The grammar of images.
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HAMLYN, J. 2017. The grammar of images. Presented at the 8th International conference on the image, 31 Oct - 1 Nov 2017, Venice, Italy.
Artists sometimes talk of the 'grammar' of drawing or the 'language' of painting or photography. What they usually mean are the rudiments of drawing or the fundamental principles of painting or photography. In ordinary language, the concept of 'grammar' refers to the rules and techniques for the use and understanding of words, sentences and statements. So 'the grammar of images', properly understood, can only intelligibly refer to the rules and techniques that we employ when we refer to, describe, interpret and explain images. The purpose of this paper is to show that a careful analysis of the grammar of images and other forms of nonverbal representation can reveal important insights about our conceptual categories and the ways in which different representations function and are distinguished from one another. A comprehensive analysis of the grammar of images would be impossible in a short paper, so I will focus my attention here on several important distinctions that become apparent through an analysis of the prepositions we frequently use in relation to images and other representations. I will also discuss the concept of 'content' and how representations can 'have content' without possessing anything measurable or quantifiable at all.