Fresh Air

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by samstevens, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. I’m not a history buff and the historical/factual/social aspects of the photo aren’t as important as my emotional take but they may influence or just interestingly accompany that response. I’m not sure how social aspects of a photo would NOT be relevant to documentary work, in varying degrees.

    as someone who loves and practices photography, I’m interested in what motivates/inspires/is of interest to a photographer who makes a picture I care about. And understanding the historical and social context in which it was made brings me closer to the photographer which I find, in turn, inspiring.

    I’m by no means suggesting anyone else feel this way. Just explains why some of these things at some time or another are quite relevant to me and why categorical denials of their relevance don’t make much sense to me.

    Updatings of Shakespeare are mostly if not all done with very much knowledge of the history and original context. Otherwise they’d be mostly incoherent, nonsensical or shallow.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  2. I someone told me the photograph was Cleopatra I’d be inclined to look at them sideways......
    samstevens likes this.
  3. I get the impression MO doesn’t know Shakespeare (and probably looks at most people sideways :) )
  4. +1

    Looking sideways and even upside down at photos, on the other hand, is a must. :)

    Seriously, it can be great fun, and enlightening about the more abstract elements at play even in the most socially relevant of photos. My first viewing of the photo actually operated on a bit more abstract a level, where I simply saw the vehicle and particularly the window as a strong frame which went along with the strong-though-as-yet-unspecified-in-my-mind gesture of the knuckled hand in front of her face.

    Shapes and light can have as much influence on responses as subject and narrative. Looking sideways can be a great way to see!
  5. OK. I don’t see Lange’s photo as anything other than a photo and a perfect metaphor for the Nikon thread about future requests that include a definition of f4 to 18 decimal places or Ruslan’s belief that a photo of a beautiful woman is not a cliche :)
  6. i am still working through the 'end of an era' part of the title/caption. ? while digging around, it was interesting to find out that Szarkowski was a young boy when he first saw the photo.
  7. No it is not. And the fact that you say so is unbelievable arrogance.
  8. I'm concidering the mouth as on of the mager mirror of human emotions. It's literally out of picture in above photo, so I see intense thinking in this portrait.
  9. I see ambiguity of emotion as well as I said, many things about the photo convey strength to me but I don’t get much of a specific emotion otherwise.
  10. Thanks for that bit of research. I did wonder about the reviewer’s presentation of Szarkoski’s first response because it seemed like more info and context was needed to fully understand or appreciate Szarkowski’s interpretation.

    “The end of an era ...”

    Good pickup. Small picture / big picture death?
  11. You are right.
    I’ve never been there.
  12. I like the Lange's photo and I like to think it may have been a metaphor for the times. But even if it was not shot or later captioned 'the end of an era' I can take it there as viewer with that title/caption. I will be interested to hear where MOMA takes it, "Lange's pictures require verbal commentary to be read legibly." if there is additional commentary.
  13. Photos are metaphors for all current (date of photo) & subsequent times.

    It’s what a reduction in complexity is all about.
  14. this one certainly works well for that if you want it
  15. This gives a little more insight into what MoMA is doing with this exhibit. From the intro to the exhibit:
    What’s interesting to me is that Lange worked with words and recognized their importance alongside her photos and how that all becomes part of what she’s doing. Also that MoMA seeks to honor that in this show and possibly expand on it by bringing in contemporary voices, which I think Lange would likely appreciate, depending on the choices.

    It also emphasizes the fact of how often we do see photos, including our own, accompanied by stories, poems, music, etc. and how interactive pictures can be with other means of communication.

    I’ve been working a lot with presentation and how I show my photos, both in person and online. In a sense it’s like stage design. I’m interested to hear both what other people are doing along such lines, what role words could have alongside your own photos, if any, and what you think is the potential for this particular or this kind of exhibit.
  16. "..what you think is the potential for this particular or this kind of exhibit." ", the exhibition offers a more nuanced understanding of Lange’s vocation,.." I savor thoughtful nuance. and photos accompanied with words have the potential to slow me down enough to glean more nuance or even create/interject some of my own.
    This photo caption did.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  17. I like how I read this, which is that words aren't inherently intrusive and can be anything but.

    I may resist words and commentary when they feel forced or inauthentically manipulative, that is when they sometimes seem to be either superfluous to or even in contradiction with the photo. But when they're suggestive or even just help focus my attention or slow me down, as you say, I think they can be a great addition. With Lange and other documentarians, I wouldn't be surprised if the words themselves take a stand and I wouldn't be put off by that since her photos often do as well, even with the room she leaves me by being ambiguous at times. A viewer might be put off by the particular stance taken (I'm sure that wouldn't surprise Lange) but might not be put off by the fact that she chose to take, show, and tell one.
  18. Words can also be used along side a photo to mislead.......
    Intentionally or out of ignorance.

    “Butterfly on crack” comes to mind.
  19. It seems to me once the words clarify the context you can’t have it both ways.
    Especially if the context is in direct conflict with the initial uninformed perception, as in the example of the grieving lady in the hearse.
    It is entirely possible to “get the wrong idea”.
  20. Sure.

    Do you experience this often? Do you think it will be a problem in the Lange exhibit? Do you think the caption supplied with the photo in question is misleading?
    Why not? I'm able to hold more than one response and thought in my head and heart. I can still look at that photo as I did initially even while also able to see it from the perspective the caption gives. For me, one doesn't preclude the other. Rather, having the two perspectives and even more than those two opens up more and more possibilities. There isn't one way I want to see the photo.
    I don't get the reference. I googled it and all I found was reference to rock formations in Joshua Tree National Monument, which happens to be a favorite California park of mine. I didn't find the exact location referenced, but I have a photo of something similar.


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