Capturing the moment or thinking you are?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by anunes, May 2, 2009.

  1. "To reach the limit that not even mathematics can explain and trying to freeze time and capture a moment of eternity - that's what photography means to me and this is the reason I'm always trying to see things as unstable as they are."

    This is how I present myself in my website (www. anunesphotography.com), and I'll explain why and propose a debate around this thought.

    Any photographer knows that when you press your finger to take a "photo" you are actually commanding the shutter aperture which will be opened for a while and capture a reflection of your subject during that time. It may be just a small fraction of time (say 1/1000 sec) or even minutes, depending on the type of picture you are aiming at.
    Even though the time may vary what we will capture is NOT a single moment, it is actually a kind of a short movie or the sequence of infinite moments that our eyes and thoughts cannot reach! What we see when we look at a photograph is simply the occurence of several events in a row, never a single frame!
    What does that mean? Maybe with photographs we are facing an example of what some philosophers treated as the limits of our senses, or the limit of what is actually real.
    Is a photograph a copy of a real subject or is it a copy of a representation?
    Let's debate!
    A. Nunes
     
  2. Time does not exist, not outside the framework that the mind applies for it. So a photograph can't freeze time, but it can evoke a concept ( eternity ? ) of our concept of a human construct that we call time, and to which we come by through the measurement of change in events and motion, marking the differential between states of energy relative to each other. A camera can record any such state of energy or movement subsequent to the next and produce a photograph that is measureable of being representative of one particular event of energy in space, not time....Uhm, I think....
     
  3. Agreed that a photograph is a "mini-movie", a continuous stretch of time and not a frozen instant.
    But to the question "Is a photograph a copy of a real subject or is it a copy of a representation?" I'd have to say: neither. It is an artefact which is related to the original subject in the mind of the photographer but evokes other signifieds in the mind of the viewer – different for each viewer – and that fact is not changed by the instant/duration question?
     
  4. Wow, that's deep. I think I hurt my head. It reminds of not long ago when everyone was up in a tiffy because someone discovered that Pluto isn't a planet. There were all kinds of debates and people were freaking out. In the end, whether Pluto is a planet or not, it's still there, floating millions of miles away not caring in the least of our existence.
    So whether a photograph is a copy of a real subject or a copy of a representation, or simply just a photograph, how does it change anything?
    In the end, you look through the viewfinder, adjust your settings, snap an "image", and either sell it or show it to your friends.
    There's a lot of peace in simplicity :)
    ~ Alain
     
  5. I like what Felix has added to the notion that a photograph is some sort of copy (which can certainly be one way of making and seeing photographs). The word "evoke" is very helpful, and I think the subject can evoke as much in the photographer as in the eventual viewer. I'd like to add that a photograph can also be a creation, whereby the photographer uses the world -- the original subject -- as the raw materials from which to build a vision, sometimes of that very same world, allowing it to make itself apparent in a more timeless way, freed, perhaps, from its original context and re-energized by the four edges which the lens provides.
    Alexandre, I appreciate very much how you've expressed the idea that photography can put us up against traditional philosophical limits. There's a sense in which I view certain types of photographs as transcendent, precisely because they do edge us away from the more unnoticed use of our senses and can make us see a little differently and in a more focused way than we saw before. That infinity you talk about may ironically be felt more because of the "limits" of the lens's framing.
     
  6. Fred:
    > ...a photograph can also be a creation...
    Can I change the words "can also be" to "is"?
    Whether we intend it or not, the acto f photographing does, consciously or unconsciously, for the reasons and through the mechanisms you mention, create something new, "build a vision ... freed ... from its original context".
     
  7. Alain
    I agree with your "there's a lot of peace in simplicity" statement, but I have to put another perspective to the rest of your thoughts. Although we can opt to forget about all philosophical aspects of our lives and simply enjoy it (including photography) I believe things and life can gain some more meaning and, at least, more excitement if we just not stop questioning and reflecting about it. Isn't philosophy all about it?
     
  8. If a painter like Alex Coleville creates one of his "realistic" images, it takes him a long time. How much difference is there between an image created by a painter over a month, or a photograph taken over 1/1000 second? Why does the time involved in the creation of the piece mean anything at all when it comes to viewing the piece, and its significance or meaning? Is a painter's portrait any more or less related to reality than a photographer's?
    Isn't it the image that is important, not the shutter speed? An image gets its significance more from its content than from the technology used to create it. A movie is really just an illusion created by a rapidly viewed collection of stills. Almost everything that happens to a viewer of an image happens because of what goes on inside the viewer when he looks at it, so how much does the specific act of the creation of the image matter to that internal process?
    I also think it is important to understand that time does exist. Einstein would not be happy if we tried to say it was just our imagination.
     
  9. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Lord Louis Mountbatten once told his nephew, Prince Philip, "When you are introduced to a lady wearing a low cut gown, do not glance down, even for a split second. If someone were to snap a photo in that split second, it would like like you were staring at her breasts."

    In that example the photo is not a copy of a representation. Quite the opposite. I would say it is a misrepresentation. Is it a copy of a real subject? Again I would say no, unless Philip really were a lecherous young (now old) man.

    So what is it? I would say it is good for a few thousand quid to the tabloids, but not much else philosophically.
     
  10. Felix, Thanks. I understand why you would change it to "is," though I'd probably leave it as "can be." On one level, yes, the act of photographing does create something new, a photograph . . . and a new context. But I think the creation aspect can be seen less physically and objectively than that. Some photos, though they do, technically speaking, "create" something new, are really meant to be copies of something or at least are not intended as creations, per se. I photograph the things in my house to document them for my insurance carrier. Though I am creating a photograph, that's not the kind of creation I'm really referring to when distinguishing the type of photograph that copies or represents from the type of photograph that creates. For me, the more significant sense of creation comes in with the desire, intent, and overall approach of the photographer, although creation does, as you suggest, sometimes take place very unintentionally. Some photographers want to capture a sunset and have no real designs on creation, and many of those photographs don't create in the sense I'm thinking of. Some want to create something more personal with their sunsets. Don, a contributor to these forums, has talked about his desire to allow the subject of his photographs to speak or present itself to the viewer and tends not to want to create in the way I meant it and his photos seem to bear that out. Some photographers clearly want to take an original subject or scene and use it simply as raw material to create something very much different from that original subject. Especially in these forums, which I am trying to approach a little differently in order to get more out of them, I am going to shy away from making statements like "photography is . . . ," though I certainly have no problem with your doing it and completely understand where you are coming from.
     
  11. All, I'm loving the different angles that are appearing in this thread.
    Just as a matter of refreshing one of my initial thoughts, I'd like to emphasize the distinction (if possible) between real and its representation, as thoroughly and brilliantly explored by Schopenhauer and the likes.
    When I look at an object, say an apple, what exactly am I looking at? Is there such a thing like an apple or are a certain shape + smell + texture +... something that we represent to ourselves as an apple? I know this is a long an almost eternal debate - wheter our senses are limitations to our minds and thoughts - and that it is was addressed by some of the most famous philosophers specially from the mid-1800.
    What I would like to discuss here is how phoptographs can add (or subtract) from such debate. Is a photoghraph a proof that objects exists for real? If I can materialize a copy of it, does that mean it is real? Or the photograph is just another type of representation, captured and sensed by the same system we have in place by mother nature and which is limited by its own characteristics?
     
  12. I think more contemporary Philosophers such as Wittgenstein and Rorty better address the question of what is real than photography can. Bringing in photographs will likely just emphasize the points of the debate, depending on where one stands, maybe make them a little more substantial, rather than really doing anything toward resolving the debate. Wittgenstein and Rorty, on the other hand, move the debate along and change its terms, seeing it more as a matter of language and historically accepted false dichotomies. To make it a clearer discussion and to keep it photographically relevant, how do the differences you speak of, whether something is represented to us as its qualities or whether that something is "real," as you call it, come out in your photographs or affect your photography or your approach to it? Are you exploring such matters or do you think photographs can? Are there examples of specific photographs by you or someone famous that you think point to one side of the debate vs. the other, that make you think of qualities more than substance? It would be interesting to ground the discussion some.
     
  13. Fred
    You've raised a good point in all this discussion which is how the representation or reality of things may or may not affect our photographs. To be very honest I am still not exploring such (alleged) dichotomy into my work and neither I'm aware of someone that has done it on purpose (but I'm not what you'd call an expert in the history of photography). But I do think we can incorporate these thoughts into our routines as photographers, and each time we point out to a subject think if we are planning to capture the object in itself or some kind of its representation. Thinking a little bit more about this, I think we all do something in this direction when shooting: sometimes we are aiming at showing "something" behind the scene (its meaning, its correlation to the world, its context to a situation, etc), and in other opportunities we are just looking for the pure beauty of a picture (like in a landscape photo).
     
  14. Fred, You've raised a good point in all this discussion which is how the representation or reality of things may or may not affect our photographs. To be very honest I am still not exploring such (alleged) dichotomy into my work and neither I'm aware of someone that has done it on purpose
    I suppose that every philosopher who's actively interested in photography or every photographer who's interested in philosophy intuitively approaches photography in such a way, with photographs that are as well about the ' surface of reality ' as that what can be sensed ( but not nessecarily seen and recorded by the camera ) to be behind this surface. I've said it before, but I've always found this photographers approach to the medium very distinctive and purposeful (with great wit by the incorporated text and without being all too heavy and serious ) in it's interconnection with philosophical questions about the nature of reality. The slightly bored authority behind that cats look is definitely unquestionably though.
     
  15. Time is simply a way of sequencing and measuring motion. Movement is a fundamental property of energy and the matter it becomes. Time is not a separate entity that can be isolated and studied as an object by itself without losing the significance of what it demonstrates, ie., that something was here and now it is there. One can study rulers and systems of measurements in the abstract, but to find out what these systems actually do, he must go out and measure a thing.
    It would seem to be a matter of simple observation that something in the field of view in front of a camera has moved, even ever so slightly, during the exposure. I believe that most people would not think to be aware of such a thing if the image is clear enough that slight movement is very difficult to see. This must be something in the appeal and value of Philosophy that it causes us to pause and reflect on details an meanings we would otherwise ignore.
    I agree with Felix that a photograph is a fresh object in its own right that is never the subject itself. The eyewitness account is not the crime itself. I think this is what he meant when he described the photograph as a creation. The photographer did not create the thing exactly, but the photographic apparatus did. At the time the photographer depreses the shutter button the camera serves as a kind of copying machine, and the image it saves is made from the light that it received from the subject. During the exposure itself the camera is acting independently of all of the artistic decisions that the photographer makes before and after. This moment of all moments in photography is not art.
    I don't know what photographs tell us about the nature of reality and perception. I think that this great debate will have to roll on to attract the interest of greater minds than mine. In the meantime I am reminded of the Peanuts episode showing the kids lying on the ground looking up at the clouds. Schroeder saw great muscians in them, and Charlie Brown saw ordinary things like dogs and cats. I'm more like Charlie Brown.
     
  16. Phylo--
    Thanks for those links. Right on target.
    They are in the vain of Magritte's self-referencing-paradox-of-a-question-in-the-form-of-a-painting-with-words:
    http://www.nku.edu/%7Eocallaghant/courses/350/magritte.jpg
    Alexandre--
    I think German/Expressionism/Surrealism of the early-mid 20th-Century also explored questions of reality. An example by Herbert Bayer:
    http://images.artnet.com/WebServices/picture.aspx?date=19991004&catalog=10948&gallery=110889&lot=00022&filetype=2
    Then there's this very interesting quote about photography's influence on Impressionist painting:
    The rise of the impressionist movement can be seen in part as a reaction by artists to the newly established medium of photography. The taking of fixed or still images challenged painters by providing a new medium with which to capture reality. Initially photography's presence seemed to undermine the artist's depiction of nature and their ability to mirror reality. Both portrait and landscape paintings were deemed somewhat deficient and lacking in truth as photography "produced lifelike images much more efficiently and reliably".
    In spite of this, photography actually inspired artists to pursue other means of artistic expression, and rather than competing with photography to emulate reality, artists focused "on the one thing they could inevitably do better than the photograph – by further developing into an art form its very subjectivity in the conception of the image, the very subjectivity that photography eliminated". The Impressionists sought to express their perceptions of nature, rather than create exacting reflections or mirror images of the world. This allowed artists to subjectively depict what they saw with their "tacit imperatives of taste and conscience". Photography encouraged painters to exploit aspects of the painting medium, like colour, which photography then lacked; "the Impressionists were the first to consciously offer a subjective alternative to the photograph".
    It's a quote that likely rang true at the time and, in historical context, says something significant. It's underlying assumption about photography, however, is questionable to say the least. If you're thinking about these questions, it would be interesting to consider why this quote is so wrong regarding many photographs and approaches to photography and whether you may want to prove it wrong in the work you do. In challenging the quote, I ask if photographers can "develop . . . subjectivity in the conception of the image?" For me, the answer is "Yes."
     
  17. jtk

    jtk

    It seems odd to identify an extended quotation as "interesting," "significant," questionable," "wrong," or "right" when few are in fact interested in it.
    In fact, nobody here confuses a photograph with "reality."
    If it's a picture of a duck, there's nothing wrong with saying "that's a duck." If you, the photographer, prefer to consider it something else, say so or don't...makes little difference.
    If one's photos, lacking commentary, don't inspire conversation (a measure of significance?), of what value do they have if commentary is added? A blog is a blog is a blog. By definition, hardly anybody reads them...
    Photography is a grammatical entity, like a gerund, more than a phenomenon. Referring to photography as some other "it" usually suggests a constricted agenda. Assertions beyond the grammer are assertions about subsets: duck photography vs sunset photography vs industrial photography vs. abstract expressionism, glamor (glamour), or decor, for example...and even then, much of the conversation revolves around technology, duck identification, or frames...rather than images.
     
  18. In fact, nobody here confuses a photograph with "reality."​
    Obviously, and yet it becomes a part of that " reality" the moment it is made. Photography, a photograph, gives substance to the concept of reality like a clock gives substance to the concept of time. Repeating myself here from an older thread in this forum that dealt very much with the same question of photography's relationship towards reality.
     
  19. Wow deep thoughts here,
    I have to say that I consider Pluto a planet--even if it's just a little ball of nothing spinning in out orbit. Juswt when I thought it was safe to just snap a picture someone comes along and poses this question...I have to say that it seems as if we're over-thinking this whole process...I see an object I like--point my camera and push that little red button and whala! I like to think that it's magic and leave off on that--When you close the door to the fridge do you wonder if the light just turns off or does a little man in a snow suit come out from within and push the off switch?
     
  20. In a way you're right. ' Over thinking, over analyzing seperates the body from the mind ' ( Lateralus, Tool ) and we need both mind AND body to turn our thoughts into action, to go out there and actually photograph, or make it happen, whatever that might be.
    People are different in that some are more externally focused / aware while others are more internally focused / aware, but dismissing either one of those views, especially as a photographer, is leaving out a whole lot of potential.
     
  21. This is not a response to any of the interesting posts already contributed to this thread. Rather I want to point out, in response to a bit of the original post by A Nunes:
    Even though the time may vary what we will capture is NOT a single moment, it is actually a kind of a short movie or the sequence of infinite moments that our eyes and thoughts cannot reach!​
    That's not so; photography is not like a movie. It's sort of an un-movie ("move"-ie) . If you leave the shutter open long enough, anything that "moves" will vanish like smoke. Only the still items will remain. Very long exposures of street scenes will show only what remained stationary -- all animated things will have evaporated.
     
  22. If you leave the shutter open long enough, anything that "moves" will vanish like smoke.​
    Exactly. Good point. Shows that a single still photograph can capture and hold on to almost anything but movement, and since time is simply movement / change, or the measuring of change in events or objects relative to each other, "time" isn't actually recorded nor frozen in photography.
     
  23. But, Julie ... objects which move less than those which "vanish like smoke" remain on the record.
    While I wouldn't myself describe it as a "movie", A Nunes' point remains: that a photograph is always a record of a period of time with finite duration, including any moderate movement by objects within the frame which do not exceed the recording capacity of the medium; which is philosophically different from an "instant".
    The same is true of paintings, of course ... as with Constable, for example, whose shadows in different parts of a painting sometimes fall in different directions according to the time of day when he did that bit (Benjamin West: "light and shadow never stand still")
    When I was at school, and the panoramic photographer arrived, there was always at least one child who ran from one end to the other of the group to appear twice ... not a "movie", but definitely an capturing of movement within a frame.
     
  24. When I was at school, and the panoramic photographer arrived, there was always at least one child who ran from one end to the other of the group to appear twice ... not a "movie", but definitely an capturing of movement within a frame​
    Yes. But it's not so much movement / change in a continuous linear fashion, which is what we experience or concieve as time. It is a capturing of movement within a frame, that's correct. But it's much less so a capturing of movement within time, which is the movement. You can't move through movement. You can't travel through travel, through "time".
     
  25. jtk

    jtk

    Phylo, I think this thread is confusing still photographs with photography.
    Still photographs are usually records of instants (eg 1/60th)...to deny that would reject the most common word usage ( opposite Shakespeare and Webster).
    A Nunes, with his OT, has bought into a common error, conflating "capture" with "record."
    "Photography," unlike "still photograph," is a label that usually refers to nothing in particular...at best it implies a method of visual recording. Among "still photographers" it has typically referred to their activity, but it has increasingly (and properly IMO) referred to the activity of cinematographers who use film and video cameras.
    One can of course move through movement. That's what dancers do... at multiple simultaneous levels (which makes dance reminiscent of "photography").
    And we sometimes travel through time in the most fundamental experiential sense...people sustaining severe head injuries regularly report 20 minute dislocations, and participants in warfare regularly report hyper-real flashbacks. Experience is as close to "reality" as we will ever get.
     
  26. Phylo: point taken :)
    Julie: I've been thinking about the long exposure, with things "disappearing like smoke". I've a friend who ties pinhole cameras to telegraph poles and lets the exposure form over a year ... even houses and lamp posts can disappear over that time. If we set up a camera which exposed over a century or two, forests could be replaced by metrololises which were then razed by war ... my point being that even permanence is limited and impermanent if you choose the right exposure time, and choosing the frame within which we choose to define photographic permanence is an arbitrary matter?
     
  27. Marta
    My intention when proposing this thread was not to eliminate or diminish our pleasure as photographers, which in my opinion should be kept in its plenitude. So if you prefer not to think about the "magic"in itself, no problem - just keep shooting!
    Julie
    If an object may vanish from a picture just because it does not stay still during the shutter aperture, it does not mean that a photograph is not a kind of a short movie (please mind the "kind" word in my original post). Even in a traditional movie, if an object just passes in front of the video camera fast enough it will not be capture. It is all a matter of proportions, not concepts.
    John
    I totally agree that capturing is different from recording and all this debate should be about the capacity of photographs to really capture a single moment and the difficulties we, as human beings limited by our senses, have in understand such peculiarities.
     
  28. jtk

    jtk

    A.N....
    No photograph, in any manafestation, records a timeless instant. As photographers, we all know this.
    More importantly, no timeless "instant" can exist, even as a concept, since it cannot be recorded, perceived, or even minimally understood without passage of time.
    Photographs record phenomena in time, require passage of time. Neural synapses function similarly: electro-chemically in time...therefore concepts function in time in essentially the same way film or a sensor or a synapse does...taking perhaps a billionth of a second, an eternity.
    The closest we have come, even alluding to an instant, may be on the Sistine Ceiling:
    Yaweh: "Zap, you're it!"
     
  29. "Is a photograph a copy of a real subject or is it a copy of a representation? Let's debate!"
    Why bother? It's not important, and it'll end up in the usual worthless waffle... The important thing is to take a few snaps and chuck 'em up on the net for friends to look/laugh at. That's what photography is all about... True story...
     
  30. A Nunes,
    Can you explain or limit what it is that is meant by "event" of which you say a photo is made of "several" and also, what is "a single frame" of which a photo is "never"?
    Felix,
    I think the film might have gotten a bit mouldy after the first hundred years, but sticking with theoretical film, can you explain "philosophically different from an "instant"" for me? What is this "instant" and/or, what would be philosophically the same as an "instant"?
    (I am only half-serious but I would like to know what it is that could/would/should be considered a "single frame" or an "instant". If such a thing is not possible in any format (visual, conceptual, or mechanical) then what are we discussing here?)
     
  31. Why bother? It's not important, and it'll end up in the usual worthless waffle...​
    How very profound and clever. How's that working out for you by the way, being clever ?
     
  32. jtk

    jtk

    Julie, I think the discussion was framed, and then modified, around two notions. The first involved "capture" of something that was casually called a "moment." As in HCB's "decisive moment" perhaps. The second notion was essentially a semantic error, attributing mistaken understanding by others (not by A.N, of course) of the word "instant."
    A.N evidently presumed someone here would find one or the other meaningful in relation to photography. But I think he failed to make that case: he assumed that, unlike himself, someone here would believe something that none of us do believe...
    I think it's great when we have the guts to risk expression of ideas that may be mistakes.
    If our imaginations are so feeble that all we can do is call ideas and discussions "worthless," we're wasting oxygen.
    A.N posed some ideas: I don't think they work. Disagreement is often more valuable than agreement.
     
  33. "You can't move through movement. You can't travel through travel..."
    How very profound... :) Cheers for giving us a bloody good laugh here... :)
     
  34. Is a photograph a copy of a real subject or is it a copy of a representation?​
    I don't think there is any black and white here. I remember being at a workshop once, and an older gentleman heckled the instructor (a professional nature photographer) because in one of the instructor's photos he used a wide angle lens, which changed the way the clouds in the photo looked. The older gentleman acted like it was a crime to have any type of distortion in a photo because "that isn't the way it really looked". The photographer answered (and I'm not going to try and paraphrase here) that it was more important to him to convey a certain emotion/feeling than to document a scene exactly as it was.

    On the other hand, I would hope that photo journalists who are reporting make the best effort they can to create a copy of the real subject. Understanding that it really is impossible to do this because the lens and eye don't see the same, I don't think a standard could be set. I would really hope that a PJ's goal was to document and not to make art.
    In the end, you look through the viewfinder, adjust your settings, snap an "image", and either sell it or show it to your friends.​
    Or the other option....delete it because it wasn't any good.
     
  35. "You can't move through movement. You can't travel through travel..."
    How very profound... :) Cheers for giving us a bloody good laugh here... :)
    And funnily enough that was exactly the point ( although not in yours ' everything is a worthless joke ' manner ). To expose the absurd validity of ' moving through time ' or ' the passage of time ' because time=movement / change and not some entity outside of it, something that one can actually travel / move / change through, even though the mind percieves it as such, making it substantially very real. Hence my you can't travel through travel, which makes the absurdity of it pretty much obvious, demonstrated now by your ' bloody good laugh ' at it. Thanks for making my point...: )
    Julie, I think the discussion was framed, and then modified, around two notions. The first involved "capture" of something that was casually called a "moment." ....​
    John, I believe the OP's main question was :" Is a photograph a copy of a real subject or is it a copy of a representation? ". True enough, I was the first to answer and didn't immediately answered that specific one, as I wanted to delve into the abstraction or the ' unreality ' of time, which probably wasn't a good idea as first answer in staying on topic. Later I did provided some obvious photo links dealing with the copy / representation question in photography. Then Fred Goldsmith provided a historical view of photography and it's relationship with realist painting to impressionism. I thought he did provided an interesting quote in context to the question, but you yourself replied rather strangely to it. The OP didn't replied at all. So now we're discussing the form in which the content is being discussed, and not discussing the content. Paul must be having a bloody good laugh about the worthlessness of it all.
     
  36. "Is a photograph a copy of a real subject or is it a copy of a representation?"
    Unfortunately, photography is a very poor instrument for capturing 'a moment of eternity' compared to our actual experience. When you are experiencing an event, you not only see what is happening visibly, but also hear the sounds, smell the odors, feel the heat/cold/rain/wind/pain, etc., etc. You are aware what happened earlier and what might come next. You are an active participant in a changing 4-dimensional environment, with time as the 4th dimension. Time is not just a perception, it is as real an entity as distance and mass, and it has nothing to do with how it is measured, with clocks or shutter speed. A camera only records an infinitesimal fraction of the immense information on a two diensional film negative or digital sensor. While it is better than nothing as a visual record, it would be a far cry to call it a good representation of the moment, and calling it a copy of reality is absurd.
     
  37. Paul
    If you don't bother about philosophycal issues, I politely ask you: what are you doing in a forum like that? Just stay in the Gallery area of photo.net looking and laughing....
     
  38. All
    To those who are trying to take my proposition and have a high level debate over the questions, I'd like to apologize for my reaction above to Paul's post.
    Let's go back to where we should stay and remind the very beginning of our discussion. As Phylo mentioned the main question was if a photograph is a copy of a real subject or if it is a copy of a representation. Implicit in my question is an affirmation that a photograph is a copy, which I think the majority here agree.
    Before asking that, I've mentioned time and its relationship with photographs just to make a point whether our senses are capable of capturing the "real" or if, even in our daily activities, all we face and fell are representations of the real objects, as described by several philosophers - and that photographs, with its intrinsic limitations, would only demonstrate that.
    I really think we can extract very good insights from several posts above. Let's keep exploring!
     
  39. "Implicit in my question is an affirmation that a photograph is a copy, which I think the majority here agree."
    Alexandre--
    That a photograph is a copy is, indeed, implicit in your question, but I'm not sure I agree with your characterization of the majority.
    I would say that photos can be copies, but many are not, nor are they trying to be.
    Back to painting for a sec. The Impressionists did not copy nature, they were more concerned withsome of those qualities you spoke of when referring to the apple: color, texture, light, movement. I wouldn't say that Monet didn't paint haystacks. He did. But I don't think he painted copies of haystacks. The Expressionists, rather than bringing out the qualities in things, explored their emotional relationships to them. Through more overt distortions, among other methods, they expressed their experience of things, of reality, if you will.
    A photographer can as easily approach his medium impressionistically or expressionistically, surrealistically or even nihilistically. In those cases, I don't think it would be fair to say he or she is making copies.
    Here's a recent photo of mine. It was taken with a slow shutter speed and flash while the main subject moved. What's it a copy of? While there are recognizable elements from the scene, had I wanted a copy, I would have set my camera very differently: http://www.photo.net/photo/8717793
    Plato thought painting, drawing, sculpture were copies/representations, therefore far-removed from the Forms, Being, that which he thought was Real. But Aristotle recognized the significance of artifice in the ability of humans to express and process their feelings, to show empathy with nature, provide moral insight and learning. Aristotle still fell into the "representative" camp of art, but paved the way toward less strict adherence to imitation and copies and more understanding of the subjective elements at play.
    You seem to be suggesting a Platonic view of photography, interesting to consider and reasonable because of the mechanisms and raw materials used. Ultimately, I don't think the unqualified statement that a photograph is a copy (if, by that, you mean to exclude the recognition that many are not) does justice to the full visual and expressive power of photographs.
     
  40. jtk

    jtk

    Phylo, the thread's headline and the bold-faced OT referred to "capture" and "moment," and had nothing to do with "real," "copy," or "representation." The OT asked two questions, one of them direct and coherent and the other less so (perhaps a language issue).

    "Capturing the moment or thinking you are?"
    "... trying to freeze time and capture a moment of eternity"

    I might have mentioned the OT's partial incoherence, but chose to comment only on the emphasized quotations...the subsequent light-typefaced text about "copy" etc didn't relate to the thread's headline or the initial bold-faced quotation, and little or no effort was made to relate it to photography....whereas we all know that "captured moment" is a conventional photographic metaphor.
     
  41. "time=movement / change"
    To me, "time" = state/condition/position. Therefore, change/movement = change of "time".
    By my trusty little definition, change/movement requires time, but time doesn't require change/movement (or human perception, of course...). If we think of a strange, hypothetical universe where absolutely nothing whatosever changes or moves, there's still "time"... It just that time never changes there... Time does, however, require something to actually exist, in order for it to possess a state/condition/position at all.
    Hope that's enough worthless waffle for the OP... :)
     
  42. Ah, alas, we humans tend to take ourselves too seriously. Sometimes the art and the enjoyment comes from not knowing and letting it be what it is. I think this sort of conversation is best left to the French, who have the "Je ne sais quoi" needed and quantities of wine able to sufficiently deal with it.
    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
    Mais, je pense, donc je suis stupide!
     
  43. I could not get to your web site to see what you mean Instead it asked me .Did you mean: www.annesphotography.com Top 2 results shown' And thats a wedding Photos Shop.<P> To me a photograph is a static image of a subject for that specific moment in time. Faster the shutter smaller the moment in time and records the fraction of expression (movement). In the end you may like / dislike or feel neutral to your effort.
     
  44. Personally I like "moment in time". Though there may be a trace or more of movement in a 1/125 snap we still experience a frozen captured moment for all intent and purposes when viewing a sharp image. Any deeper thought on the subject hurts my head and doesn't change the content of the photograph one bit.
     
  45. This is a fascinating subject. In my humble opinion, Photography is about capturing a moment, realizing a vision or expressing yourself. They all have different ways of showing themselves. One mans trash is another mans goldmine. It's still a very subjective field as far as one persons likes or dislikes of another's representation of a vision that the one pushing the button is seeing/feeling. Many are capable of getting the "shot", Most are not able conveying or presenting a picture that speaks for itself. That said, One photo can make a photograher.
    Keep shooting
     
  46. Julie H:
    ...can you explain "philosophically different from an "instant"" for me? What is this "instant" and/or, what would be philosophically the same as an "instant"?
    Nothing would be philosophically the same as an "instant" in this sense – which is sort of the point.
    You say you're "only half serious", and I know you're very aware that philosophy and physics both posit "ideal" entitities which are dimensionless. Classical physics is based on the dimensionless particle; classical and analytic geometry are based on the dimensionless point, the perfectly one dimensional line, the perfectly two dimensional plane. Nobody expects to actually met any of those things, but they are nevertheless fundamental to definition of theoretical frameworks. The "instant" is the temporal equivalent: a theoretical dimensionless moment of zero duration. (A Nunes was being poetic rather than literal when he said "not even mathematics can explain".)
    An analogy is absolute zero temperature... a theoretical state which we only approach ever more closely.
    John rightly talked of normal usage; and behind that normal usage lies the suconscious assumption that most photographs are taken in a duration of time so short as to differ in no signficant way from a dimensionless instant. In most cases, subjectively, for any shorp photograph, that assumption works – but is not, if we're being precise, true. Philosophically, as I know you are well aware, there is a big difference between a dimensionless entity and an extremely small one; practically, there may well not be.
     
  47. This has been dealt with almost a century ago, go and read Henri Bergson on cine-time (he deals with shutters and successive moments) in Creative Evolution and Matter and Memory. Walter Benjamin then critiques Bergson in his own essay On Some Motifs in Baudelaire which is also worth a read.
     
  48. Getting back to one of the original questions regarding making an image of a real thing or its representation. Isn't this the very thing astronomers deal with in every photograph they make? Light travels so far to get to their cameras that they take for granted that they are seeing the Universe as it was many light years ago. Yet they persist in believing that the images they get are trustworthy representations of real things. If a person could actually go to the source to see the celestial objects for himself at the right time they think he would find that the photograph is a dependable tool. Why shouldn't the same thing apply when the time light takes to go from subject to camera is so short it might as well be instant?
    If you believe that the subject of the photograph is actually an illusion, sometimes a very convincing one, why would anyone take it more seriously than a light amusement? As if to say, "The view I have of the world around me is undependable. The things I think I see are never there, and I'm always tripping over the unseen things that get in my way!" In many ways this depiction is true enough of one's interior mental construction of things, but the world external to us that our bodies live in seems to be made of more solid stuff. It persists and has an existance of its own. I do not believe that I will ever in my life find a Great Lake where Mt. Rushmore ought to be.
    Perhaps the question ought to be phrased, "How can the light reaching my camera be any more or less real than my subject itself?" Does light do a good job of transferring the appearance of something to me? Does the photographic process of image-making do a good job of replicating the subject? Can I trust the result? Doesn't this suggest that all photos have this risk of capture uncertainty built into them? If they're all the same then should I even be concerned about it? (How would I even know enough to suspect that a convincing photo isn't real? - BTW Isn't creating the illusion of reality out of nothing making Hollywood a lot of money in many movies?)
    "To reach the limit that not even mathematics can explain and trying to freeze time and capture a moment of eternity - that's what photography means to me and this is the reason I'm always trying to see things as unstable as they are."
    Mathematics explains many things in a systematic way, but you don't have to look very far to find ordinary things it can't touch. For example, why does my wife get so upset when I forget her birthday? Futhermore mathematics needs structure. "2 + something gives you a result" is not a proposition that can be solved without first reconstructing the expression into something that can be manipulated using the tools and principles mathematicians employ. In short, the limits of mathematics are everywhere around us every day in our ordinary lives.
    Chaos is presence without explanation
    Perhaps another word for instability is chaos. The OP goes on a bit about reality and such, but he doesn't tell us what his own quote really says. I have noticed in my daily life that most of the things I find and see around me are simply there. They all have stories to tell, of course, about what they are made of and how they got there, but these stories are almost never evident. Ordinary utilitarian objects occupy so much of the world around me that I tend not to notice them, but they are everywhere just the same. Suppose for a minute that I stop to ask simple questions such as what do they do and where did they come from? Who thought of doing things with an object like this anyway? What knucklehead put it in my way? You can see that simply by paying attention to ordinary things you can have and appreciate the experience of chaos around you. This can be quite profound because it will knock your illusions of controlling things in your life right out of you. Clearly there has always been and continues to be a lot going on the world without my knowledge and consent.
    As for seeing things as being "as unstable as they are," how could you not? No matter how hard you search, where would you find something stable, ie. something that doesn't come from chaos? What's so remarkable about something so ordinary? Ordinary as dirt - and even that's not stable in any way I can truly depend on. Aren't you being a little pretentious about this? I suppose the fact is that, whether you like it or not, things are what they are - at least as far as your camera is concerned.
     
  49. Felix,
    If we go to "normal usage", then I think that most photography and most art is considered to be a copy of a real subject. That's using homo sapiens consensus attitude as our yardstick. Both "time" and "real" are idealized abstracts for purposes of this discussion. We are settling for "normal usage," not something more rigourous such as this description by Max Tegmark:
    The ultimate triumph of physics would be to start with a mathematical description of the world from the "bird’s eye view" of a mathematician studying the equations (which are ideally simple enough to fit on her T-shirt) and to derive from them the "frog’s eye view" of the world, the way her mind subjectively perceives it. However, there is also a third and intermediate "consensus view" of the world. From your subjectively perceived frog perspective, the world turns upside down when you stand on your head and disappears when you close your eyes, yet you subconsciously interpret your sensory inputs as though there is an external reality that is independent of your orientation, your location and your state of mind. It is striking that although this third view involves both censorship (like rejecting dreams), interpolation (as between eye-blinks) and extrapolation (like attributing existence to unseen cities) of your frog’s eye view, independent observers nonetheless appear to share this consensus view. Although the frog’s eye view looks black-and-white to a cat, iridescent to a bird seeing four primary colors, and still more different to a bee seeing polarized light, a bat using sonar, a blind person with keener touch and hearing, or the latest robotic vacuum cleaner, all agree on whether the door is open.
    This reconstructed consensus view of the world that humans, cats, aliens and future robots would all agree on is not free from some of the above-mentioned shared illusions. However, it is by definition free from illusions that are unique to biological minds, and therefore decouples from the issue of how our human consciousness works.​
    We are specifically not interested in the "decoupled" view in this thread? Right?
    That makes things much simpler. As I said above, if that's how it's framed, I think much of art is a copy of the real (loosely defined).
     
  50. How about saying that a photograph and / or art is a subtraction from and an adding up to reality ? That what is 'subtracted' is still a part of the original and that what is ' added up ' becomes a part of it. The original continues to be, but without being copied.
     
  51. Phylo--
    Seems like a good description to me, especially because it recognizes that the photo is real and becomes part of reality. I especially like "[T]he original continues to be, but without being copied."
    Could you say a bit more about the subtraction. I'm not seeing that something is "subtracted" from the original, but rather that what's in the world are raw materials that are used in the making of something. It is true that some people look at having their pictures taken, for example, as having something stolen from them and I do see some street snaps as "stealing." But I wouldn't want to maintain that the photographer always subtracts from his subject.
    Also, I think there's a danger in talking about the "original," because it can lead to the kind of thinking that assumes a "copy" ensues. There are many other things going into the making of a photograph besides this so-called original (the subject). There is isolation within a frame, the particular moment in which the subject is photographed, the perspective of the photographer, what he or she brings to the occasion, the settings of the camera which must affect the subject. The original (the subject), can't really be stripped of these other aspects. Reality, I think we agree, is contextual. So talking about originals and copies seems to fall into the area of those types of dichotomies that don't tell the complete story.
     
  52. jtk

    jtk

    Tegmark's more cute than "rigorous"..favors verbal constructions over ideas.
    There are, as we all know, multiple "concensus" understandings of photography (consensii?).
    Julie's right about ONE concensus: Photos are "of" something for many or most people.
    Other populations have worried that photos stole souls... yet others talk about "images" rather than "of-ness" or "subject."
    Remember Stieglitz? Equivalents?
    "Of-ness" ( "copy" ?) seems the concensus of bird, travel, catalog, portrait, sports, and wedding photographers to name a few. But the consensus of camera users of the "artist" persuasion (or pose) has more to do with "image" than "of-ness." Stieglitz? Equivalents?
     
  53. And while we're on esoterics, let's not forget the observer effect - the very act of taking the photograph changes the subject, so the photo can never capture the 'truth'...
     
  54. the lawn needs mowing - enjoy camera life!
     
  55. jtk

    jtk

  56. I wonder if Philosophers should be allowed to have cameras. How can they depress a shutter button without giving themselves an anxiety attack?
     
  57. Could you say a bit more about the subtraction. I'm not seeing that something is "subtracted" from the original, but rather that what's in the world are raw materials that are used in the making of something.​
    Fred-
    The subtraction is not so much to be taken as anything becoming lesser because something is being ' subtracted ' from it, but much more as the spark of recognition that allows for looking closer at something particular, by ' subtracting ' all the things that surrounds it, which would be the wider scope that is the original ( which I take to be reality as the photographer or artist experiences it ) . The photographer and / or artist indeed starts from the worlds raw materials, from what's available for him/her and then adds something to this reality, some new viewpoint or perspective, a specific context is added.
    I see this subtracting and adding up without the divide in value that the terms might allude to and as a simultaneous understanding or recognition of different contexts within and of the original, which is our own perception of reality, not necessarily reality.
     
  58. I totally agree that capturing is different from recording and all this debate should be about the capacity of photographs to really capture a single moment and the difficulties we, as human beings limited by our senses, have in understand such peculiarities.
    Hmm, try taking some images of a hummingbird to clarify that you are recording an interval of time in a single image.
     
  59. Phylo--
    Thanks. Got it. Yes. I agree. I think often about the effects of isolating something by framing it with a camera. Subtracting peripheral vision, sometimes wide areas of context, etc. is part of the deal. And I agree that the subtraction is value free when used the way you are using it.
     
  60. It is perhaps best captured by a quotation I read recently: "Taking picutes is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second" - marc riboud​
     
  61. jtk

    jtk

    "...which is our own perception of reality, not necessarily reality."
    Verbal renditions of phenomena and ideas always return to square one unless they're entirely irrational, in which case they precede square one. QED
     
  62. Can you explain or limit what it is that is meant by "event" of which you say a photo is made of "several" and also, what is "a single frame" of which a photo is "never"?​
    What I meant is the following: to take a photo is to register an interval of time, as several comments in this thread has also explained and agreed. Considering that you are never capable of determine or capture/register a single frame - what you do is to capture/register a sequence of events that, by the limitations of our senses, appears to our eyes and mind like if it is just one.
    The Impressionists did not copy nature, they were more concerned withsome of those qualities you spoke of when referring to the apple: color, texture, light, movement. I wouldn't say that Monet didn't paint haystacks. He did. But I don't think he painted copies of haystacks.​
    Using the example of the Impressionists you've just confirmed my thesis that sometimes we are copying a representation of something when we photograph! A representation, but still a copy.
    I know I am not being able to follow-up every post, specially those who are questioning my initial proposition - I'll promise I'll try to catch up things in the weekend...
    Please keep posting once I think many good points of view are appearing and the debate is exciting.
     
  63. "Using the example of the Impressionists you've just confirmed my thesis that sometimes we are copying a representation of something when we photograph!"
    When you have time, please explain the logic that gets you to this conclusion. I don't understand how you've moved from what I said about Impressionism to the idea that a photograph is a copy of a representation. What are the steps that lead you from Impressionists expressing something about the qualities of nature to photographers photographing copies of representations?
     
  64. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometime a picture is just a picture!
     
  65. "...which is our own perception of reality, not necessarily reality."
    Verbal renditions of phenomena and ideas always return to square one unless they're entirely irrational, in which case they precede square one. QED​
    John-
    " Experience is as close to "reality" as we will ever get. " That's what you wrote a couple of posts back and I can agree with it. The agreement of that statement doesn't exclude however that reality is as close to reality as we could ever get. I think the division of experience ( our perception ) and " reality", the possibility that the mind can distinguish between those two concepts like you did, acknowledges this, that we can talk ( of it being real ) about our perception of reality vs reality, or more logically put perhaps : I believe that we can distinguish between the concept of reality vs our perception of it without giving over to irrationality. In either case, something being irrational or rational doesn't change anything but exposes our chosen fixed ( but adjustable ) point of reference towards reality. As it's not reality itself that makes things irrational or rational, but our perception of it. In this knowing one finds the latent proof...
     
  66. When you have time, please explain the logic that gets you to this conclusion. I don't understand how you've moved from what I said about Impressionism to the idea that a photograph is a copy of a representation. What are the steps that lead you from Impressionists expressing something about the qualities of nature to photographers photographing copies of representations?​
    Fred
    The steps were as follows: when you say "The Impressionists did not copy nature, they were more concerned withsome of those qualities you spoke of when referring to the apple: color, texture, light, movement", I understand that, when trying to express those qualities in their paintings, they were nothing but painting a representation of something they envisaged in a particular object (or scene if you like). If one, for instance, gave importance to the texture of apple and tried to refer to that in a particular drawing, what he was implicit doing was extracting a particular element that composes the totality of that apple and representing it in his painting. So, if I do the same with photography (if I try to extract from something an element of it) I am copying a representation of such characteristic.
     
  67. Photos are echos of light.
     
  68. jtk

    jtk

    " As it's not reality itself that makes things irrational or rational, but our perception of it. In this knowing one finds the latent proof..." - Phylo
    Phylo, perception cannot be "irrational" because rationality applies to verbalization, not to perception.
    Calling a perception "irrational" would be like calling a concept "orange."
    Let me try again: You evidently think perceptions can be expressed verbally. That's a fundamental error IMO. Concepts are typically verbal, but perceptions are sensory ("sensory" specifically involves sense organs of touch, sight, sound...we have many biological experiences that seem not to be sensory). When someone calls their concept a "perception" they are mis-speaking as much as they would if calling perceived "orange" a concept.
    "Orange" specifies a range of objectively measurable color involving yellow and magenta, which are themselves objectively measurable. In other words, "orange" is a phenomenon in "reality." Perhaps you'd agree that "reality" is a concensus involving factors that can be tested relatively "objectively," not merely debated, and agreed upon by most humans ? Or do you disagree with that concensus?
    Perceptions are direct biological responses to physical "reality," whereas concepts (and philosophical formulations and perhaps "art") are inherently not, they are second-hand. (The emotional beauty in second hand enterprises, such as "art" and "philosophy" may have to do with nostalgia, but that's another discussion) .
    Photography deals directly with perceptions, but it also gives us a second-hand realm in which to play conceptually...we can talk philosophy, lenses, methods, make aesthetic reviews etc.
    Word games (eg concepts), fun though they may be, are inherently incapable of coming to grips as directly with some of the "reality" of perception (eg sight, sound) as can photography, audio recording, video, and technological convergence...
     
  69. How did we learn our colors?
    "Orange" is a specific combination of electromagnetic frequencies, and it is a sensation in my head when that specific set of frequencies hits the retina of my eye and excites some nerves that end up exciting some neurons in my brain to produce a sensation I have learned to call, "orange". I call it that because every time I experienced that sensation, my parents told me to call it "orange" not because it is orange.
    It is vital to remember that, although we all call it "orange" when we get that sensation in our brains, we have no way of knowing if the sensation, the experience I have when I experience "orange", is the same as anyone else's. Language will prevent us from ever finding out. It is highly likely that we all have different sensations when we experience "orange" and we will never be able to "grok" another's experience of the color.
    So there is a "reality" of orange, and an experience of orange, and it's not a word game. Well, the "reality" part may be a word game after all.
     
  70. "If one, for instance, gave importance to the texture of apple and tried to refer to that in a particular drawing, what he was implicit doing was extracting a particular element that composes the totality of that apple and representing it in his painting."
    Alexandre--
    OK. I understand your thinking better. Thanks. I'm with you in thinking of "representation" more along the lines of "signifying" than of "copying." Signs are important. But they don't just point back to the source. They lead in many directions.
    Your use of "representation" and "copy" seems object-oriented. For me, it leaves out how stuff looks and feels. Sometimes, it's about how a photo looks or makes me feel, not what it looks like or what it makes me think of.
     
  71. Phylo, perception cannot be "irrational" because rationality applies to verbalization, not to perception.​
    I didn't said that perceptions are irrational. What I said was that perceptions start from a point of reference, and it is this point of reference that we use to form our concept of reality, which might be irrational. Our concept of reality is indeed a concensus, meaning NOT unanimous. Philosophy, the mother of science, is not a democracy, which any form of concensus would suggest, if it was...the earth would still be flat.
    While I agree with the concencus that makes up our concept of reality, here and now, formed by our perceptions, I do acknowledge that it is never permanently fixed and likely to change and shift, either in the broader single scope of our concept of reality or in every other small part that makes up the whole. You conveniently narrow down your definition of perceptions to our reaction or response to physical reality ( > " Perceptions are direct biological responses to physical "reality," " ) which wrongly cancels out that perceptions are as equally about mental impressions and awareness, intuition, as they are about our direct response to physical (= measurable ) reality.
    I think perceptions are neither rational nor irrational, as it all depends from the point of reference. The phantom pain or itch that the man with no legs has a perception of in his right leg is very much real for him, while for those of us not handicapped in such a way it may seem irrational. I think the brain is neither rational nor irrational, but your point against the ' irrationality of perception ' ( which I never took claim of ) seems to suggest a rationality to which everything can be measured up against. I don't believe in this.
    Which isn't to say that I refute the consencus of our concept of reality, but to put it semi-poetic, I see this concept as a valley of perceptions in which we move slowly and deliberately but without ever knowing the path that lays before us, let alone know what is behind the steep hills that surround us both left and right. This valley of perception, which is all we've got here & now, might as well be the valley of deception.
    QED - proven knowledge, yes. And : - " Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. " - Albert Einstein
     
  72. jtk

    jtk

    Phylo, I've not conveniently narrowed the definition of "perception," I've used the word in the most rigorous way. Extending that term to a mental (conceptual, non sensory) process is a deceptive stretch...poetic license doesn't apply here :)
    One's "sensorium" (famous old-fashioned physiological psychology term) is the universe that one feels, sees, tastes, smells...the "reality" we are aware of on the basis of our senses, having nothing to do with the ruminations of Einstein. Bristol Palin, and everybody else, knows as much about "reality" as did Einstein.
     
  73. Your use of "representation" and "copy" seems object-oriented. For me, it leaves out how stuff looks and feels. Sometimes, it's about how a photo looks or makes me feel, not what it looks like or what it makes me think of .​
    Fred
    I agree with you that many times a photo can make us feel something - isn't this feeling just another form of representation?
     
  74. Not to me. You'd have to flesh out what you mean by a feeling as a representation.
     
  75. are you interested in photography or philosophy?
     
  76. I'll go back to original question.
    First, it is a long time since the concept of time has been in the scope of philosophy. These days time is firmly in the hands of physics.
    In a purely practical sense, appropriate for this discussion, time is just part of tools in kinematics (part of physics that deals with motion) to describe events. The other part of the tools is of course space. Similarily like nothing can be positioned in a point, also nothing can happen in a moment. Objects occupy a region of space and events happen in time intervals.
    In physics the concepts of dividing space into points and time into points (i.e. moments) have been abandoned long time ago. Points have dimension zero and do not have the same measure as three dimensional space, one dimensional time, or if you like, four dimensional spacetime. You can not construct one-, two-, three- etc. dimensional manifolds from zero dimensional points. In this sense discussing points of space or moments of time is physically wrong. For example, Zeno paradox of Achilles and turtle originates from wrong concept that space is divided into points and time into moments. If you translate Zeno's story into modern language of physics, describing space as dividable into regions and time dividable into intervals, paradoxes do not emerge.
    In the view of physics the photography in the simplest form would be mapping by lens of three dimensional scene into two dimensional record, using light emited or reflected in the scene and integrated for a time interval, defined by shutter speed.
    The mapping has two interesting features: it reduces space and time dimension by one. Consequence: events and scene can not be unambiguously reconstructed from a photo.
    Therefore photo is not a copy of objects photographed, because some information has been lost during the process. Consequence: illusions by photography are possible or even unavoidable, even if Photoshop is not applied (think of pole emerging from aunt's head).
    Did I manage to complicate things? :))
     
  77. “Did I manage to complicate things? :))”
    Holy galloping codfish, I’m so confused; just have to think about applying some simple common sense to all this special stuff...
    Let’s have a little think.
    Mathematics , is really about imagination. The very basic stuff is based on a simple religious concept ... the word or numerical expression zero. A simple concept to explain a place between Alpha and Omega. So, let us move on to greater understanding, the understandings that the imagination seeks, and the mathematics finds.
    The photographers travels to the same place but on a different path.
    Both revealing truths...
     
  78. Not to me. You'd have to flesh out what you mean by a feeling as a representation.
    Fred

    If for example I look to a photograph of a father and a son and it makes me remind my childhood an all the love I feel about my own father, I understand I can say this photo is a kind of a representation of love, more than just a ordinary scene.
     
  79. Is a photograph a copy of a real subject or is it a copy of a representation?​
    There's something odd and even wasteful in posing a question this way to photographers. A photographic apparatus detects and records radiation it collects. Optical devices use lenses to collect light, radio devices use large dish-like antennas, & etc. This radiation is thought to contain information about the objects that originate or reflect it. Devices have been built to collect information from objects arriving in many wave lengths both visible and invisible to human beings.
    The question posed here appears to be whether or not radiation arriving in a camera provides the operator enough information so that later on when he sees the result he is willing to believe that it describes an actual object. I wish someone could have been clear enough to write, "Is the subject I see in my photo really there?" There. I did it myself. This leads to a more interesting exploration of the kinds of visual clues reasonable, rational people use to tell truth from fiction.
    Telling truth from fiction lies at the heart of the interesting version of the OP's question. But he could be seriously confused about what a photographer would say informs his work. He seems to be more interested in ancient philosophical discussions of objects as shadows vs. objects as real things: What does the mind make of the world around it? How does the mind know the world around it? Although there is always someone willing to rise to the bait, it seems to me that a discussion like this one is more suitable for a typical Philosophy class than it would be for a Photography course. It should be in the 'Off Topic" forum on PN instead of this one.
    So now I propose: "Moderator, please move this thread to the Off Topic Forum."
     
  80. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    Albert, most of the participants in this thread have had no trouble relating the original post to photography. You're quite welcome to add your perspective to the discussion, but it's not up to you to decide how other people can approach the question.
     
  81. Albert Richardson:
    "Telling truth from fiction lies at the heart of the interesting version of the OP's question. But he could be seriously confused about what a photographer would say informs his work."
    Who is this "a photographer"?
    If A Nunes was talking about me , you would be right. If talking about you , perhaps (I can't know, but from what you say: probably) you would be right. But A Nunes is talking about what informs the work of A Nunes, and A Nunes is a photographer.
    One of the values of this forum is that it allows out into clearsight the immense diversity of what informs different photographers' work.
    "...a discussion like this one is more suitable for a typical Philosophy class than it would be for a Photography course."
    (1) This isn't a photography course (or any other sort of course). It's a philosophy of photography (both words) discussion forum. A Nunes is talking about his philosophy of photography; others are talkng about their different philosophies of photography.
    (2) Photography courses come in many kinds. On some of them this would be inappropriate; on others valuable. I would personally be very glad to hear my students arguing this way.
    "Moderator, please move this thread to the Off Topic Forum."
    That would, in my opinion, be a very great pity.
    This post has generated a tremendous amount of discussion, almost all of it related to photography.
    I personally disagree with most of what has been said, but that's not a bad thing . So long as it remains civil (which, again, it has) disagreement is vital to progress.
     
  82. I wish there was a Philosophy of Photocopying forum, then we could have an equally amusing debate on the matter of "Is a photocopy a copy of a real subject or is it a copy of a representation?"... :) And yes, 99.999% of people would be quietly chuckling over a beverage of their choice at all the pointless, confused codswallop being bandied around in the name of "philosophy"... As usual.
    Reality is what it is (no matter how our teeny human brains choose to describe it) and our perceptions of it are what they are. Ooooh, how exciting... :)
     
  83. "If for example I look to a photograph of a father and a son and it makes me remind my childhood an all the love I feel about my own father, I understand I can say this photo is a kind of a representation of love, more than just a ordinary scene."
    Alexandre--
    I understand your example. The great thing about a photograph is that there could be a case where you assume they are father and son and, in fact, they turn out to be uncle and nephew at the brother/father's funeral, not primarily experiencing love but experiencing sorrow. Your emotional reaction remains a genuine one to what you've seen. But has a father-son love been represented? And, if not, how much does that matter? That's a case of mistaken identity but shows that the associative powers of a photograph can go beyond the reality of the moment of exposure, one of the joys of making that exposure.
    Even if we remove the possibility of mistaken interpretations in your example, "representation" implies a literal translation of the love of father and son. On a recent photo of mine, a friend wrote that he found it evocative but couldn't put his finger on what it evoked. I've had that sort of experience with photographs. I think there's something beyond representation going on there. Listening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, I may sense fate knocking at the door, yet Beethoven may very well have heard a child bang on the table in four successive beats and been moved by that to crank out a tune. Though I may experience, even hear, fate, I don't think it would be fair to say that fate has been represented. A subject of a portrait and I, together, may come upon a certain pose that works. That pose may simply feel right at the moment, very often the more significant aspect of the process of making a photograph than the actual meaning of what is being done. Viewers may see elements of dance in that pose, may interpret it as an ominous pose or a sweet pose, etc. I may simply have responded to the visual ease of the pose or the intensity of it, I may have liked how a shadow got created by the arms and legs. The viewer is, of course, legitimately seeing and feeling what he is seeing and feeling. But, in this case, has dance or any of what the viewer interprets been represented? I think there is not necessarily, though there may often be, such a direct translation from photographer through photograph to viewer as the word "representation" suggests. Many photographs are effective because they are illusions, semblances rather than representations. The expressiveness of a certain type of photograph may be more significant than its representational meaning.
     
  84. Albert-
    Chill out. You have a point, but it is definitely photography and philosophy- hence the forum name.
    Photography is a "time" art. However we as humans are really the only ones who understand it. When all is said and done it will come down to the technical, not the philisophical- therefore we are really just capturing a rendering of something via a light sensitive medium. I could go on with my philisophical approach, but it has no bearing on the hugely pluralistic nature of life.
     
  85. "it will come down to the technical, not the philisophical"
    one of the reasons there are so many absolutely dull but pretty and well-exposed photographs.
     
  86. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! well, one of the reasons. Thank god for "thinking outside the box" though:)
     
  87. No harm no foul. Not for me anyway.
    Generally when I have heard discussions of a person's philosophy of his craft the objective was to find out his thoughts about his practice. There would be an interest in his views on the subject and, in particular, his approach and the goals for his own work. This being an effort to ask a person in a positive way what he is thinking when he practices his craft. If he replies with a non sequitur about Aristotle of Immanuel Kant then we know things have gone wrong and we start over. - Wrong kind of Philosophy.
    This sort of thing might be the meaning of a title like "The Philosophy of Photography." I suppose it could also cover the ground you might expect in a Survey of Photography or a History of Photography program emphasizing actual perspectives associated with notable photographers. You can see room to explore the influence of other disciplines in photography inasmuch as one might find examples of them.
    So it is Photography and Philosophy, but not necessarily Philosophy as a formal independent discipline of the sort one usually means when he calls someone a "Student of Philosophy." This would be helpful in a place devoted to Photography when the Philosopher has addressed himself to topics people who practice photography find to be interesting and useful. Many people have writings in the field on a host of issues and concerns Philosophers have including the nature and experience of reality vis-a-vis human beings. But I think that this sort of thing lies beyond the purpose of opening the topic in the first place, which seems to have been to ask where the stuff in front of the OP's camera is with respect to the camera itself. If it moved, then how can it be there? - Useful or not?
     
  88. "what we will capture is NOT a single moment, it is actually a kind of a short movie or the sequence of infinite moments that our eyes and thoughts cannot reach! "​
    What we capture is NOT a short movie either. The short movie analogy is still infinitely inaccurate because each frame of a movie is a static image containing infinite moments. Actually, that's true for all sight due to the limits of the human visual processing system. I guess that just further supports the second part of your statement, that our eyes and thoughts cannot reach the reality.
    Others have tackled the philosophical part of the discussion very well. I just wanted to point out this one issue I noticed with the premise.
     
  89. Albert-
    "If he replies with a non sequitur about Aristotle of Immanuel Kant then we know things have gone wrong and we start over. - Wrong kind of Philosophy."
    I disagree. Just as a photograph comes down to technicality, there is but one "philosophy". Granted their are several branches, but thought is thought, no matter who is doing it. Unfortunately most PN users can't reference actual philosophers (I include myself for the most part), so the discussion typically becomes all mucked up in mixed ideas from every part of philosophy, even when the ideas are just opinions and not based in any understanding of the current wave of thought which itself has a foundation of thousands of years of informed thought and understanding. I personally would like to see more references to actual philosophy and why that great (huge) body of knowledge is important to photography and how it is influential upon photography and our various perspectives of the world we live in today. Maybe if more people read that kind of stuff, photography would offer more than just "absolutely dull but pretty and well-exposed photographs" as Fred puts it. On that note maybe we should talk about the atomists or empirical evidence as a "philisophical" starting point for this "exposure" conundrum.
     
  90. Martin--
    Right you are.
    Recently, a PN photographer mentioned Plato's Allegory of the Cave in reference to one of my more "shadowy" photos. I didn't particularly find the reference applicable to that photo in particular, but told him I think it is extremely applicable to photography per se. We often get into discussions about whether or not a photograph captures the reality of the moment of capture. That reality, its possibilities, its "seemingness," and its actuality, is discussed by Plato in the Cave Allegory and, to me, is one of the most photogenic passages in all Philosophy.
    http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/GREECE/ALLEGORY.HTM (skip the Divided Line and scroll a bit down to the Allegory).
    Aristotle recognized the cathartic nature of representational art. Plato thought that same representational quality was false and misleading. Discussing Aristotle and Plato relative to Photography has much merit. It's precisely the right kind of Philosophy.
    Kant suggested moral imperatives. He proved moral leanings and features of being human. (I think those proofs are wrong and misguided, but enlightening.) Morality is often discussed with regard to photographing. An understanding of morality would be so helpful in those discussions which tend to flail about aimlessly based on unfounded opinions and unsubstantiated claims. Kant also believed in a sort of unreachable world of reality, a world behind and creating the world of appearances we perceive. Albert, if the notion of appearances and how they get created and interpreted doesn't apply to Photography, then I must be thinking strangely about Photography.
     
  91. jtk

    jtk

    Fred's post, above, seems a brilliantly concise description of a spin on "philosophy of photography."
    It might be helpful to remember that this Forum is said (on the home page) specifically to be "Discussion encompassing ethical, aesthetic, and sociological aspects of photography."
    Oddly, perception is overlooked.
    Few here seem interested in perception in photography: the sensory response to light in the environment (eg print or world or viewfinder)...the biological response.
    One can, if one lies to oneself, wishing to confuse oneself, deny that perceptions assemble into wholes, in turn constituting "reality." A zen practitioner might laugh at the idea that there's a clap without two hands...but I suspect he wouldn't write "philosophically" about it (the difference between practitioners and teachers). He might, however, be interested in the light on the hands or in the sound of clapping.
     
  92. I think that John's "perceptions assemble into wholes, in turn constituting 'reality' " is reasonable, justifiable, and he is not alone in his thinking. Though I think Plato's understanding of perceptions is deep and worth reading and his take on different ways reality reveals itself and also hides itself is worth considering, I don't like his setting up of the Unknown and Unperceived Reality as a mysterious and godlike concept.
    Interestingly, Plato talked a lot about Knowledge and Opinion and made a lot of judgments about each. Opinions, he thought, were a dime a dozen. On that, I think he was onto something. Not recognizing what's an Opinion is even worse in Plato's eyes.
     
  93. If you would like a taste of how "real" philosophers treat photography, you might be interested in reading a review of the collection of essays, Photography and Philosophy: Essays on the Pencil of Nature, Scott Walden (ed.).
    Based on the review, it's my feeling that the philosophers who contributed essays to the book don't understand photography and/or don't like it very much. << ----[ that is an Opinion ]
     
  94. Fred and John-
    I am gratified by your insightful responses. I am interested in Photography in so many varying manner everything is fair game. Although some people prefer to focus very specifically, I tend to continue applying new philisophical and technical theory whenever I work- a method that works for me wonderfully. This couldn't be more timely as I have just finished an installation which deals with many of these qualities and leaves me steeped in thought (yes my own work makes me think about photography- the "canon" of).
    My recent piece- http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_pHu9jZzvgNg/SfdRWeYGFQI/AAAAAAAAAPI/JYvaQI--TCQ/s1600-h/MOMENT+1.jpg -is an outdoor installation comprised of some 50+ 8.5x11 prints of un-retouched, digital, abstract photographs taken with a point and shoot camera, and cut into 7 inch hexagons. They are installed publicly using glue and tape, with the intent for them to be un-installed, and the understanding that unforseen- but a potentially limited amount of- events will have some sort of effect on the materials and help describe the pluralistic and flexible nature of the medium- among the many other things which the piece is about. I photograph the piece throughout its installation documenting its "life". I did such in this case, photographing it the day and night of installation, awaiting the coming week's worth of rain and sun and what-not, while I was away for a week. Upon my return I found the piece to be gone, where I may never know- partly saddening and exciting. The piece, in a respect, has been reduced to 1's and 0's and is now squarely situated only in the technical realm. Yet it also inhabits the world of memory and even approaches the "existential" realm, much like the original post was partly about. I have been at this point before, but it none-the-less has had an impact on how I view and perceive my work, and which obviously had some sort of impact on another person, enough for them to take it down.
     
  95. Philosophically the true story behind a man who gained his sight after years of blindness puts a new spin on Plato's Cave allegory in the movie At First Sight http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0132512/. The main character as a human is hard-wired to learn about the world around him with what ever senses he is given. He has had no sight for so much of his life that he perceives the world differently and has a hard time even interpreting an image when sight was given/restored. The mental picture of Truth he knew of the world was real but limited. We could say his 'view' was distorted by his limited scope of sensory input and thus inferior to a sighted person; but it is hubris to believe those with sight or a good camera would know more truth and thus the whole truth of their own limited perspective. He then has to make sense of the discordant images of things he never saw before but did imagine. To put ourselves in his position imagine If we start taking pictures of other wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum for the first time. We start to 'see' how much we really don't see and thus are blinder than a bee when it comes to UV radiation for instance.
    We with the eye for photography would be said to be more fixated on the sense of sight than some and thus see different truths to a situation than others and may see simple objects in a way that others ignore.
    From an objective view of photography one see millions of photons of light reflected, refracted or emitted from objects that traveled for several Millennia, years, or minutes from the galaxies, stars, and sun, or small fractions of a second from the local source. The photons that were intercepted by a complex apparatus called eyes or a camera were affected by how they were incident or emergent from many points in the objective point of view during the time it took the sensory systems to absorb enough photons of certain very specific wavelengths that are visible to humans and thus called "light." Photography is inherently 2 dimensional most of the time and thus throws away a lot of the information thrown at the observer. Then the sensory apparatus must give way to the brain and or computer chip processing of the image and thus subjectivity takes even more hold on the image of the 'truth' which was always a very limited perspective of a situation. A monitor refresh rate of as low as 1/30th of a second can give an illusion of a flickering TV picture as fluid motion because we see not at the truth at the ultimate Planck scale ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time ) of time and space but at a human scale. Then the image must filter through the observer's neural pathways which takes at least 1/10th of a second and are dependent on previous experience and current state of mind and body thus loosing the true moment of eternity. Then no matter the material the image will fade or be destroyed by entropy.
    As a photographer then it is our task to choose the various settings of that clunky camera to do what our eyes and brains do for us somewhat automatically subconsciously and emphasize what is important at that 'moment' to us consciously. We divert attention to a situation or object in a situation that has some significance to us by snaring a few photons and process them into an Image (electronically or chemically) onto a limited medium. Then we hope that another will respond and see things our way despite being raised to see things in their own special way with their own apparatus. Thus a picture is not a movie but a summation of many moments and conditions not even present at the "moment of eternity."

    -"Is a photograph a copy of a real subject or is it a copy of a representation?"
    A photography is Neither of these. It is the original limited-representation or almost non-representation that can be copied and processed many ways. It is never truly seen the same even when processed or viewed by the same person under one lighting condition or monitor calibration because the human mind still processes the representation of the original finite information entity that excluded all other information at that segment of time according to its own predilection. A Camera Obscura ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_obscura ) by definition excludes the all light at that moment in all but a very limited plane of recording media/selective viewing. An observer is by definition is discrete but also in flux.
     
  96. Christopher-
    Very well put. Having read my share of physics, theory and philosophy oriented books, and watched enough science channel and Nova to make anybody's eyes water and head hurt, I actually can follow and understand and even concur with your response. Now, does the carpenter represent Jesus (a fellow carpenter) or string theory (the basic building blocks of everything)? :) You've also moved into semiotics- maybe there is more than just a little philosophy involved in your take.
     
  97. Martin S: quite apart from the thread, I very much like your photo installation.
     
  98. Martin--
    I also like it and appreciate your posting and discussing it. I think there is great potential in such living and conceptual work with photographs. It's hard to imagine the level of letting go that you have to achieve in order to create such a work, let alone have it removed like this. Perhaps it becomes a work of nihilism or dadaism or perhaps it simply falls into the category of vandalism. Either way, there is some gratification in the recognition that there is meaning in the fact that you'll never know where it's gone. In some ways, that's true of every photo one gives to the public. The figurative has met the literal. At a certain point, your photo is out of your hands.
     
  99. Felix and Fred-
    Thank You for the compliments. Fred, it does taking a lot of letting go. Photography in some respects is a very rigid, even conservative medium- as Chris pointed out so well. Going the other way is hard, but fruitful and rewarding. I still struggle with it sometimes- assembling a piece in the studio that works for me on many levels- just to leave it to the elements. It feels like being hit in the gut- no exaggeration! And sometimes nothing great comes of the piece that was good while still in the studio! Letting go is hard to do.... but fun. Thanks again. -Martin
     
  100. More thought: Life=Movement (go to the most fundamental levels) -therefore a photograph is a mechanized recording of something that never really existed in the first place: stillness within life. The subject, the light, the ambiance are all very real- but move, they "live". The 1's and 0's, and subsequent prints etc... that now represent this "life" are in themselves a new reality- stillness- any change in that "lifeless" reality would therefore be movement and thusly "life".
     
  101. I also had a college professor that said, "Pictures are for beers. I take photographs." :)
     
  102. Fred
    I really appreciate your May 10th post, related to my last comment. I think we are in the right track here in this thread with many more contributins and open-minded comentators than the opposite (although we still have those who like to show up in the middle of a progressive and constructive debate just to criticize it - OK, we should be open to that)
    All: as the OP I should be more present to the discussions but unfortunatelly work is taking much of my time right now. Please lets keep feeding good ideas and references. I promised I'll be back soon.
     
  103. In theory, there is no such thing as a discreet moment in the supra-quantum world. Photography relies upon the laws of physics. Every photograph, no matter how short the exposure time and how still the subject, in theory should contain some level of motion blur, because nothing is ever totally still.
    The concept of limit and its epsilon-delta definition from calculus is apropos here. The faster the shutter speed, the closer we get to having a theoretically sharp image (in other words an infinitely short exposure time), but we can never get there in theory, because only a shutter speed of zero would achieve it. A fast shutter speed only reduces motion blur; it can never totally eliminate it theoretically speaking.
    Yet, practically, there is such a thing as a perfectly sharp image, in photography; one that represents a moment. How can this be so? The answer lies in another limit: the limit of the system's resolving power. When our imaging system lacks the resolving power to sufficiently represent the motion blur, it is as if we indeed have a sharp image.
    In the macroscopic world, which appears to be analog or continuous in nature, a good approximation of a moment is, for all intents and puroposes, visually indistinguishable from a "true" moment in the theoretical sense. As far as I know, photography is the only method that allows us to visually "capture" a "moment".
    Regards,
    Val J. Albert
     
  104. jtk

    jtk

    Fred: I don't think your Greeks (or anybody) had "PERceptions." They had CONceptions. I'll accept that the two are commonly construed to be the same,despite dubious word usage, but the point I've tried to make is that PERCEPTION is the role of senses, not of mind. Yes, mind can interpret senses, but mind is not similar to senses.
    Photography deals first with perceptions, at another level with conceptions.
    Mind and senses are distinct...senses (such as output of rods and cones in eyes, without which we don't experience visual world or photographs) can be measured, whereas mind can only be reported.
    Brain activity can be measured, perhaps indicating conceptualizing, but the activity of the brain is not only or necessarily "mind." Brain activity that we measure is electrical, heat, chemical etc... none of that is "mind" and there are no related senses other, perhaps, than heat and other primative non-referential feelings (agitation, meditative state etc).
    I think it'd be better to use "conceptions" instead of "perceptions" when referring to ideas (such as those of Greeks) because, when we don't, we reduce our physical existence(as sensed) to mere ideas (as conceived)...one commonly overlooked Buddhist concept is that physical existence is closer to "reality" than is anything more ephemeral and dubious...such as an individual's "soul."
     
  105. John--
    Plato had many concepts about the role of perception. Most of what he talked about was the difference between Ideas (the ultimate of which were the Forms) and perceptions. He felt Ideas were far superior to perceptions and that only Ideas constituted reality. That's what I was talking about . . . and, as I said, disagree with. Nevertheless, as I said, his thinking about the matter was deep and is worth understanding because, though his conclusions may be wrong, much of his way of looking at things is enlightening. Where, specifically, do you think I conflated conception and perception?
     
  106. John-
    Conception=creator & Perception=viewer in respect to visual arts. Is that right?
     
  107. jtk

    jtk

    Martin, I may not fully understand your post, but if you're suggesting that visual arts result in or spring from concepts of viewers/creators, transmitted from artist to viewer by perceptual media, probably becoming part of the viewer's concepts...yes...that works for me.
    Also, Martin, your installation was obviously worth the effort...great stuff. I don't know quite how to understand disappearing installations (as yours, or as done by ice sculptors or a painter I once knew), but not understanding may be the real juice in the whole exercise :)
    Phylo, yes...thanks for remebering Waking Life. Lots of clips on Youtube...for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtuYWyjk4ZI&feature=related. Dreams do challenge my perception/conception model...but I don't think they're "perceptions" even though they're typically visual...I think they're closer to conceptions: mind events which, like "conceptions" more generally, can lead to emotional and intellectual responses and in turn can do the"dream work" Freud talks about...which can be like dues-paying or having some waking experience, and doesn't require interpretation any more than waking experience requires interpretation..
    Fred, I obviously misread something you said re Greeks/perception/conception. HOWEVER, since we're on the bleeding edge of something nearly (but not) semantic, it might be helpful if we could hear them speak, rather than read translated transcriptions, stuff some scholar said they said. I'm sensitive to this, partially because I'm reading one version of Odessey, preferring it strongly to another, and comparing to my memory of a relatively recent reading of James Joyce's Ulysses..
    What did Plato and Socrates consider to be perceptions? Images of stuff they identified in their environments? My tendency is to reduce "perception" to the bits of information as noticed and not organized into anything, probably not even patterns but certainly not "images", by tactile, olfactory, and optical sensors.
     
  108. I agree with what you're saying re translations, etc. When one studies the Greeks, hopefully, a lot of the study is spent on comparing translations and really nuancing how they were using particular Greek words at the time. Very rarely, for example, will a Classics Philosophy professor use a translation of the word logos after he's given a long-winded explanation of the concept. No English word would suffice, though many texts translate it to "account" or even "discourse." The student would usually be assigned at least half a dozen articles on the word "logos" so that he could use it with the proper shades of meaning it demands. The Greek word psuche would never be translated to "psyche" because you'd never want to start associating it with that and not be mindful of the importance of breath in the concept. When I studied the Pre-Socratic philosophers, of whom only fragments are left, most of the time was spent on such considerations not only of what words could be proved to have been actually said but of what those words actually meant in the time and within the context . . .
    As for Plato's and Socrates's use of "perception," they don't seem to have distinguished as finely as we would these days between the bits of information as noticed and the subsequent yet pre-conceptual organization or patterns of those bits. Since the organization of those bits is still so closely related to the bits, Plato would certainly still consider them in the realm of the senses, therefore in the realm of changing (Becoming rather than Being), therefore untrustworthy, and therefore merely like the shadows reflected on the wall of the cave. But, as we start abstracting and essentializing that organization, we start getting closer to the Forms or Ideas which Plato believed were the objects of true Knowledge and at a level high above perception. Perceptions, he would say, help us form Beliefs, which only take us so far. Ideas, he would say, are the realm of Knowledge and Truth, far surpassing mere Belief (which is much more like Opinion).
    Regarding your first paragraph to Martin: Significant for me is not just the perceptible media but my perceptions and sensibilities while holding the camera. I can't see limiting the perception part of the equation either to the medium or to the viewer or to both. The photographer may more importantly be perceiving and visualizing in that "springing from" part of the equation even if he's also conceiving as he creates.
     
  109. jtk

    jtk

    Fred, yes. Thanks.
    Photography does tend to center on instant decisions, which makes it similar to archery for me: In archery (traditional version) my experience is that I'm likely to hit what I perceived the instant of release, but if my awareness had drifted faintly at the moment of release, that's where the arrow would go. It's commonly said, and subjectively valid, that the smaller the "spot" on the target the more accurate the archer. I think this relates to philosophic concern about "reality" and "truth," but words can't come as close as can an arrow.
     
  110. Martin Sobey , May 12, 2009; 11:20 p.m.
    The picture is partly a representation of Christ in that we were told to look for the faces of God in what went on durring our mission trip to Mississippi to rebuild after Katrina. Here is the rest of the series. http://christopherlmoore.com/faces/
     
  111. John-
    I was just trying to untangle the semantic region of my brain! Thanks for the nice words too. I find it funny that you mention Ice sculpture- as I have also gone there with my installations http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_pHu9jZzvgNg/SZhD8PtrXKI/AAAAAAAAAMg/cch8M5lXYok/s1600-h/P1219312.jpg
    I guess its about, in part, the potential- just as with quantum mechanics. That potential for something to happen, as time moves on, is big for me. The piece grows as it deteriorates.
    Christopher Moore-
    When you are looking for something you will find it, however I am still unsure what I'm looking for. I think partly I am trying to show others a route to finding something.
     

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