Quote Originally Posted by Michael A. Smith
All great photographs have aspects of both the particular and the universal. One can only photgraph particulars, not universals. but if there is not a universal resonance, the photograph is only about the thing photographed and does not resonate with those not familiar with that specific subject matter. It is the universal resonance through the particular that is why the viewer relates strongly to it. True for all subject matter, subjects included.

Now for makers: how do you get that universal in there when you are only photographing something particular? You see space, as well as the things you are photographing. (With portraits, you also see expression, but if the space is not right, you won't get it.)

Space has to do with the relationship of everything in the photogaph to everything else.
Michael,

I think that as I view Edward Weston's, Brett Weston's, Paula's, and your photographs that the universal (which to me carries a spiritual connotation) is what is addressed but by virtue of what is not seen. In your work that is represented by space. Your language is expressing a relationship between the particular and the universal.

In the images of Edward Weston this seems to be expressed in the relationship between light and shadow, in the images of Brett Weston we are even more graphically involved with form as light and shadow.
I think that the result is the same in each of these examples. I, the viewer, of the image am allowed the experience of contemplation of the "unseen" but nevertheless "ever present". This may not occur for all at a conscious level but the opportunity is there for all nevertheless.

It is interesting to me that as I examine eastern philosophies/spiritual disciplines, there is clear language that addresses this same dichotomy. However the comparison is most usually expressed in the terms of "form and void". This correlates very closely to me of your observance of "particular and universal" and also your comparison of "thing and space".

In the ancient language of the Tao De Ching I find an interesting passage. "Ever desiring one sees the manifestations, ever desireless one observes the mystery".