The mind has to be empty to see clearly
The process of taking photographs as a creative act which expresses authentic feelings is a complex, and to a large extent, irrational phenomenon. It is difficult to study: looking for the methodology of photographing itself, which would facilitate conveying profound and subtle content, is much easier.
The artist’s talent manifests itself not only in the ability to communicate own experiences but also in the ability to move what is deeply hidden inside a human being. Even enormous work and devotion are not sufficient to reveal innate talent. It is also necessary to have a proper methodology of work and make conscious choices which allow the artist to develop in the directions suitable for him. How can we avoid getting lost on the way “to the piece”?
There are many similarities between the artistic creation and scientific research. Abstract mathematics, where the concepts of aesthetics, elegance of theory and evidence are important, is the closest to art. The discovery act in science provides as many strong emotions as the creative act in art.
Great scientists develop their own methodology of work. It allows them to get ahead of others, even very talented friends. They are able to find unconventional solutions to unsolved problems and find completely new fields of research. It turns out, however, that not only knowledge is important: the way you acquire it also matters.
Mathematician John Nash (the protagonist of the book and the film entitled “A Beautiful Mind”) rarely attended lectures and read very few course books during his doctoral studies at Princeton University. He claimed that too much “second-hand” knowledge would suppress his own originality and creativity. When he was still a student, he was trying to work out the well-known mathematical theories himself, without reading books about them. His method of work was systematically posing problem questions to his professors and then his fellow scientists. He noted all the ideas and inspirations which resulted from conversations with them. Then he developed theories which he kept running through other mathematicians until he found the final solution to a problem. While dealing with a given mathematical issue, Nash was not guided only by its high level of complexity. He selected problems which were commonly considered the most important to be solved. He owes his achievements to the enormous intellectual capacity which he used skilfully thanks to the proper methodology of work and unfailing intuition.
When asked what intuition is, Belgian mathematician Pierre Deligne used to say: “It is learning many simple examples and the ability to refer to the ones which allows for the proper evaluation of a given situation. For ancient Greeks, geometry was the art of proper reasoning based on false shapes. For me intuition is the art of proper reasoning on the basis of a few simple shapes which falsely represent the same examined object, accompanied by the awareness of what should be retained of a given shape and when it should be done. Therefore, I believe that it is very important to devote a lot of time to studying simple problems. People say that my mind works very fast. I do not agree with this. I need quite a lot of time to understand basic issues. But once I understand them, I can easily apply them to other, more complicated situations. So when mathematicians come to me asking questions related to problems which I pondered over for weeks, even for years, I am able to give them a concise and definite answer. If someone takes only this concise and definite answer into account, he will think that my reasoning is fast. In reality, though, it is a result of earlier, deep reflections.”
In 1978, at the age of 34, Deligne was awarded the “Fields Medal” (the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in mathematics) for proving the hypothesis of Andre Weil3 in algebraic geometry. Until now, he had been developing original theories which are highly regarded by the mathematicians around the world. He would not have achieved such spectacular success if it wasn’t for his enormous talent and mathematical studies to which he devoted his entire life. However, the key role in his achievements was played by the conscious method of work.
The methodology of seeking the truth is important not only in science but also in art. Opinions about this were expressed by many artists, philosophers and writers. The ones whose theories I appreciate the most include: writer Hermann Hesse; painters Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse; conductors Wilhelm Furtwängler and Sergiu Celibidache; photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Minor White and Paul Caponigro; and philosopher Roman Ingarden. In the field of photography, controversial magazines and the unconventional teaching method of Minor White are very valuable. The most serious research so far related to the creation of a work of art was carried out by Sergiu Celibidache in the field of music.
His achievement is the discovery of a “preparatory methodology” in the interpretation of music. Music, just like any other work of art, is not created on demand. If certain conditions are not met, there is no chance for it to materialize (unless it happens by accident). Celibidache claimed that being guided by any tradition or imitating the masters kills the music. Every new piece should be approached anew, looking for a structure of the whole, a link between all its parts. It is important for example to find the peak moment of the piece, gradually build tension up to that peak and then ease it.
In Celibidache’s method, the awareness of what should be paid attention to in a series of sounds is fundamental. For example, no musical phrase should be flat in terms of dynamics. It should resemble a breath which opens (maximum inhalation) and closes (exhalation to the end). Celibidache changed the concept of tempo which for him depended on the acoustics of the concert hall. The tempo should be such to enable hearing all the harmonic sounds which occur together with the basic note.
Some other famous musicians, such as e.g. violinist Nathan Milstein or pianists Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Światosław Richter, came to similar conclusions as Celibidache through their own search and experience but, unlike him, they did not develop the entire methodology.
In his studies of music Celibidache focused on seemingly simple questions. What is sound (apart from the physical or acoustic definition of sound)?
How does sound affect the human mind? In what conditions can a series of sounds become music? Celibidache was inspired by the concepts taken from Husserl’s phenomenology and Furtwängler’s theses. He believed that thanks to Husserl the concept of objectivity was given up to reach more meaningful (in particular in art) “intersubjectivity” – “I should find myself in you and you find yourself in me”. This concept refers both to the author and the performer, and to the recipient. Intersubjectivity may be achieved by “reduction”, which is also an important concept in Husserl’s theory. It is difficult to understand Husserl’s reduction without appropriate knowledge of the philosophical concepts. In simple terms, it is a process of getting to the very essence of pure awareness using the method of excluding empirical subjectivity. For Celibidache “reduction” is closer to the following terms: “Konzentration auf dem Augenblick” (concentration on the moment) and “Fernhoren” (long-distance hearing) coined by Wilhelm Furtwängler. “Fernhoren” is “structural hearing” where no bar in a piece of music may be grasped (by the musician and the audience) without the preceding and following bars. According to Celibidache, “reduction” consists in understanding the sounds in the sense of experiencing them through “pure” listening, i.e. the experience going beyond the intellectual and emotional sphere. It rules out associations, judgements, sentimentalism, tragedy etc. All the sounds in a piece should be appropriately interrelated: “the end must be in the beginning and the beginning in the end”.
Celibidache’s achievement as an artist is, first and foremost, conscious application of the results of his theoretical research to evoke certain emotions in music performers and recipients. Depending on the composition and the manner of performing it, through “reduction” the musicians and the audience may together experience transcendence, nirvana, “state of grace” during a concert. If Celibidache is thought to be one of few genius conductors of the 20th century, this is because, thanks to him, many musicians, students and listeners had deeply emotional experiences during his concerts.
Even though Celibidache studied not only music but also mathematics, physics and philosophy, he was not interested in purely scientific or philosophic problems related to phenomenology. He believed that the human mind is not able to grasp reality.
Celibidache’s methodology is a great inspiration for research on the process of taking photographs, even though image phenomenology is more complex than sound phenomenology. The difference lies in the possibility of listening to sounds without any intellectual associations whereas, apart from for abstraction, we are not able to avoid original associations (identification) evoked by objects seen on an image.
Compared to a musician, a photographer plays a dual role: he is both the composer and the performer. He discovers or imagines visual elements in a frame and places them in space. This seems similar to the work of a composer yet the motive evaluation and appropriate layout of the elements are closer to that of a performer.
The act of taking photographs is a vivid and unique process. While taking photographs, only the existing conditions count, such as light, the weather, the season, the mood of the model etc. The photographer’s state of mind at a given time and the extent of his dependence on visual memory are also of importance. Photography should be a mirror which reflects the condition of the photographer as a human being: his attitude to the world, to other people, his spiritual states. We may say: “show me your photos and I will tell you who you are”, to a talented photographer.
3The process of taking photographs may be divided into four phases. The first one consists in finding potential motives, existing or imagined, which stimulate the willingness to capture them in a photo. This primordial emotion, released by the discovered motive, was correctly described by two American photographers whose works are completely different. Edward Weston called it “the flame of recognition” while Walker Evans “a flash of the mind”. Roman Ingarden described this particular emotion as a preliminary emotion of aesthetic experience.
An obstacle which seems to be difficult to overcome occurs at the first stage of taking photographs. The photographic image (print, slide, image on the screen, printout etc.) most often fail to convey this “preliminary emotion” i.e. the emotion of the creator who looks at the photographed motive through his lens. One of the reasons for this in the case of beginner photographers, as well as in the case of those who systematically create formal photos without any content, is that the authors do not experience what they see. They photograph whatever interests them or whatever they like while Ingarden claimed that the preliminary emotion of the aesthetic experience has nothing to do with “liking”4.
One of the possible reasons for the unsuccessful visual message is using private symbols which evoke emotions only in the person taking the photograph or people who are close to him. This usually refers to family photos or postcards from visited places which evoke one’s own, past emotions.
Unsuccessful photographs are also a result of delusions adopted from someone or made up by the author; they lead to false and momentary experiences.
In these three cases, the photographer should learn to differentiate between what he sees directly and what he thinks he sees. The only point of reference for both the creator and the recipient is the authenticity of profound emotions which is a result of looking without unnecessary associations. Curiosity, “liking” and private associations do not have the power of a universal message. Artificial concepts, illustrations of ideas and delusions are simple, trivial experiences.
Family photos do not have to be private. Claude Batho or Sally Mann used to photograph their own children and their photographs evoked the same feeling of openness, intimacy and trust in the recipient.
The works of a good photographer are therefore required to be both personal and universal. Personal in the sense that they discover a different view of the world. Universal in the dual sense: reaching a wider (not necessarily more numerous) group of recipients and standing the test of time. This is a difficult task because now “we have seen everything”. Visual motives keep being repeated. But a similar problem exists in literature: the content related to basic human problems has not changed much since the Bible. However, there is still an area in which the author may show off a little: individual style, the manner of telling stories, observations, imagination…
The role of observation in both science and art is similar. Biologist François Jacob5 rightly noticed: “In scientific work the important things are: quality of observation and imagination. The development of science is owed to the new manner of exploring objects, looking at them from a different, original angle. Such a view is not always a result of technological innovation.
Observation itself is not sufficient in scientific work. For the observations to have any value, we should, from the very beginning, have some idea of what we want to observe, know what is possible, what may be real. Without such an idea, we could be studying an object for years and nothing interesting would come out of this”.
With time we realise that most fruitful motives are concealed. This is why the photographer Edouard Boubat compared photography to a treasure hunt. The motives remain hidden for two reasons: we do not see them, even though are often near us, because we are not sensitive to them, or, as in the case of newspaper reports or landscape photography, they can be found only by travelling far. Exceptional people with rich personality and expressive faces are as difficult to be found as unusual landscapes.
In the imagined photography we search for motives as image components. The existing motives may serve as stage design, characters, props, parts of a picture, a part of multiple exposure etc. This is why accurate documentation of places in which we think we may find them is extremely important in hunting for such “treasures”.
The question of sensitivity arises as early as at the first stage of the process of taking photographs. Saying that a man is sensitive does not mean much. You may be sensitive to something. A photographer should be sensitive first of all to subjects, content and form. Sensitivity is not awakened straight away. It stems from predispositions and interests. Every new direction of sensitivity requires time, often many years, to develop and experiences to intensify. The selection of subjects is closely related to the attitude of the photographer to the surrounding world. One may attempt to integrate with the contemporary world looking for acceptance, belonging to well-known trends, trying to maintain a good social, professional and artistic position. Then, however, the photographer usually develops his sensitivity in fashionable, commercial and popular directions, catering to the tastes of the public, the editors, the clients, the critics, the historians, the museum curators, the galleries etc. But the critical approach of the photographer to the world is visible in other forms, such as showing injustice and inequality through documentary photography or photojournalism is a goal which is not only noble but also necessary. Depending on the subject and time of creation, such a critical approach often becomes appreciated by a large audience.
There is, however, other and atypical form of criticism: endlessly improving yourself as a human being and improving your works. It is easier if we keep a sense of perspective on all the comforts and conveniences in life as well as on excessive financial ambitions, without even the tiniest negative judgements about people who think and act differently. Such artists are “free souls”. They discover the world the same way as children, looking for the internal truth, regardless of social acceptance. Some of them are seen as great artists, even though this was not their aim. “No good poem has ever been written for one particular purpose” Hermann Hesse reminisced in his letters. And in “Writings on Literature” he wrote: “In no event am I of the opinion that an independent author selects his topics in an absolutely unrestricted way. I am much more convinced that the topics come to us on their own, we do not come to them”.
Individual works without any interrelations say little about the vision of the author. Only a series of photographs covering one subject reveals this vision. Each such series requires that the photographer devotes at least several years of work, effort, persistent faith in what he does and considerable financial outlays. Yet you do not have to be a Nash to realise how important it is to pick a subject which you will work on for a few years. Life is too short to be wasted on clichés…
The second phase of the process of taking photographs starts when the photographer looks at a motive closed in a rectangle: through a viewfinder in his camera, a window in the frame, and even through an imagined frame. The second phase is closest to “reduction”. This is a “correlative view”: sensing the manner in which all three elements of the motive work are in harmony. This is a search for a point of view (using the appropriate lens), selection of motive elements and their proportions in the frame, as well as their spatial layout. All the elements are important. Even when people are photographed, the background is as important as the characters or the faces.
The correlative view requires absolute freedom and his presence “here and now” from the photographer. There is no room for conscious memory which leads to imitation or to copying own visions, there is no room for illustrating the concept or hoping to succeed, which kill the spontaneity of the view, for judgements which interfere with visual perception. The ideas may be only the starting point, encouragement to act. While taking photographs we need to be able to forget about them. The mind should be free from thoughts to reach the essence of the motive with pure awareness. It is not about complete shutting off thoughts but about intense concentration – on what we see and on the way the motive influences us. It is only when we find the frame which has the strongest impact on us, we decide whether the feelings evoked by the motive are profound enough to make it worth photographing.
The biggest problem with the correlative view is connected with intellectual associations. Of course, it is not possible to avoid the identification of objects: the mind automatically gives names to motives: man, dog, house, wall, tree, forest, sky, cloud etc. In situational motives we spontaneously react to comedy, tragedy or surrealism. The unnecessary estimation of motives or thinking of stories for them prior to taking the photograph is the most bothersome.
The creative process in art, including the act of taking photographs, is similar to scientific research in that it requires the author to be not only maximally focused but also completely separated from everyday life duties. In extreme cases, the artist must get into a trance in order to create a valuable piece. Matiss wrote: “While I am working on my inspired drawings, if my model asks me the time and I pay attention, I’m done for. The drawing is done for.” Mathematician Jean-Pierre Serre, Professor at the College de France, held classes at the university on only one subject and there were only twenty hours of these classes in an academic year. This allowed him to have much time which he could devote to mathematical research. He preferred working in his own apartment in Paris than at his university office. In order to be able to completely focus on work, he did not allow his wife and daughter to invite guests while he was working. He forbade conversations, making even the smallest noise (such as taking a shower). Hermann Hesse had similar requirements: he divided his house in Montagnola into two independent parts. While he was writing, nobody was allowed to enter his study.
The task of a photographer, if he is not alone outdoors or in a studio, is a difficult task: he has to be focused on creation, without paying attention to the people who surround him outside of the frame. Even thinking about what others think at that moment disturbs taking photographs.
Recognizing expressive motives to be photographed and a correlation of their elements is intuitive. The inspiration may be “Deligne’s method” in mathematics in the process of intuition development. Many simple motives are photographed, and they evoke emotions (not curiosity or “liking”); if in addition the motive forms some associations, they can be
neither private nor unnecessary. Humility and self-criticism are also very important: when looking at his own photographs in a critical way or by showing them to the persons whom the he trusts, the photographer may decide which are weaker, less expressive. By looking at his own templates and thumbnails the photographer remembers all his failures in order to avoid them in the future. He analyses which elements do not work together and for what reason, what and in which photo went wrong. Only when the photographer masters his own vision of simple motives to some extent, he may start dealing with more complex ones.
In art there is no such thing as a priori knowledge. In photography hundreds or thousands of “no’s” lead to one “yes”. This “no” can often be foreseen. “Yes” is often little short of a miracle.
The third stage of the process of taking photographs is seemingly a technical stage, so it depends on our experience. It consists in selecting light-sensitive material, the manner of film exposure and then developing it. This has a large impact on the sense of light and forming the image. Photographic light is different than the one seen with the naked eye. Both the time of exposure (a few seconds, minutes or hours) and appropriate development of the film completely change the nature of the light. Working on a large format is also an opportunity for the photographer to change the reality by modifying tonal values of the motive. Half-baked techniques restrict the possibilities of expression.
The fourth phase is pressing the shutter button, i.e. taking an intuitive decision about the moment in which the photo should be taken. This phase depends on the photographic light which reveals the motive showing it the way the photographer feels it only at a certain time. In dynamic situations with people, the fourth phase depends on the position of characters in the frame and their facial expressions, if visible. The reason for unsuccessful photographic communication may also be the incorrect selection of the moment in which the shutter button is pressed or inappropriate light.
In so-called street photography, when we photograph “live”, all the phases listed above (except for the third one) are very short, often lasting only a fraction of a second. Therefore, even if you are very experienced, very few good photographs are made in such situations, maybe even one in a few hundred or thousands of frames.
The form is closely related to the content. In the history of art image composition has always been related to the search for aesthetic experience which accompanies the content of the piece – except for the 20th century, when for some authors, aesthetics lost their importance and even became an obstacle. The role of avant-garde is to look for new forms and ideas, often at the expense of the content. However, in every masterpiece some order is always visible. It does not have to be an aesthetic order.
What content may the photographer convey in his works? The contemporary world is aggressive. Man is tempted to consume, deafened with sounds, the media keep informing us about tragic events, which intensifies our sense of danger. The man is surrounded by nervous people whose financial appetite is growing… All these cause constant tension which manifests itself as an endless internal disturbance with changing intensity, which can even lead to physical pain. We are so used to our tensions that we perceive them as a natural state and we stop paying attention to them. These internal disturbances become more prominent in silence or when travelling to less civilised places. Most creators do not realise how such tensions affect their sensitivity and their works. Creation in the state of internal disturbance leads to the “the effect of an external mirror”.
The creator becomes a mere reflection of the external world, by accepting it or criticising it he processes (through talent, personality, imagination) the acquired tensions. Such content may be defined with documentation, even fictional, of the world of human acts and delusions. Such a creative activity is limited to common awareness. If this mirror also magnifies the reflection of the outside world, the works which are created are able to evoke powerful impressions and emotions in the viewer.
The opposite direction is an attempt to achieve freedom from tensions, from common awareness, in order to go deeper and deeper, to the internal world, to the state of peace, selfless love. Photography then becomes an “internal mirror”.
What are the options of selecting the content then? Should we use our talent, imagination and passion only to reflect the surrounding world? Or maybe rather attempt to discover a different world, explore the possibilities to reach a higher awareness through our creations? Correlative vision is closely related to the second option.
Almost every creator thinks that he has selected the second path: that he discovers his internal world, expresses his vision of the world through the prism of his personality, has higher awareness. These are often only delusions, though. Many great artists, such as: Hesse, Kandinsky, Klee, Matisse, Furtwängler, Celibidache or White believed that there is only one path to be followed: striving for transcendence. The problem for most creators is that they stop in the early stages of this path. This results in shallowness of their views, their common awareness.
Can transcendence be described? Transcendence is associated with the feeling of complete freedom, with the pervasive lightness of flying, with the state of profound peace going beyond emotions and thoughts. A person is filled with positive energy. In such conditions, selfless love towards people and the world emerges. Further discussion of the concept of transcendence may be summarised with the well-known saying: “talking about religion kills religion”. In art, just as in religion, the sensation counts more than knowledge. “Intellectual cognition is worth only as much as a piece of paper” – wrote Hesse in his reviews. “What you are thinking about is false, only you don’t know about it. Experiences are decisive.” – said Celibidache about listening to sounds. Art is not understood, it is experienced. Art strives for transcendence.
For Hermann Hesse the world of transcendence exists parallel to ours. We may look into it through a child’s innocence which we find in us. The sense of humour is helpful here; it is sometimes a bridge between our mundane world and the parallel one. This is the ability to put aside our everyday life, personality or overwhelming rules of the world. For Hesse, art is observation in the state of grace and the beginning of all art is love.
Free souls have a higher chance of moving forward. The path to transcendence requires an everyday fight with yourself, disparaging your own ego. You do not always move forward, but ceasing the fight means the return of unrestrained tensions, unnecessary ambitions, negative emotions and internal disturbances. The achieved stages are lost and instead we experience the regress of our development. The mirror starts reflecting the external reality.
Sensitivity to transcendence is as difficult for the creator as it is for the recipient. You cannot sense the vibrations if you do not have them inside you. This sensitivity may be lost or insufficiently developed. On the one hand, it depends on the personal life of the creator, while on the other it cannot exist with any form of selfishness, related to the world of commerce or success. Celibidache said: “After finishing music studies in Berlin, during the first eight years of my career as a conductor, I created music in a totally frantic way, i.e. without creating music.
I conveyed emotions and impressions. This maya – the world of delusions – is infinite and I joined it imitating the delusions and musical failures. Finally, the moment came when I realised: God, what I am doing is impossible! One day I met a yogi who said to me: «The music you are creating is completely false». So I followed him, not the international career which I was offered then by the Americans. They were looking for someone to replace Toscanini. For me, a forty-two-year-old man, the offer of the Americans was very attractive. I did, however, resist the temptation of big money. Yogi showed me that it is not the notes, which are merely raw material, form a piece of music. Now I know that there is another, internal discipline. This interior is kurukshetra, the battleground where our continuous fight is waged. Bhagavadgita talks about this fight. It is not a fight which took place 5000 years ago against Krishna, but the fight which we wage every day. Then I started paying attention to what exists in music apart from the raw material. All this really helped me listen to sounds differently to find their transcendence.” For Celibidache, the original motivation for the need to practice music was rooted in the desire for freedom. Freedom was of particular importance to him: first you need to depart from emotional effects, which are created by sounds in common awareness, and from intellectual associations in order to hear pure relations between the sounds. Only then can they convey transcendence. It is worth emphasizing here that Celibidache needed many years of searching to experience transcendence in music himself, during his own concert in Venice.
The culmination of Western art are the compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach. This is the only example in the history of music where all the works of a man, both religious and secular, were sacral in the full meaning of this word. In terms of interpretation, the largest challenge is therefore performing Bach’s compositions. Most musicians, however, are not able to convey the sacredness of his works because they do not have or they do not develop their sensitivity to transcendence. Conveying emotional effects which they are accustomed to is not enough in Bach’s world. Nathan Milstein and Światosław Richter believed that only in their old age did they achieve satisfactory level of interpreting his works.
A work of art does not exist in isolation, without a recipient. Art makes sense when it is part of a triangle: the author – the work – the recipient, in which both the creator and the recipient have highly developed sensitivity to transcendence. Neither one nor the other need to be mystics or deeply religious people. Both parties, however, are required to absolutely focus at a given time and have the ability of transcendental reception. The artist should also have the talent for conveying such emotions.
In our unfavourable times works of art are created extremely rarely. The words of Jiddu Krishnamurti: “Truth is more in the process than in the result” are increasingly topical. For the creator preparing the conditions which enable art to become the reality is more important than the very creation of a work of art. Apart from appropriate methodology, the important thing is continuous the search for the truth, the transcendence of the creative process itself. This requires enormous modesty, honesty to oneself and to others and courage, in particular in contemporary times, when the medial promote showing off and clichés as art.
© Marian Schmidt 2004
- Sergiu Celibidache, Séminaires de phénoménologie de la musique, Cluny et Paris, 1988-90
- Sergiu Celibidache, Teaching Session, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia 1984
- Wilhelm FurtwSngler, Musique et verbe, Albin Michel/Hachette, Paris 1979
- Hermann Hesse, Myśli [Thoughts], Dabar, Lublin 1996
- Edmund Husserl, Phenomenology, Encyclopaedia Britannica 1927
- Edmund Husserl, Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London 1931
- Wassily Kandinsky, Du Spirituel dans l’art, et dans la peinture en particulier, Paris 1989
- Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Complete Published Works 1933-1986, The Krishnamurti Foundation
- Henri Matisse, Ecrits et propos sur l’art, Hermann, Paris l972
- Sylvia Nasar, A Beautiful Mind, Touchstone-Simon & Schuster, New York 1998
- Bogdan Ogrodnik, Ingarden, Wiedza Powszechna, Warszawa 2000
- Marian Schmidt, Hommes de science, Hermann, Paris 1990
Marian Schmidt studied mathematics in the United States at University of California in Berkley and at Brandeis University where he met John Nash. In 1969, he was conferred a PhD in mathematics. That same year he stayed in England and Switzerland with the thinker Jiddu Krishnamurti. In 1980, he settled in Paris. During his stay in France, he studied the phenomenology of music with Sergiu Celibidache. His album “Hommes de science” was published in 1990. It included portraits and interviews with the greatest scientists in France, such as Pierre Deligne and François Jacob. Marian Schmidt has been photographing since 1969. He is the author of three photographic albums and over fifty prestigious photographic exhibitions presented around the world. He gave lectures on photography at the Fine Arts Academy in Poznan and the Film School in Lodz where in 2002 he was conferred the degree of doctor habilitatus in artistic photography. He is currently a lecturer and the director of the Warsaw School of Photography.
 Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, the United States.
 Geometric shapes represent certain situations. They influence imagination. They do not need to be real. For example, two equally long sections will always vary in terms of microns, a sphere drawn on a piece of paper is not a sphere.
 The brother of the philosopher and writer Simone Weil
 Paper presented at the International Congress of Aesthetics in Paris in 1937.
 In 1965, together with André Lwoff and Jacques Monod, he received Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries in molecular biology.