“4.1212 What can be shown, cannot be said.” – Wittgenstein from Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Wittgenstein: architect, peasant, teacher, veteran, brick layer, and sometimes reluctant philosopher. Like his hero Tolstoy, he often fantasized about channeling something so powerful that it would render his having to philosophize completely unnecessary. He famously said that philosophy is both the lock and the key, an opressive non-dichotomy that he wanted to transcend. He compared the silence he was seeking to the dark stillness of the ocean floor, oblivious to the waves crashing overhead.

But philosophy was infused with everything he did. Even photography, apparently. On the 60th Anniversary of Wittgenstein’s death, The University of Cambridge is exhibiting his photography and how it relates to his philosophy. Their website explains Wittgenstein’s ideas on still images as, “Wittgenstein was drawn to the descriptive nature of photography, as the other works in the exhibition show. Excerpts from his photo albums reveal a more relaxed and playful side to a man who is often portrayed as a tormented soul. In one photo, Wittgenstein has convinced his friend Gilbert Pattisson to pose in the style of an American gangster movie, a genre of which he was a huge fan, telling him, in the language of these films: ‘go and case the joint!'”.

The photographs will be running on their site until August 15th.


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