pictures of nothing

Discussion in 'Abstract' started by photoriot, Jun 3, 2017.

  1. The distinction I would draw is between "naturally-occurring" and "fabricated," since there's no such thing as pure nothing, or at the very least "pure nothing" is redundant since what could be impure about nothing.

    I think if there's such a thing as fabricated nothing, we'd have to leave room for there being such a thing as pre-fab nothing. That would be a relatively recent concept, like plastic.

    Having said there's no such thing as pure nothingness, I'm reminded that there is such a thing as eternal nothingness, at least according to one clarinet-playing movie director:

    Fabrication is a sort of making which is a sort of finding.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
  2. I feel nothing is really nothing, since everything has an origin, a cause, and a definite end. Even JDM's scanner image is noise, and has a cause and end. Eternal nothing (if that exists) may be called pure nothing, since that has no beginning, no end, and no meaning, Everything else is nothing based on how we look at it. However by categorizing something as nothing, we are giving it a definition, hence it can no longer be nothing.
  3. Supriyo, nothing, by definition, is not a thing. If anything, which it really can't be either, it's just a concept, though I'd maintain an inconceivable one. So photos of nothing can't be nothing. Like all photos, they are merely cheap imitations of reality. Fakes. Frauds. Lies and Deceipts. ;-)
  4. Photos of nothing can be something, and I hope something very valuable, in my case at least.
  5. I maintain that nothing remains nothing, even when an image of it becomes something.
  6. I believe we are referring here to nothing as some pattern or form that cannot be ascribed meaning. Frankly, whether something has a meaning depends on whether someone is assigning that meaning to it. In absence of that, everything is nothing IMO. This whole universe would have been nothing, had there been no conscious beings to perceive it. In that sense, the term nothing is really relative. What is nothing to me may not be so to you. Since there cannot be any such thing as absolute nothing, nothing ceases to be nothing as soon as you perceive it's image as something.
  7. That can mean at least a couple of pretty much opposite things:
    1. Whatever is nothing stays nothing when photographed . . . in other words, whatever is nothing, even when photographed, stays nothing.
    2. There is nothing that stays nothing, even when photographed . . . in other words, everything becomes something when photographed.
    "Nothing" is one of those concepts that can lead to all kinds of oxymorons, contradictions, and tautologies. For that reason, it can be a lot of fun.

    I've always liked Sartre's take on nothingness as the human condition, our plight of not being given an essence but rather having to continually choose who we are through the actions we take. For Sartre, becoming something was not to be lauded. Becoming was human and to be embraced. Something was not. Something, for Sartre, was not free. It was imposed upon, pre0determined. Some of the best photos perpetually become but don't become something.


    The way I came about my "nothing" pictures is that occasionally I unintentionally hit the shutter button on my iPhone as I'm putting it back in my pocket after having taken a picture I intended to take. Those two "photos" I placed side-by-side (to continue the pair theme you had set) were of the floor below me on two occasions in which I had no intention of taking a picture. I then blew up a section of each to post to this thread. Other than being suitable for the purposes of this thread, because they came to mind when I saw your photos, they have little value to me. In other words, if they are something, whatever that is is trivial to me. I've almost forgotten them. They had little value to me to begin with and have even less a day or so later.

  8. … to choose one and refuse the other is always a sacrifice made to meaning, to produce meaning, to offer it to be consumed.

    … the Neutral doesn’t refer to “impressions” of grayness, of “neutrality,” of indifference. The Neutral — my Neutral — can refer to intense, strong, unprecedented states. “To outplay the paradigm” is an ardent, burning activity. — Roland Barthes

    Note that he's talking about the neutral, which goes to meaning, not presence/absence.
    1. Whatever is nothing stays nothing when photographed . . . in other words, whatever is nothing, even when photographed, stays nothing.
    That's what I meant, i.e. unless the object in the world suddenly is treated differently, it retains whatever element of nothingness it had. From Supriyo's perspective, it's like I'm saying the photo fixes the frame of reference in which the subject is nothing, though I can admit that in a valid shared dynamical frame of reference its image becomes something because of its place in our attention. For philosophical preference, I focus on the physical interactions the subject has with the world ongoing, leaving out vibey action at a distance by people in the dark being aware of the shadow I shot last week.
  9. How can an object have an element of nothingness? Nothing is a pretty complete, extreme concept. Element of nothingness seems to thwart the concepts of both "element" and "nothingness."

    "The subject is nothing" seems like an oxymoron, contradictory.

    I think it's an interesting metaphorical exercise to ask people to post pictures of nothing. For me, it will remain just that, a metaphorical exercise. Talking about the possibility of "a valid shared dynamical frame of reference" with respect to pictures of nothing is like putting lipstick on a pig with no mouth.
  10. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    that made me chuckle, thinking of all those poor pigs running around with bright, shiny, red ring pieces.
  11. It might be worth remembering the perspective of the nurse, for whom the photos' first concern were beauty and decoration rather than news, family, or commerce.

    In the beginning there was nothing, and God said, let there be light so we can see it.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  12. I took the nurse to be using "they are of nothing" to be merely showing a LACK of interest, as opposed to an interest because of this rather than that. Wouldn't that be more in keeping with the spirit of nothing?

    I'd be surprised if the nurse were referencing beauty in talking about the photos being of nothing.

    By the way, your interpretation of the myth of God's creation of light is really . . . well . . . something.
  13. At the time, she seemed to be saying that not only did the subjects of the photos not hold interest for her, but that they were of no consequence informationally.

    In another perhaps related sense, nothing refers to abstraction - forms and colors in their own right.

  14. Objects left to their forms and colors cannot be nothing IMO, because they are not meaningless. Abstraction means, they lose their original meaning, but acquire new meaning in the process, sometimes in quite complex ways.

    Of course, they may appear as nothing to somebody to whom, purpose of a photo is to act as surrogates for memories of past events.

    BTW, love your tires, showing them from different POVs. Clearly shows how framing can change the feeling of the same subject.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  15. I think the concept of nothing is abstract. Nothing, IMO, doesn't refer to abstraction. I think nothing is unable to refer to anything.

    In your picture, I see a car back there.

    "Energy and motion made visible—memories arrested in space." —Jackson Pollock.

    Pollock thought abstraction was something.

    I think when abstraction is treated as nothing, it risks being just bad imagery, as described by Al Capp:

    "Abstract art: a product of the untalented sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered."

    Pollock has an IDEA. That's why his stuff works.
  16. She also seemed to be making something of a cultural comment, since she was from Ethiopia. I surmised that a poor background led to a focus on the practical, but that's just me interpreting from my Caribbean background.
  17. I'm talking about Platonic ideal properties, which transcend the instances yet have no existence on their own. Yet they allow things to be named and grouped and thus to become things. The circles are concrete joints for the big concrete fixtures the one is leaning against. Glad you like them!

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  18. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    don't agree with that. many people have nothing to eat, nothing to say, nothing to wear. here, to me, is a photograph of nothing.

    Image 4.jpg

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