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Reexamination and the Difficulty with Interpretation

r.graham.barrett's picture

                In reexamining one of the class’ visual representations, I chose to reexamine the visualization I had previously looked at, the one that was a shot of the Haverford Nature Trail. As I am looking at the image once again while keeping in mind the keywords we were using in class, I managed to come up with some new ways to visualize my picture. When I first began to reexamine the photo, I was under the impression that the definitions of the words would clearly fit in with the visualization of the Nature Trail or they wouldn’t. In my view, permaculture did not fit well with the photo’s image, as the Nature Trail was not designed for agricultural purposes and gives off no sign of being a self-sustaining natural system. On the other hand though, I was harder time examining the photos and trying to figure out whether anthropocentric and garden fit into the visualization of the image. It could be argued by some that the Nature Trail as displayed in the photo, is not an example of an anthropocentric environment as the Nature Trail’s purpose is to highlight the natural qualities of the Haverford arboretum rather centralizing the focus on the artificial and man-made aspects of the campus. At the same time though, the Nature Trail was created with the intent of increasing human enjoyment of the campus and the arboretum.  It could then be argued that the photo’s ultimate purpose is not to highlight the natural environment accompanying the Nature Trail but instead the human emotion of pleasure that is derived from the Nature Trail. Likewise, I would agree that the Nature Trail photo doesn’t represent a garden specifically, as the trail itself is not used as a space to display cultivated plant life and natural qualities. But in a very broad definition of a garden, the Haverford arboretum could be considered a garden, as it does exist as a planned space to be used for displaying and enjoying nature, and as the Nature Trail does run through this space, the Nature Trail photo does feature a garden. Through my reexamination of the photo, I was able to see how when associating words and their meanings with a particular image or visualization, we often forget that words such as these can have broad definitions and a large part of applying these words’ meanings is how loosely a person could interpret the meaning.  With words like the keywords we use in class, there exist many such options in defining and interpreting how the terms are used, and tailoring these words to our chosen visualizations demonstrates both how easy and  how difficult doing so can be.