Fresh Air

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

  1. I wouldn’t expect any issue.
    I have none with the title in the post indicating a funeral.
    I do however wonder how you can recover the blissful ignorance of an initial impression once some unknown fact is discovered that is in direct conflict. A photo of a smiling Al Capone comes to mind. There’s the smile and the handshake.........and the gun. Context spoils illusion. A Puff Adder is a beautiful creature but the reality is ever present when I look at a photo of one.

    Butterfly on Crack came to mind when I noticed Ludmilla’s avatar....
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  2. For me, it's not a matter of recovering blissful ignorance so much as not viewing art in a vacuum. I am, just by living, going to encounter all kinds of information about all kinds of things. All that has varying degrees of influence, which tends to ebb and flow in its effects. Since I've spent so much time with so much art and have read about it, studied it, and seen a lot of it in museums with much accompanying info, both helpful and not, I guess I've developed my own ways for dealing with the information I'm given. No matter how much I know about Beethoven, I relish my ability to close my eyes when at the symphony (or listening to a good recording) and just listen. Likely, what I know is still influencing me even in my most in-touch moments with the music. That's fine. I'm human. There's no tabula rasa I want to return to. It's all part of the inevitable experience of life. No turning back. No returning to the womb. No regained innocence lost. But, I can do my best and that's usually good enough for me.
  3. Ahh, thanks. Rather than the pic of "butterfly on crack" misleading me in that context, I would amuse myself by seeing "crack" in terms of today's slang. It makes a lot of things come into a weird sort of focus ...
  4. +1
    I call this to "claim the partial ownership" of somebody's work.
  5. That was the point of the analogy. The avatar was simply a readily available example.
  6. Where I live, the butterfly is a symbol of sexual promiscuity something I thought the wannabe cowboy (from Village People), MO, would appreciate.
    Moving On likes this.
  7. Butterfly on crack refers to something beautiful, flighty on the crack of your a$$. Go figure (skate)
  8. One of the interesting things about the Lange photo is the different roles facial expression and symbolism are playing for me. There are, for me, symbols of grief but not an expression of it. I think it’s a strong photo without that because of what it does say to me and make me feel.

    Symbols often help a narration and support expression and sometimes are shot so expressively themselves that that’s all that’s necessary (e.g., Piss Christ). Their use is multi-faceted. This photo is less about the power of symbols and more about the power of its protagonist to, in a sense, take charge of the scene.
  9. Whatever.
  10. When Sam used the word protagonist I also heard the word antagonist. And in a good photograph and narrative i often experience both.
    After reading the caption I began to wonder who or what was the protagonist in Lange's photo. the subject and reality in front of the lens or was it photographer focusing the camera capturing and wielding the moment thereby constructing a narrative. and in that narrative who or what was the antagonist. Antagonism plays an important role in photography and the viewing experience.
    I saw a look in the womans face that I have experienced while shooting strangers in the street. many times. What is behind the expression is often so enigmatic that it becomes a question for me as viewer. I have found that there is a x3 possible expression moments when I am shooting stranger. The 1st is capturing the moment before the camera is found. The 2nd is the instant of recognition and then the 3rd is the reaction to me and camera. Being transitional these moments do not have sharp time lines so often there is overlap.
    This photo, as most with powerful eye contact I felt that Lange/camera informed the role of antagonist. Then with the supplied caption and circumstance i considered her and camera as sharing the role with the reality of circumstance.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
  11. protagonist -
    1) the leading character in a drama
    2) the main figure in a real situation
    3) an advocate or champion of a cause or idea
    antagonist -
    1) one who actively opposed or is hostile

    There's a sense in which the woman photographed fills protagonist #1 and #2 (maybe even #3). Lange could also fill all of them, but maybe is best suited to #3.

    The woman seems like a protagonist in the real situation on her own, becomes the protagonist in the photographic drama via Lange, and champions (perhaps more passively than actively) whatever idea we might get from seeing the photo ... grieving, power, haughtiness, disturbance ...

    Lange takes and then chooses to show the picture, so she's a protagonist in the sense of being a champion of it.

    Both could also be the antagonist.

    The woman may be looking down upon her surroundings or something else. She may react with antagonism to Lange and her camera or just to being looked at in this moment. Lange interrupts, dares to disrupt, as so many photographers do knowingly or not.

    When we bring the photographer into the picture (it may be more descriptive to say, "when the photographer brings herself into the picture") there's a tension/counterpoint/ at play ... Camera wielder as cause of subject's reaction?
    It's one where the "reality of circumstance" is more powerful in good part for being kept out of the frame ... double portrait?
  12. Simple enough.

    Grief Interruption.....

    The reality is in the frame.
    She Is In A Hearse
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
  13. I find myself trying on different captions and "...grieving, power, haughtiness, disturbance" all can be made apparent. The hearse is not apparent to me as the decorative scroll was also found on luxury cars that were not used for funeral hearses.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
  14. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    A hearse is used to transport the coffin with the deceased. I'm not aware of accommodations for mourners. To me, the immediate family rides to the cemetery in a funeral limousine.
    Moving On likes this.
  15. The scroll is from a limousine, not a hearse, don't you think?

    Hence the "grieving" is rather displeasure at the uppity prole taking a picture, I think.

    Is not the 'end of an era' the passing of the old upper class??

    I really don't agree about the need for captions or words for anyone that has some historical information in their heads from that time.
    Moving On likes this.
  16. True. But I wonder if Lange was content with not doing so and chose this to be part of her collection because of the ambiguity and because of the more implied interaction/antagonism between her and the woman. My first reaction stays with me, though has been sub-plotted with the reactions of others ... that it’s a strong portrait of a woman, more so than this woman. It’s a good companion, somewhat oppositionally, to Migrant Mother, who is so much more available in both her expression and surround.
  17. Yes y’all are right, the funeral procession car.....
    The scroll was my original point.
    Hearse was the wrong term.
  18. When is a door not a door......
  19. I wonder if the scroll as symbol played a part that informed the young Szarkowski's first impression. I can deeply appreciate this photo without caption but in context of the MoMA show, I can also appreciate where they are coming from
  20. I heard somewhere that the young Szarkowski was only 11 when he first saw the picture, and may have formed his initial impression then.

    If I buy Picasso's musing that ...
    ... maybe Szarkowski was right the first time!

    My hope for the exhibit is that its effect will be to open up as many possibilities about captions and words as it is to make a point.

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