© Copyright 2017 Elisabeth Nardi, Ryerson University.
How to Look at… A Box
A box is more than four sides and four corners. On first sight, a box appears to be nothing more than a plain and ordinary everyday object, an observation most of us will concur with. Our association with the box as an everyday item used to store and or transport other objects is a very narrow view of what a box can represent. Thus a box can represent the complexities of ones life, their successes, their failures, their milestones, or their deep dark secrets. In this light then, a box is more than just a box.
As we look at the plain box, can we see beyond it’s four sides and four corners. This box so simple in its construction, may hold more than the naked eye can see. If we allow ourselves to see beyond the actual object, we may find that it contains many treasures and secrets.
A box can hold ones future with in it. A simple little box when presented at the appropriate moment, is not just a box. That little box can represent ones dreams being fulfilled, a commitment to share ones life together or simply a promise of love. So when that box is not seen as simply a 4 sided figure, the representation of that box takes on a much deeper and more profound meaning.
Keepsake boxes are a great example of a box representing more than just a box. Within this box, treasures accumulated within one’s lifetime representing significant events or milestones are stored. To the holder of this box, the memories it contains is what that box represents. To suggest that this box is simply a cardboard construction, is to trivialize ones very existence.
Boxes are used to store items that are no longer necessary or used. When a loved one passes away, their possessions are boxed up and put into storage. Thus these boxes represent an emotional connection to the deceased. Within those boxes, memories are stored and protected. Thus the boxes represent a physical reminder of the life of a loved one no longer around. However, an outsider may simply see boxes as he has no connection to those boxes.
Boxes are great for hiding things we do not want anyone else to see. These boxes keep our secrets from the outside world. Whether they are embarrassing events or pictures, the box provides a perfect sanctuary. The secrets contained within the box can represent both good and evil. Again because many of us simply look at things, we miss what may be sitting in front of us. That box can hold the answers to questions long asked but never solved.
Box in not always a box. Looking and seeing are two very different things. A person may look at something and see nothing more than the item itself. In order see beyond the item, one must allow themselves to see beyond it’s physical attributes; thus a box can be more than a mere box.
Nardi, Elisabeth. “The Box”. Digital Photograph, Ryerson University 7, February 2017.
Images is this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair declining for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education period.