Touching Pictures

Most of us are used to experiencing (taking in) pictures visually. The image is what we see. Seen it like that, this screen is a like a digital canvas. An image on a screen or a projection of a slide are examples of something that is purely visual. However, in a number of situations people touch pictures. This indicates that there must be something more to it – that pictures or images are used as objects.

When do people touch pictures?
Who touches pictures?
How do people touch with pictures?
What type of pictures people touch mostly?
Why do people touch pictures?
Methods applied: describing, taking photographs, making videos, surveys …

johannes paul II
After the death of John Paul II a girl touches his photograph to show her sorrow.

st peters statue     st peter rom 
Pilgrims and other tourists touching and kissing the right foot of the so called old statue of Saint Peter in Rome.
kleine st peter-statue im dom von palermo  

This replica of the statue of Saint Peter in Rome is about 20-25 cm high. It is found in the cathedral of Palermo in Sicily. It is clearly evident that people touch the figure mostly on the right foot and the legs.

some other replicas of the old statue of Saint St. Peter

Binzurusonzya is credited with the extraordinary power to cure sickness immediately when his image is being touched and an appropriate dedication is made.
Miyajima, Japan

an other statue of the same Buddha at the same place.

verona julia berühren
Statue of Juliet in Verona
verona julia bilder berühren

verona julia grapschen

The statue of juliet in verona

When it is either not possible or not permitted to touch pictures – like the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris – people take photographs. Taking photographs can be seen as an act of touching, of making sure that something is really there. Taking photos can be an act of participation.
Franz Billmayer, 20061001
last updated 20080926