An experiment on object representation and perspective.
What queues does it take for us to be able to recognize sameness between objects in photographs?

An Observation on Previous Knowledge and Perception

Walking past the preparatory theater of the Veterinary Anatomical Institute at the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich, I noticed the head preparatory working on a new specimen. A specimen I could not recognize at first due to its curious shapes. Taking a closer look at the four knobs poking out of the skull, I had an assumption that got backed up by the unusual elongated vertebrae laying next to it. It made so much sense when the head preparatory confirmed the specimen being of a giraffe. 

A giraffe has seven cervical vertebrae, just like us humans, with the significant difference that the individual bones are longer, resulting in the characteristic long neck of the giraffe. Fascinated by the ingenious solutions of nature’s creations, I picked up one of the bones that looked especially different. «That’s the Axis,» the preparatory noted without lifting his gaze from his work. 

The Axis is the second cervical vertebrae, also called C2, attached to the Atlas, the first cervical vertebrae, C1, connected to the skull.

Cradling the Axis in both my hands, observing it from all sides, I noticed how significantly different it looked depending on the angle I was looking at it from. The Axis stunned me with its curious beauty. The perfection in which form follows function in anatomy humbles me every time. Since i am able to twist and turn the bone in my hands, my brain is able to map out its form and connect the different perspectives to a whole. So, after observing it for an instant, I am able to discern the Axis even when just seeing one side of it. On the contrary, in photography, the viewer does not have this option. In a photograph, there is only one chosen perspective offered to the viewer. Hence, to show an object from all sides requires multiple photographs taken from various perspectives. 

What are the optimal perspectives enabling the viewer to decipher what he/she sees? What are the reference points letting us map out an object and comprehend it as one and the same object? What previous knowledge is required for us to discern what we see? This series aims to raise these questions.