Thomas Merton On An Image

Mount Kangchenjunga from Darjeeling

Mount Kangchenjunga from Darjeeling

Thomas Merton, during his Asian pilgrimage, waited for days to see and photograph Mount Kanchenjunga, but it was covered by clouds. His visual sense was acute. In Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, he wrote“Nothing resembles substance less than its shadow [words, drawings…]. To convey the meaning of something substantial you have to use not a shadow but a sign, not the imitation but the image. The image is a new and different reality, and of course it does not convey an impression of some object, but the mind of the subject: and that is something else again.” I discuss his pilgrimage and his photography in an essay under “On the Record,” which is listed in the column on the right. Merton died in Bangkok in December 1968.

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One Comment on “Thomas Merton On An Image”

  1. Justin Magnuson says:

    I’m participating in an interfaith conference celebration what would have been Merton’s centennial. He’s still amazingly relevant.


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