Gesture (symbols)

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Julie H, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    don't you think when one person is relaxed and the other isn't will create tension especially when they are that close.

    in this instance i think both girls are uncomfortable because of their gestures and poses
  2. They both look stiff to me, which I don't necessarily see as uncomfortable.

    The tension I'm most conscious of is how one is looking so directly and pointedly at the camera and the other is looking so directly and pointedly somewhere else. That seems to distance them from each other as well as from me.
  3. Fred, I agree, the lack of codirectional gaze implies some tension between them, but to me, it also makes the overall picture more interesting to look at (which is not to say, it doesn't for you). I feel, Steve's picture has tension as well as dynamism in it due to their different gazes and body orientations. I like the pose of the woman on the right ... her legs pointing opposite to her face, one shoulder up, one down, fiddling with the fingers, her unbuttoned shirt. I feel (just my subjective opinion), if she was also looking at me like the left woman, then I would notice the details of her pose less, and it would be more face-centric. That would make a more happy picture for sure, but I can't resist wondering, would that happiness appear as a facade.

    I think, if both of them were looking at the camera, there may be more tension between the subjects and the camera (not between them). As if, the camera is pulling their attention, and that pull leading to tension. This is not to say, that attention always means tension, but here in the context of her (right woman) overall body orientation, I felt a straight gaze at the camera would imply some tension in looking at the camera. As of now, I feel a relaxed invitation to look at the right woman, which may be lost had she been looking directly at me.

  4. "Why do you ask that, Julie?"

    Because that's what Steve doesn't want to do.
  5. Not gesturing is a (or perhaps the) form of gesture. Ask Walker Evans.

  6. “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” —Yogi Berra
  7. Norman said:
    how does photographing his super intelligent brother, sitting cross-legged in a field support that? is the out of date hair, specs, clothing and rural setting supposed to make us think of Newton.

    are the two girls really "in their element"? they look pretty uncomfortable to me and a few others."

    Norman, the out of date hair, specs, clothing and "rural setting" look that way because this was 1973, backyard of our house. Nothing was "out of date." This was not candid either. I had a camera and he chose to sit there like that. That's him. The shot of the women was in their apartment and we did a series of shots. Being photographed is always a little uncomfortable for a lot of people, me included. The were very comfortable with each other, however. I chose this particular shot because of their different expressions: one being more invested in the camera and looking at it for a picture; the other sort of relaxing in the situation. BTW, This was about 1978.

    The way I shoot is not like a street photographer, who often tries to capture people unaware of being photographed. That might be more "natural," but I am a portrait photographer. I want the person to be aware of the camera and I want to capture how they react in that situation. I'll quote Milton Erickson again: "a person cannot not communicate." Everything they do, conscious or unconscious is an expression of who they are.
  8. And yet, most of what people do doesn't make for interesting photos or portraits. So it's up to some combination of photographer, subject, timing, directing a subject AND allowing a subject to be themselves for it all to come together. It may be that "a person cannot not communicate," (though if I had more time, I'd probably want to dispute this) but lots of communication goes by unnoticed or is pretty insignificant for a reason.

    [This takes nothing away from the pictures you've posted here, which are memorable and, I think, good examples of the kind of work you do.]

    The only thing I'll add is that, in doing non-candid portraits, I have found a combination of letting the people I'm shooting do a bit of finding ways they'd like to pose and gesture and also directing some things, from mere subtle hints to more overt "commands" at times, works for me. I find that the people I shoot may be very good at being the people I shoot but may not be as good at knowing what things will read well in a photo. I figure that's kind of what I'm there for, to various degrees at different times. So I don't always go with their choices of positioning, expression, or gesturing. In one shoot, I will often take both a passive and active role and find some rhythm that starts to bear the kind of fruit that speaks to me photographically.
  9. Do you take a passive or active role in culling through and making decisions on what to keep or throw away in all those shots of portraits taken in various poses whether controlled/directed by you or by the subject? If you're not sure how something will read in a photo while capturing the subject, then it's all you as defined by what strikes you in post on the computer. What happened in front of the lens at this point is gone and can't be traced back to causing you to choose which ones appeal to you. That's the magic of it all.

    There's somewhat some control in front of the camera but not total control and that's enough to create uncertainty when pinning down what made the photo fail or succeed.
  10. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Control of what is in front of the camera -- only if inanimate or well paid! No offense intended, Tim! DSC_8788_4616DSC_8788.JPG
  11. Yes. There is uncertainty. Thankfully, I'm pretty careful not to claim certainty at any point in the photographic process. I hope this keeps me open to possibilities I may not have thought of and adventures that don't take for granted a lot of the baggage I may otherwise carry around.
  12. Not taking offense at all, Sandy. Just don't know what you're saying with the photo in regard to your text.
  13. There is one certainty I'm sure you and anyone who photographs with some level of passion will agree with and that is things look very different and possibly more interesting when viewed within the frame provided by a photograph.

    Even an LCD preview on a digital camera can't really do it justice until you see it as intended in post. Those are my learned certainties that are not always certain but I'm glad I have a trash can.
  14. An example of the gesture being in perfect synchrony and symmetry because of perfect timing:

    It could be that Winogrand foresaw it as it happened but also or more likely is that he only saw what he got when looking at the negative since the moment where the steer's tongue meets the curve of the hat must have been over in a flash, even for Winogrand. Also serendipitous is that it happened against the white background of the sky.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  15. I think the "possibly" part undercuts the certainty part.

    In any case, we were talking about my active role at times in posing and/or positioning people, which doesn't yield a certain result but affects the result significantly, even though lots of other factors do as well.

  16. Painters and sculptors have it so much easier ... I was recently watching an art documentary, and Donatello's David came up. I've seen that sculpture dozens of times in books and videos, and read/heard it discussed at great length. But in this documentary, they pointed out that the wing from Goliath's helmet runs aaaaaaalll the way up the inside of David's leg, up the inside of his thigh ... [see here]

    I'd always noticed the hat, the booties, the stance, everything else, but I missed that little detail. Just in case you had any doubt about what Donatello was up to.

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