If I stand in my room and look out at the world through a window in the daytime I see the outside; I see no reflections of the room I stand in. If I stand in my room and look at out the window at night, I do not see the world; I see the window’s reflections of the lit-room. So how is it that when the room lights are on in the daytime I see no reflections of the inside lit room? Simply, I call the outside, loud noise and the inside, quiet noise. Perhaps it is that the tones of the world are elevated and overpowering my little retinal cells making only the daylight known to me and shutting out the subtly of the room-lit tones in the daylight. In a way I should be thankful. If our retina/brain had to pay attention to all the tones- dark, bright, glaring, and subtle, it would be too confusing. And somehow we defend or screen out what isn’t the quiet internal figurative tone in front of us during the day.


It seems simple to me that our lives behave in this manner on many levels. It is very hard to analyze yourself while constantly being in motion. You have to somehow remove yourself or turn down the ‘outside’ lights and let the internal room’s light be revealed. Another way to think of inside/outside is in terms of different layers of content. What layers of our lives have we shut out from our daily perceptions? We normally confine our attention to only what is in front of us. Confining means inclusion but also exclusion. This can be literally seen when the outside light is brighter than the inside light. It confines one perception to the frontal assault of senses. And it excludes the quieter layers still there in our reflections but not really visible.  Part of this selection is an active necessity: We can’t be paying attention to everything all the time. We passively pay attention to the higher volume sensory experiences. But there are moments when our psychological control is lessened and other layers surface in our minds and memories.  This cross road is where the ‘in and out’ make themselves visible in these images.


So be it. The outside templates of each photo are from my walks in the woods. The walks give me a chance to hear some inner voicing, some visualization of the past. I have been ruminating about my past for many years and these inner subset photos have surfaced recently. Sometimes it has been an instant memory; some times it has been a search into my own archive of images to chance upon a frame of the past that dovetails with the present walkabout. Sometimes the images are hard-edged realities of the past; sometimes they are folded in the very thought of the path I am on. In a way these photos are the peek through the everyday perceptual defenses. I think of perceptual defense as a neurological term, a sensory description, and a psychological safety event. My walks are similar.


For technical inclined, many of the larger photo templates were made with a Nikon/Leica digital cameras & most of the inner images were made with a Leica M4 from 26 years ago.  The prints are printed by an Epson  Sure Color P5000 using Premium Luster Photo Paper using UltraChrome HDX pigment inks. The Wilhelm Institute rates these inks near >100-year light fastness.


Thank you for allowing me to share these images with you. Prices are on wall labels.

To contact the artist: ajz@zelada.com.


September 2005



return to Perceptual Defense Images