I agree, and I think you make and important observation with “the act of projecting upon”. Often we forget, as image makers, that there is always that second moment of interpretation that is necessary, and by definition out of our control (as it should be). The first interpretation obviously that of the photographer making the image, but the second one, that of the viewer interpreting that same image at a later stage, an image that he or she can never fully contextualise.
I find myself - as a viewer - always wondering about that first interpretation, what drove the author, what were the circumstances, what drove the decision to make this image in this exact way. I know I’ll never be able to know this, so I project… in my case, not only my reality upon what is inside the photograph, but at the same time also my reality upon what might have been that first interpretation of a fellow artist.
The fig leaf of course forever being in the way, making it impossible for me to see and possibly understand this, leaving me with my projection only. And at the same time most probably protecting me from the disillusion were I able to see and understand it all.
Why disillusion? Because not understanding is the most powerful drive… It pushes to jump, to experience, to learn. If I understood all, then what would be left. The last Homo Universalis died a long time ago, but I can’t help wondering what he felt at that precise moment when he had pushed all fig leaves aside and said to himself “and now i know everything there is to be known”. I doubt it was joy.
As a human being I’m a social creature. I absolutely need to be in this constant state of projection, relating to other human beings around me any chance I get, dependent on the other even in my act of being alone, instinctively pushed forward by my will to understand; my lensless eye, my umbrella.
Just like a dog, I am never lost; only walking to be found. You?