Imagism was a powerful movement in the early part of the twentieth century, with proponents like Amy Lowell and Ezra Pound. It is interesting that it arose around the time when photography began its explosions. To fix an image in the mind. Are the emotions rendered null and void at the moment the snapshot is taken? Is it a passing beauty (or ugliness) that stops us in our tracks? Do we stop to think, or do we just absorb? It is believed in some cultures that the camera “kills,” and in common usage we speak of a photo “shoot.” There is something permanently fixed about images. Some of Margaret Atwood’s most memorable writing involve the “fixing of the eye”–the camera’s final word.
I loved the Imagists when I encountered them. The image is powerful and extends into all art forms. I wonder what this means–in the grander scheme of things.
Here are some historical insights on the Imagist Movement, originally posted in Modern American Poetry: