texture or overlay you added does not work for me. It just distracts my eye and takes away from the rest of the beauty it seems.

    Maybe it’s just my brain πŸ˜‰

    Gavin Seim

  • Chris

    I have to agree with Gavin. I think the texture or overlay definitely took away from the photo as my eye was distracted and was looking for the real representation of the photo which was the overall beauty of the barn and the surroundings.

    I love your photos and can’t wait to see what you have in store in the future. In addition, looking forward to the new tutorial for 2009.


  • Deb

    I think the picture is beautiful and anything you have added only made it more so. Thank you and I hope you had a wonderful Holiday!

  • Birgit

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the barn-pic. I personally would love to read more of your thoughts – so I don’t mind and they are not too long! It was very interesting what you shared and I totally agree with you. Everybody can take a nice picture of a barn – well exposed and even with a good composition. But what makes a picture interesting is the interpretation of it! It’s the same with any piece of art – writing, painting, sculptering. If it is not reflecting from the inside, there will no deep meaning to it. And that is what art is all about!

  • You have at least one reader nailed. Since before I can remember my brain has assigned a gender to colors, letters and numbers. I’ve never had to ‘decide’ or ‘figure it out’. As early as 2 or 3 years old, I just knew that ‘J’ is a boy letter and ‘S’ is a girl letter. I can still break down the whole alphabet exactly as I did back then! πŸ™‚

  • Thanks! I appreciate your frank feedback Gavin and Chris…

    I have multiple versions of this barn coming. Some have textures and some do not.. so there is something for everyone a-comin! πŸ™‚

  • This could turn in to quite an interesting coffe-house conversation! One thing is certain: We are perfectly and wonderfully made!

  • Heather

    Please, please do more “long” posts- and keep those wonderful photos coming! The texturing in this was interesting- not sure if I like it or not- but your post was equally fascinating. I, too, have “odd” cross-associations with color, numbers, and sound (I have always “seen” music, particularly orchestral and electronic music, in color), but had never thought of the “non-seeing” folks as being in the minority- maybe you just run into fewer of them, because of your work…? I learned, a long time ago, not to mention it to most people, because it tends to get you some funny looks. Guess that must say something about the people I interact with most of the time! πŸ˜‰ Thanks again for the lovely art- will be interested in seeing the non-tectured shots of this barn. Guess I’d better get back to the tractor shop…. πŸ™‚

  • DEE

    Living in a rural area, I have seen many deteriorating barns. It’s the way of the times. You have demonstrated it. Sad.

  • Barb

    Sometimes too much color can distract from a scene.

  • Dr. Electro

    If ever there were a barn that fit its surroundings, this is the one.

  • franielee38

    This is the barn of my childhood in Littleton, Colorado staying with my aunt and uncle for the summer, even down to the mountainous background. I love the picture just as it is!

  • Actually my attention was drawn to the mountains in the background. Not sure what that means…but I enjoyed the picture!

  • Wow man! I swear you’re sneaking around in my backyard! There’s a barn right outside town that has the exact same shape as this, creepy. I like the texture, but I’m also drawn to the “gungey” feel of photos. Very nice!

  • I think the picture looks like a vivid memory. It looks like the picture you see in your head when you can recall every detail of a place you’ve been before. (I also see a “ghost” giant figure standing on the mountain to the left behind the barn)

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