What's it all about, Alfie?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by photoriot, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. The world we see is supposedly the equivalent of desktop icons that are convenient for handling the underlying quantum reality. In that construct, what is a picture? Can it help us peel the paint off an icon and see our iconification process at work, if not more of the namelessness beyond? Pictures do not normally call for action - there is no need to catch the vase that the cat is knocking off the table - but we can feel the impulse and connect with the beauty of the cat before putting the picture away. (The picture has no life, but still comes alive after the death of the cat. The vase was never alive, but we loved it.) Looking at a street photo of a woman I felt beautiful, I was stunned to have to puzzle out what hit me - somehow the perceived possibility of interaction and being seen blinds me to the mundane reality of the person. That would be one case of the photo showing more of the underlying reality of the moment, insofar as we trust recorders without feelings, but I want to see something really quantum and beyond what I'd see if I had no feelings and could freeze time. (Freeze time to what? Could there be a photo with 0 sec shutter speed? Technology gives incredibly short shutter times for exploding atom bombs, but still some time elapses to get a photo that we study at our leisure, like Proust but in English translation. Making sense of reality with pictures turns time to Tarot, collapsing meanings like shuffled and splayed cards, but to what end?)
    Ok, I'm giving up on seeing more of quantum reality directly through photos, except insofar as my processes of perception and reaction themselves are part of that quantum reality, and I can study those by looking at pics. What I learn is partly what I naturally missed as I was taking the picture, but also from organizing the photos in various ways I see my own patterns of looking - how my interests condition my reality - and odd sensations arise in response, which are both scary, because I see my limitations, and intoxicating, because it feels like I'm getting deeper into my own circuitry, seeing my archetypes not in the pictures but in the spaces between.
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  2. Looking at a street photo of a woman I felt beautiful, I was stunned to have to puzzle out what hit me - somehow the perceived possibility of interaction and being seen blinds me to the mundane reality of the person. That would be one case of the photo showing more of the underlying reality of the moment, insofar as we trust recorders without feelings, but I want to see something really quantum and beyond what I'd see if I had no feelings and could freeze time.​
    Reminds me of this quote by Joel Meyerowitz:
    when you're on the street, and, as you're walking along, a woman turns the corner going away from you, and for an instant you have a glimpse of the side of her face, of the gesture of her shoulder, the shape of her body, and you are committed ... You are in love for an instant, or your senses are rocked for an instant. That person then disappears and is lost to you forever. What you feel in that instant, that glimpse of something just out of reach, is what tells you to make a photograph. It is a feeling. That's my physical equivalent out there. For a moment she fills that place that is always open, a place where sensation can reside for an instant ...​
     
  3. I'm sorry but your post is loaded with too much artsy gobbledygook for me to understand. Perhaps if you could rephrase your basic point in simple to understand language for people of inferior intellect such as myself maybe I could see where you are going with it. In the meantime I'll take a stab at it anyway. One takes a picture and that's it. Life goes on. Whatever meaning it has for the photographer is whatever he/she endows it with. Same for those who view the picture.
     
  4. How do you endow a photo with meaning? How much choice do you have and how much is hard-wired?
     
  5. Can you enjoy a photo without having to endow it with "meaning?" It seems that some people just have to have "meaning" and others not. Just participating in Julie's recent post in this forum on "writing about a particular picture" was exhausting just hearing different people's attributions to meaning and how emotionally attached they are to their opinions. I believe we are very hard wired through genetics, and very soft wired through our personal life experiences to "see" what we are going to see in a particular photo. When I enjoy a photo, whether its a landscape or a street photo its pretty non-verbal, more intuitive than emotional even. Does that make sense? BTW just went to your site and love your photography. Very different from my vision but I liked it a lot. Again though, I can't say much about meaning, just liked it. If you are familiar with Jung's personality types, I'm definitely an "intuitive" type and less of a "thinking" type.
     
  6. There are many types of people. Yes, there are intuitive types and thinking types. I think that's a genuine state of affairs.
    I also believe there are people invested in being or claiming to be intuitive and non-thinking and there are people who use it as an excuse for simply not learning stuff or not becoming more informed. It's a delicate balance. This goes along with my own observation of a kind of rise of anti-intellectualism globally that I think is unfortunate, made obvious in recent current events.
    Steve may have genuinely found Julie's thread too exhausting but I think many simply use this as an excuse not to think much at all and instead to simplify everything beyond reason, which so often is just a way to stick heads in the sand or make excuses for ignorance, which seems to have become something to value these days.
    Bill's question, IMO, as simplified for the sake of Marc's professed ignorance, boils down to the centuries-old question of freedom vs. determinism, about which much of importance has been written but would probably be too exhausting for many to read.
    It might be that art and creativity are born of the tension between those two things, freedom and determinism, which will never be resolved but still has interesting nuances worthy of discussion and supply just the kind of internal and external struggles artists historically have dealt with, until contemporary times where art has been reduced to a matter of likes and dislikes, where art is no more mature than kids coloring with crayons (not that there's anything wrong with kids, crayons, or naive art). But I do thank my stars painters like Munch and photographers like Nan Goldin produced work out of their struggles and not out of the sometimes more impotent comfort of wanting to like what they do and what they see.
     
  7. Fred, I do respect your ideas and I think you are very informed and intelligent. I agree with much of what you say. I still think there are very different types of people who think very differently about such matters. For me, and just me, photography is not an intellectual pursuit. I do find it exhausting to analyze it to death verbally. I'm not the only one. Did you notice Ian's observation in Julies thread: "talking about photography is like dancing about architecture." I actually am a very intelligent and creative person in all aspects of my life and work and I am well recognized for it by others, and I work in the medical field where the people who respect my creativity are intelligent too. I just have a different way of pursuing photography than the more thinking types of people, like you.
     
  8. Steve, I'm really sorry to hear that my thread is hard for you. I forget that art writing is not everybody's cup of tea.
    I'd like to go against Fred a little bit and say that it's not a matter of being more intelligent or intellectual; rather it's that I love finding out what is going on in other people's mind(s). The only way I can find that out is by reading or listening to them talk. That's ultimately all it boils down to. What do other people see? What do other people think?
     
  9. I want to add that, thinking I am not intelligent enough for this is actually an impediment to understanding much of art discussions and criticisms. I don't think it is about intelligence or that the writer has some hidden message that has to be deciphered. It is about approaching with an open undaunted mind and feeling, empathizing and resonance. I try and I fail sometimes and I move on. Other times I succeed, but I never paint everything with the same color of contempt or intangibility.
     
  10. Did you notice Ian's observation in Julies thread: "talking about photography is like dancing about architecture."​
    Yes. I thought it was foolish and juvenile. There are many dancers who've been inspired by other arts such as architecture. I attended a dance recital recently in a warehouse in Germany. The audience actually followed the dancers throughout the building and the dance moves were very much in harmony and tension with the architecture. Those dancers were very much dancing about architecture (as well as other things). All arts are able to comment on other arts and they often do. Do you think photorealist painters weren't commenting on photography? Do you think Pictorialist photographers weren't commenting on painting? Do you think Picasso's paintings don't talk about sculpture? Do you think Warhol's films don't talk about stills? Do you think Dorothea Lange's photos don't tell stories?
    For me, and just me, photography is not an intellectual pursuit.​
    I find it unhelpful to divide pursuits into intellectual/non-intellectual or intuitive/non-intuitive. I don't think it works that way. Every pursuit is a balance of the two and a lot more things. And photographers who intellectualize in forums about photography don't necessarily pursue their own photography intellectually. They may just be as intuitive and inspired when shooting as you are.
     
  11. Steve, glad you liked my site. In one way endowing a photo with meaning is like reading the ingredients on your breakfast cereal - optional. On the other hand, when you see the pic or eat the cereal, something is still happening involving meaning from the pic or tasting the food. I'm after teasing apart the taste by comparing and contrasting different pics, to taste my taste. So the result is the live understanding you achieve, rather than some kind of verbal analysis, which is another fun room to hang in, as we are doing.
    Fred, I relate to Marc's overload since I experience it myself when reading about deep learning. (Here's a cool quote I do understand.)
    Our focus is on reinforcement learning methods that involve learning while interacting with the environment, which evolutionary methods do not do (unless they evolve learning algorithms, as in some of the approaches that have been studied).​
    Your reference to the political situation is apropos in my opinion but not constructive (not trying to be mean). To be exact, I didn't simplify my question, I am just trying to start a dialog with what's on the table, an opening socratic gambit. I think that is the best approach for dealing with folk who give up on their minds.
    talking about photography is like dancing about architecture.​
    As a former modern dancer on an art museum's staff, I will pass on this with a giggle and a confession that I skip a lot of such discussion myself. Aside from the lack of jobs, there is a reason I didn't stay in philosophy.
     
  12. Can you enjoy a photo without having to endow it with "meaning?"​
    More like "motivation" as in being able to detect the motivation behind what aided the photographer in capturing a subject within a frame that makes it at least appear different from all the other images of the same subject captured with similar "copied" approaches or motivations. This creates an underlying random pattern of dialect that forms basic image language or an internal conversation sensed or directly detected by the viewer.
    For example the current technical discussion on defining macro photography focuses on a motivation centered on rules for capturing fine sharp detail in small areas using a close up lens. Using the same rules the motivation can be altered in such a way to capture a subject that doesn't focus on capturing sharp as a tack fine detail but more on capturing unconventional subjects using composition, lighting and textural contrasts to speak a different image language to the viewer.
    For example I shot at close up of a simple leaf taken at different times of the year and location. Can anyone tell a different motivation was employed to capture a macro shot of a leaf and what was that motivation?
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  13. BTW I think Bill Ross's cat picture conveys a longing for the love of a pet with a kind of light hearted sillyness in the image language reminiscent of Polaroid snap shots thumb-tacked to work place bulletin boards as a remnant of the working stiff.
    Love the balanced modular composition and colors conveyed in the two separate pictures made to work as one.
     
  14. I also believe there are people invested in being or claiming to be intuitive and non-thinking and there are people who use it as an excuse for simply not learning stuff or not becoming more informed.​
    What are we to learn and become more informed about in the world of creative expression that's of importance? What does it serve or improve upon that needs improving?
    I'm finding as the years go on that a lot of this intellectualism is sourced from an old world view of thinking that being informed through free expression will somehow improve society but there's never any evidence or an attempt to make a direct connection on how that's suppose to happen if that's even possible. How does being informed on this level of intellectualism improve society?
    What is the purpose of balancing freedom vs determinism? Why is this necessary?
     
  15. Phil, your Joel Meyerowitz quotation earlier on, is pure delight.
    I copy it below, hang it on my wall, not to be forgotten.
    when you're on the street, and, as you're walking along, a woman turns the corner going away from you, and for an instant you have a glimpse of the side of her face, of the gesture of her shoulder, the shape of her body, and you are committed ... You are in love for an instant, or your senses are rocked for an instant. That person then disappears and is lost to you forever. What you feel in that instant, that glimpse of something just out of reach, is what tells you to make a photograph. It is a feeling. That's my physical equivalent out there. For a moment she fills that place that is always open, a place where sensation can reside for an instant ...​
    Thanks !
     
  16. What are we to learn and become more informed about in the world of creative expression that's of importance? What does it serve or improve upon that needs improving?​
    Tim, from having read your posts over the years, I suspect there would be nothing in it for you. I've talked about what's in it for me in a lot of forums. I suspect you don't read that stuff with much interest or depth or you wouldn't be asking me the question, and I won't waste my time answering you since I've done so before on this very subject.
     
  17. What are we to learn and become more informed about in the world of creative expression that's of importance?​

    Creative expression is an inborn gift, but it is enhanced and enriched by wisdom and insight, which comes via learning and exchange of knowledge. Some may be pioneers, but most of us benefit from informed discussions and readings and relations with multiple disciplines of knowledge. The trick is to maintain an open mind and not be a bigot.
     
  18. Your reference to the political situation is apropos in my opinion but not constructive (not trying to be mean).​
    Bill, please don't ever worry about being "mean" to me. I can take it. As a matter of fact, I prefer honest responses even when they're tough. Gets my juices flowing.
    As a former modern dancer on an art museum's staff, I will pass on this with a giggle and a confession that I skip a lot of such discussion myself. Aside from the lack of jobs, there is a reason I didn't stay in philosophy.​
    Not to be mean . . . LOL . . . but given your OP here, this is hysterical to read and kind of fails the hypocrite test.
    How much choice do you have and how much is hard-wired?​
    Munch's and Goldin's work seems to show this struggle. Munch battled depression and psychosis over which he presumably didn't have all that much control. He chose to express himself by painting and drawing, to reach beyond these things binding him. Goldin was abused, presumably a state much out of her control. She chose to free herself or at least share something about it through her photography. I'm gay, which I believe is hard-wired but I also believe continues to be a choice. My work is inspired, in part, by some of that.
     
  19. OP - "Making sense of reality with pictures turns time to Tarot, collapsing meanings like shuffled and splayed cards, but to what end?"
    The end seems to be even more change and what's the point of all that change? I know that the answer is that "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."(MLK, Jr.). The currently acknowledged forces of nature are: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, and the Higgs force. The as yet to be acknowledged sixth physical force is love. Love, like each the other five, is a fundamental, an irreducible. Love doesn't boil down to anything else. Add to those 6 forces a sense of one's presence as a 'self of sorts' in the world and you have the 7th force of nature: that nature 'knows' it exists.
     
  20. kind of fails the hypocrite test​
    Do I have to read everything you write on any thread not to be a hypocrite? Is a dyslexic person hypocritical for trying to participate in society, to pick a simple analogy? I see a lot of repeated cycles and dead ends when I try to read a lot of stuff in general, and get rebuffed when I bring my project into the discussion, which you may gather is hard to avoid, so am staying on my own ground with what moves me forward with my life.
    Add to those 6 forces a sense of one's presence as a 'self of sorts' in the world and you have the 7th force of nature: that nature 'knows' it exists.​
    That's what I'm exploring: the knowledge of existence. My site has a complex personality that chooses pics also based on your dynamic behavior, so it is a first step toward synthesizing being, towards revolutionizing how we understand it. For the photographer whose pics are in it, it also lets you analyze your way of seeing and style, towards the deeper things discussed.
    By the way, the slide show option in my pnet 'glued pairs' folder makes an interesting experience.
     
  21. Re quoted Joel Meyerowitz "What you feel in that instant, that glimpse of something just out of reach, is what tells you to make a photograph. It is a feeling. That's my physical equivalent out there. For a moment she fills that place that is always open, a place where sensation can reside for an instant ..."

    Joel has a feeling of something being out of reach. She is out of reach yet she is seen daily. Our shadows follow us around. So does our anima. (I can't speak for the women who are the unfortunate objects of such attention.) Where ever you go, there you are. Where ever you go, she is there. You can count on that.
     
  22. Do I have to read everything you write on any thread not to be a hypocrite?​
    No. Not what I was talking about. I was talking about your making an issue of not participating in philosophical discussions and not staying in philosophy while starting this thread off with what I think can be characterized as a fairly deep philosophical musing.
     
  23. I was talking about your making an issue of not participating in philosophical discussions and not staying in philosophy while starting this thread off with what I think can be characterized as a fairly deep philosophical musing.​
    Ah, I cherish my amateur status on a variety of fronts. Put another way, the physical condition of the members of the Philosophy Department creeped me out as a dancer. I just don't have the brain cells to digest every philosophical issue, so I can sympathize with people who can't cope. And I often don't read deeply to participate here especially because I've been censored (including text selectively deleted from my posts), banned from posting for a month, and criticized for bringing in my project, in fact not sure what thread I'm hanging by now.
    Where ever you go, she is there. You can count on that.​
    So far so good.
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  24. Bill I need more time to explore your site link.
     
  25. And I stay away here especially because I've been censored (including text selectively deleted from my posts), banned from posting for a month, and criticized for bringing in my project​
    Sorry to hear all that. PN has become a place not conducive to free expression.
     
  26. Sorry to hear all that. PN has become a place not conducive to free expression.​
    That reminds me to save what has been written so far, offline. They don't tell you when they delete text, so it can be confusing.
     
  27. Who cares if your photo has meaning? Why should they care? Maybe it is time to remove arrogance from photography.
     
  28. Who cares if your photo has meaning? Why should they care? Maybe it is time to remove arrogance from photography.​

    Sorry, this comment itself reeks of arrogance :)
     
  29. Fred, you stated:
    I find it unhelpful to divide pursuits into intellectual/non-intellectual or intuitive/non-intuitive. I don't think it works that way. Every pursuit is a balance of the two and a lot more things.​
    I find that very rigid thinking. Not everything is "balanced" all the time and for everybody. Nice ideal, but a fantasy. As a therapist I worked with a broad spectrum of people, as you can imagine. I found out right away that everybody's brain is unique and what works for one person can be totally useless for the next. I had to have a tool kit of many kinds of therapies and had to find the right tool for each person. To be effective I had to be flexible. Milton Erickson said: the most flexible person in a system has the most power." I like that. Again, for me I find that photography is a very "right brained" activity, and I enjoy it as such, perhaps giving my left brain a rest from the logical thinking world. That's what gives me balance.
     
  30. Steve and Fred: sounds like violent agreement, each in his own terms. Steve: one way to view my site is as a training tool for analysts, as hinted at by the About page.
     
  31. Steve, I didn't mean "balance" in the sense you're using it. When I said, "Every pursuit is a balance of the two" I meant every pursuit has some degree of intellect and some degree of intuition involved. I did not mean equal parts of each and I meant it varies from case to case. Think of the balance of a scale of justice. The different sides are in different relationships most of the time.
    If you read my other posts, you probably noticed I talked about harmony and tension among all sorts of things. Lots of things come at us—intuition, intellect, fear, freedom—in all different degrees at all different times. And creativity is inspired by that swirl of inputs.
    As a matter of fact, you'll recall I was responding to your statement "For me, and just me, photography is not an intellectual pursuit" which I don't believe possible and sounded pretty exclusionary. I think you simply choose not to recognize or talk about the intellectual aspects of your photography. And I sense you have a strong investment in that.
     
  32. Steve,
    Although your comment is directed at Fred, I have something to add here. Photography as any other art is approached differently by different people. For you, it is relaxing right brained activity that soothes your nerve cells, whereas for some others it might be a more logic driven intellectual pursuit. It can also be very un-soothing, angst driven for some people. There is room for everyone, one is not superior than the other. However the problem arises, when one group criticizes the other, what's happening in this thread. It is mutual understanding which makes us thrive, not the opposite.
    BTW, I find it very hard to imagine I can perform any task, let alone photography using only intellect and not intuition, or vice versa. Those who think they can, I suspect are simply not aware of the other side of their brain being involved.
     
  33. As a matter of fact, you'll recall I was responding to your statement "For me, and just me, photography is not an intellectual pursuit" which I don't believe possible and sounded pretty exclusionary. I think you simply choose not to recognize or talk about the intellectual aspects of your photography. And I sense you have a strong investment in that.​
    Jumping in, I think it is a valid position (I like it anyway) to limit one's focus at times as part of a grander strategy. But one can also characterize someone's pursuit as intellectual without them engaging any of what they consider their intellectual capacity; 'intellectual' is just being used actively or passively as it were, depending on point of view. From this perspective, Fred, it would be interesting if you could specify something that is borderline intellectual in your sense of the word.
     
  34. Any activity that is driven by instinct and reflexes can be borderline intellectual.
     
  35. Bill, I don't really know what you mean by "borderline intellectual." Sounds like you have something interesting in mind if you could clarify a bit more. I'll attempt an answer if you can give me a little more to go on.
    I do agree with you that it's a valid position to limit one's focus as part of a grander strategy. But what one focuses on isn't all that's actually there. That's why we call it focus. I would have no problem with a formulation that says, "I focus on my intuition when talking about photography." That's different from, for me, the more problematic idea expressed in this thread which is that, because some focus more on the intuitional aspects of photography, those who choose to intellectualize about photography are somehow missing the point of photography or being as silly as a dancer who tries to dance about architecture, which I tried to show is not really all that silly.
     
  36. Bill may be trying to seem profound. That, or maybe he has ingested something that had unexpected results on his brain. Too much coffee, maybe.
    A third possibility is that this post is click bait. Could it be that Bill wanted to rile us (would he do this?), and if so he has succeeded. Even I have nibbled at the bait. Our usual malcontents appear to be enjoying a field day.
    I respectfully suggest to the OP that he would do well to acquaint himself with the philosophical writing of Georges Monbiot, especially his interesting theories relating to Westerners who have too much time on their hands and not enough productive things to do.
    I did enjoy the photo of the cat, though. A pleasant snap, I think. Overlooking the overly blue tone and other mitmatched colors. Post production needed. But a nice cat.
    All this said, now for my morning coffee...
    JDW
     
  37. Any activity that is driven by instinct and reflexes can be borderline intellectual.

    Sex, hunger, being chased by pack of dinosaurs, posting every single photo on social media 24 hours a day by clicking on the phone ...
     
  38. But we're talking about talking about these things, not just doing them, right?
    So, sex, for instance. I'm pretty sure when I'm having sex, it's pretty intuitive, likewise is getting hungry. But, sometimes I get really turned on sexually even when I'm reading philosophy, so there may actually be a strong intellectual component sometimes to sex. Or maybe my partner and I lay out an involved narrative to a given sexual liaison, a very specific guide to what we will do and why we will do it. In that case, intellect will play a bigger role. And the fact that sex may be more often more intuitive than intellectual for me does not mean I can't or don't want to talk about, think about, and consider it in different ways and from both an intellectual and intuitive standpoint.
    I guess I'm just not a very all or nothing kind of guy. For me, the dichotomy approach sucks. This or that. Just don't like it. Circumstances, timing, context, day of the week, the dream I had the night before, will all affect what parts of intellect and what parts of intuition are at play for me. I've never had much stake in defining myself as more intuitive or more intellectual relative to given activities, as more free or more determined, as more body or more soul.
     
  39. As to photography, I feel the same. And, as I said I resent being told by so-called right brainers that photography is not the type of activity that it makes sense to talk about, like Ian did and like Steve did when he quoted Ian, especially when they come into a Philosophy of Photography forum to do so.
     
  40. Fred, by 'borderline intellectual' I meant something you would see as at the very limit of intellectual, before turning into unintellectual. Since you were characterizing Steve's interest as intellectual, it made me wonder where you drew the line.

    "I focus on my intuition when talking about photography." To me, that is sufficiently close to what Steve said that I'm baffled why you guys are arguing, but I'm aware I'm not trying to figure out all the details, limiting my focus.

    Supriyo, I like your comments, but haven't thought of any responses yet :)
     
  41. "I focus on my intuition when talking about photography." To me, that is sufficiently close to what Steve said that I'm baffled why you guys are arguing, but I'm aware I'm not trying to figure out all the details, limiting my focus.​
    OK. Not to me. I think Steve pretty clearly said he does not use his intellect when photographing. He further said, by quoting Ian, that it's (in his mind) as wacky to talk about photography as it would be to dance about architecture (not realizing, unfortunately, that architecture can be danced about).

    As to your "borderline intellectual" question, maybe I answered it in my post above yours. My only further response is that I don't experience an on-off switch between intellectual and non-intellectual. I don't think there is such a thing as "the very limit of intellectual."

    I love the concept of borders (limits) not because I think they divide things neatly from each other but because I think in-between is a fascinating place to be.

    [​IMG]
     
  42. I totally agree about borders being the locus of the in-between, analogous to the spaces in between pics, so pics are borders, interesting (could be the focus of the rest of my life). I think you just don't get Steve, is all - he's talking about how he approaches things, not saying it's reality. Another thought I had is it's like you're both competing to be flexible, with different frames of reference. Again I'm just squinting and know I'm missing detail.
    A friend in email questions my phrase to the effect of "see more .. reality directly through photos", suggesting it's a non sequitur. First, I try for this effect whenever possible, but I'll let myself speak:
    > 'See more of ... reality directly [but also] through photos' - bit of a non sequitur [sp?] there, no?
    Partly I'm being tongue in cheek, partly I'm saying that I want to see the unseeable in my mind while looking at photos. I guess this is analogous to being aware that there are 2 cups on the table (2-ness), but I'm implying (or thinking at least) there's something in the many-possibilities-ness of quantumness that might eventually come to light, perhaps as a follow-on to a deeper understanding of what being entails. But in that moment I'm putting it all aside with a phrase, after my extravagant English class digression, to get on the more familiar photo philosophy subject of how we perceive.​
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  43. Someone once said that responding positively to a work of art is strongly related to our latent desires or our past experiences and which the work of art triggers while viewing it. Perhaps it is the same feeling as that of the artist or photographer who is strongly moved by a subject or his perception of it. It is indeed like Joel Meyerovitz's recognition of beauty in a partial glance at a woman who appears briefly before disappearing yet interacts strongly with his inherent concept of what is beautiful or what is desired. I think that those situations allow a great freedom and can induce creative response, even if the pieces fit partly into an accompanying pattern of determinism that we have to burden.
     
  44. Since we're all going to be self centered IMO on our views here I'm going to state that my leaf image demonstrating image language is the only thing that makes sense from an intellectual standpoint and is the most useful information in this entire thread.
    And I say this mostly out of spite because reading this entire thread has been an ultimate waste of time, but I kind of knew that going in.
    I'm sure everyone is going to disagree and form their own opinion and POV.


    So I'll quote a fascinating exchange I heard today in a wonderfully philosophical movie on gambling from the late '40's in the movie "The Great Sinner"...
    Fedya: You're not a woman. You are a symptom.

    Pauline: Of what?

    Fedya: One of the worlds deadliest diseases, sophistication. More champagne?​
    A riveting movie... http://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/the-great-sinner-1949/
     
  45. Tim, have you seen 'Alfie' by the way? If not, the synopsis on Wikipedia may give you solace somehow. Thanks for the response to the picture combo. But while it seems like you are right on top of what I'm after with 'basic image language or internal conversation', unless I misunderstand you are going into a side issue considering the motivation of the photographer in the sense of the leaf pictures. I.e. I as the photog of most of the pics on my site can understand myself better for seeing how the AI interprets me, but the real point is to learn about myself as a viewer, which is one reason why I want to get other people's pics in the site, and at that level the motivation of the non-me photographer is just one of the intangibles I hope to have deep learning sort out for me someday (and hopefully keep the details to itself :). One thought I had is you're into photo criticism, but the thread is more about what photos might tell us of the mind and reality that is beyond anything we may have thought of yet.
     
  46. even if the pieces fit partly into an accompanying pattern of determinism that we have to burden.​
    The pattern of determinism is carrying us, not us it. But what is carrying the pattern of determinism? Is it us again? Or something one might call quantum?
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  47. Cf. Plato's metaphor of the evac.)
     
  48. Bill,
    Ordered patterns appear in nature spontaneously due to laws of physics. We as part of nature have evolved to perceive
    patterns, because those skills are necessary for survival. Am I missing something?
     
  49. "see more .. reality directly through photos"​
    This seems to go along with your introducing Plato's cave. Plato ultimately wanted us to focus, to put it simply, on the underlying reality of things and I'm sensing that's what you're after to at least some extent.

    Something I've been in tune with is how much photography deals with appearances. I like thinking of photography and art not as a search for the ideal or the real but a search and portrayal of the apparent. What an artist makes apparent is often a revelation, no matter the reality or the truth of it.
     
  50. So Fred [fixed in edit!], if there is no boundary to intellectual in your mind, your criticism of Steve's use of a limited definition as false is understandable but not compelling since not directly apropos. I appreciate the logical approach from my background in analytic philosophy, but if I understand Steve (who has praised my site after all :), his is a more existential approach, which seems consistent with what I have learned about psychology in later years. Maybe you are more concerned with the perfect hat, while he is concerned with changing hats easily.
    00eEU5-566404184.jpg
     
  51. Bill, sorry, have no idea what you're talking about (re: my criticism of Steve's use of a limited definition as false ???). And I don't know what [fixed in edit!] refers to.
    I just told you I think of photography in terms of appearances, not ideals, so I won't be saddled with the perfect hat in which I have no interest. I tend to abhor perfection and claims to it.
     
  52. Bill, I had taken a break from forums and am going to go back on sabbatical. I had returned to the forums as a way to avoid watching or reading any news since I find it so depressing. But I'm remembering why I dropped out of the forums now, so I'm going to find yet another pastime. See you in the future.
     
  53. Bill, Ordered patterns appear in nature spontaneously due to laws of physics. We as part of nature have evolved to perceive patterns, because those skills are necessary for survival. Am I missing something?​
    Supriyo, you are right on target. I am exploring our (or at least my) evolved pattern perception mechanism by creating a pattern generator that I hope will ultimately seem alive, and which, as it stands, I suddenly found I was assigning different types of intelligence to than I know that it has. This cropped up just in the last few days, when I integrated the user drawing on the photo into a mapping into color space to pick the next photo, and in trying it out found myself thinking it was commenting on the lines I drew in different ways (see latest on my pnet page for an illustration of drawing on pic).
    I have a vague hope that the few thousand lines of java code and gigs of metadata I've generated may be closer to enough level of coherence to create a sense of life than I thought was possible without getting into deep learning and e.g. training a neural net to analyze user data.
    Creating life aside, it's the link of those patterns to our own survival that makes studying them interesting, and a way to learn more about nature. Maybe there is some quantum structure to the patterns?
     
  54. Sorry to turn you off, Fred. The edit was I used someone else's name at first, so not sure if anyone saw it. It seemed like you were trying to hold Steve to some sort of standard, and I was trying to get you to relax it, while not keeping the whole discussion adequately in mind it seems, and maybe just getting in the way of an argument. I too seek a deeper reality than the current news.
    Something I've been in tune with is how much photography deals with appearances. I like thinking of photography and art not as a search for the ideal or the real but a search and portrayal of the apparent. What an artist makes apparent is often a revelation, no matter the reality or the truth of it.​
    I'm into the experience of revelation, whether it comes from appearances or deeper synthesis. May that revelation help turn the news around.
     
  55. One thought I had is you're into photo criticism, but the thread is more about what photos might tell us of the mind and reality that is beyond anything we may have thought of yet.​
    But what I said about your OP photo of the cat WAS me telling you about my mind and the way I think. As a reminder...
    BTW I think Bill Ross's cat picture conveys a longing for the love of a pet with a kind of light hearted sillyness in the image language reminiscent of Polaroid snap shots thumb-tacked to work place bulletin boards as a remnant of the working stiff.
    Love the balanced modular composition and colors conveyed in the two separate pictures made to work as one.​
    That's not a criticism. That's what's in my mind that your picture made me aware of. Now it's up to you to figure out whether that's you or me making that happen. And you will never know or prove one or the other. That's the mystery provided by photography. You can explore it all you want but I'm afraid it takes two to tango, the first being the photographer, the second being the viewer, each can never control or predict what the other is thinking.
    As for it going beyond anything we (humanity?) may have thought of yet is a lofty goal I don't think is possible nor will it ever be known since it varies according to each individual including the photographer. What you or anyone thinks up that hasn't been thought of may have already been thought by someone not in yours or my nearby circle of those "in the know".
    I do have to say that Quantum Evaw image is spectacular in conveying ambiguity and nuance with a "take me to a new place I haven't been to" sort of vibe. That still doesn't mean it goes beyond what anyone has thought of, but I'ld say it is unique.
    BTW where is your website other's have been mentioning in this thread? Is it the PN "photoriot" photo gallery or a different website?
     
  56. Thanks Tim, this is getting interesting, the response you gave to my cats is a normal reaction to the composition as a single picture, which I'm mislabeling as photo criticism (not meaning negative criticism), but I'm inviting you to step in in a way that sequential viewing conveys better, and feel something different that holding two pics in mind at once might inspire, perhaps imagining the pics as boundaries to a space. There's a link to the website on my PN home page, and more thinking and background on the About page. 'Friction' is an apt word Julie used for the feeling that a pair of pics can inspire, and in a way the site is a sort of static electricity generator.
     
  57. Speaking of revelation, in case anyone is curious, here is a the core of a neural filter of sorts I just wrote to govern one aspect of draw-line-to-pic mapping (part of tying it to an ongoing DNA dynamics simulation that provides a sort of tin man's 'heart' to the AI). There is absolutely no empirical basis for this, just cargo-cultish thinking of what I would do if I was a mind, and hope based on the observation that very simple functions are doing amazing things in deep learning.
    // CONST like crazy
    int center = lh.id2_l.size() / 2; // midpoint of candidate list
    int cdist = Math.abs(target - center);
    int val = center + cdist + 2; // how many 'layers' we'll need peeling out from the target
    double exponent = 3.0 + 2.0 * (double) cdist / center; // pure magic​
     
  58. There's a link to the website on my PN home page, and more thinking and background on the About page.​
    I'm not seeing it on your PN home page. This is what I'm seeing...
    00eEUd-566405584.jpg
     
  59. Sorry, look at the bottom of my Gallery Portfolio. The About page referenced is on the site, link on main page.
     
  60. ...but I'm inviting you to step in in a way that sequential viewing conveys better, and feel something different that holding two pics in mind at once might inspire, perhaps imagining the pics as boundaries to a space.​
    Sorry, Bill, I gave it a try and I don't see or understand your method of exploration through the PhoBrain image viewer and what information you expect to derive in examining how someone imagines a space looking at a series of images that get the viewer to switch back to what they prefer within the series that would indicate a different feeling you could measure.
    I feel like you're attempting to come up with some sort of more involved and complex version of the Rorschach test. I can tell you I didn't feel anything different than I do browsing PN's "Random Image Generator". It just gets fatiguing after a while due to the visual sensory overload of viewing polished and glossy mediocre images. I find there's very little emotion in going through that type of viewing of a series of images. It's like browsing through a Fingerhut catalog. I keep asking why am I looking at this if I'm not going to buy anything in it. There's no payoff when I ask myself what this is leading to.
    Are you conducting your own Parallax Corporation test?
     
  61. Thanks for looking Tim, it definitely is more like a self-administered Rorschach test than a photo catalog, in that you need to look for the thread joining each pair of pics, noticing similarities and diffs, and look for that feeling of friction (more detail on the About page). If it's not something that happens exclusively in my own head, it's a learned experience at least (hopefully not depending on knowing all the pics in as many combinations as I've seen now). When I started out, I just had random sequencing, but got tired of that after about 2 weeks, so tried adding meaning to it, and have managed to impress myself as you can see. I'm hoping to find someone who can see that meaning too.
    Are you conducting your own Parallax Corporation test?​
    I can't puzzle out how the Wikipedia synopsis of The Parallax View applies -?
     
  62. Bill,
    I had the opportunity to play with the online app for sometime. While I get the methodology (and I was OK with picking up the connections by following the + sign) and basic philosophy, I am still not sure what we can get out of it. Surely, connecting the change in the pics to a real-time dynamics is innovative. I can imagine the temperature fluctuations in the simulation can somehow manifest in a stochastic behavior of the picture transitions (although you probably have a thermostat that dampens the fluctuations in absence of any clicks). You also call the simulated DNA the 'heart' of your app, which I vaguely assume to be an analogy to being alive. However, I am not sure what the user gets from this exercise. More importantly, the connections between the images are dependent on keywords which you had set. This introduces some level of rigidity to the interpretation of the images (I can find things in an image that you may have missed).
    Lastly, you have compared the program to a brain and I have an issue here. Brains continuously modify themselves by forming new connections and learn and adapt. I may have missed something, but I thought your program works solely based on predefined connections and there is no learning involved here. What I thought could be interesting is, if the software 'learns' by analyzing the connections defined by real users among images and that way it can potentially figure out quite complex relationships that are far beyond simple keywords. One may then deconstruct the trained transfer function to gain some understanding into how humans identify abstract connections. Can the software be trained to respond to and identify emotions using inputs from human users. Anyway, lots of really vague thoughts ...
     
  63. Thanks Supriyo. The DNA is a gesture to being alive and having some sort of memory embodied in its state, in that it receives taps from the slide show clicks and its geometry factors into photo selection. I'm not sure it has any detectable effect on the experience. The temperature is under a thermostat, and I have also had to tune the way the taps are delivered to avoid having it 'blow up' (numerical overflow) because of overstimulation.
    More importantly, the connections between the images are dependent on keywords which you had set. This introduces some level of rigidity to the interpretation of the images (I can find things in an image that you may have missed).​
    On keyword-based selection, my hope is that all the slicing and dicing I do of the lists of keyword-matching pics adds variety to the presentation, e.g. one time you may get accentuated contrast, and another diminished fractal dimension. I had to trim the keywords back to items that are most likely to give matches that people can recognize, since I found myself frustrated with matches on secondary features. The hope is to establish a pace of dialog, rather than to view each pair as a test. For variety, the draw-on-pic, click-on-pic, and 'opposite' (-) options provide color-based matches using a variety of metrics.
    Brains continuously modify themselves by forming new connections and learn and adapt. I may have missed something, but I thought your program works solely based on predefined connections and there is no learning involved here. What I thought could be interesting is, if the software 'learns' by analyzing the connections defined by real users among images and that way it can potentially figure out quite complex relationships that are far beyond simple keywords.​
    That's right. My plan is to add deep learning to make it capable of growing and adapting; meanwhile it is more like a lizard or insect brain. At this point I'm not sure when I can get deep learning involved, but I'm reading up in my spare time. One obvious experiment would be to train a reinforcement net to just keep people on as long as possible, and spend big bucks on ads to get the eyeballs for the training.
     
  64. The 'test' was painful to watch once it started to recycle images. In principle with deep learning Phobrain would get to know you and draw conclusions about your state of mind to pick the next photo. It's an open issue to what extent these conclusions could be exposed and interpreted, which is coming up as AI is used to make decisions about e.g. granting insurance policies. The other focus of deep learning would be to build more complex models of the photos from user data.
     
  65. It would be cool if the phobrain can figure out the emotional state and/or personality of the user based on what type of image he/she is looking at for how long.
     
  66. "It would be cool .." That's the fantasy. I have more hope for deriving deeper characterizations of the photos from such data, since one could average over lots of views offline, but am looking for the right neural architectures to do real-time user interaction as I read on. Speaking of fantasies, the ultimate is that once a sense of presence is achieved, enough of a personality would make it the basis for your trusted sidekick/secretary, with the rest of computerdom accessed through it.
     
  67. http://thehollywoodinterview.blogspot.com/2009/10/take-parallax-test.html
    The 'test' was painful to watch once it started to recycle images. In principle with deep learning Phobrain would get to know you and draw conclusions about your state of mind to pick the next photo. It's an open issue to what extent these conclusions could be exposed and interpreted, which is coming up as AI is used to make decisions about e.g. granting insurance policies. The other focus of deep learning would be to build more complex models of the photos from user data.​
    Yikes! I was kidding about the Parallax View movie referenced test for using AI to analyze personality traits of folks for potential assassin hires.
    But you are really serious about using your form of AI image viewing analysis for the purpose of building complex models to be used in insurance and advertising businesses.
    Bill, I'm going to put it bluntly. I've been mislead by what your initial intentions were which I had thought was about discussing the love of photography and the psychology that drives its interest solely for aesthetics and creative inspiration.
    You're just about building a support service for the business world using a similar Parallax test only not for hiring assassins.
    This is over for me. I'm out of here! Now I know why you've been banned from PN for a month. It makes sense now. HOLY SH*T! You got me, Bill. Ya' had me hooked but boy I was so clueless!
     
  68. If it ever got successful enough, you'd have to assume it would be tied into financial and other societal structures, if only because you'd want to leverage it yourself as a consumer - in that space my interest is in making it complicated enough so that no one could hack it without you detecting it, though in principle it seems like you could always train a larger system on it if you could get access.
    My initial impulse is to create art, then life, then I have to consider the implications if I succeed. If I had to choose one thing as a goal, it would be the implications of having created something living, which I think would change our whole concept of reality, and, in my wildest dreams, somehow provide a diversion from the avarice that drives the destruction of the planet. But in a way it's like creating an atom bomb that one cannot predict all the uses of.
    When I tried linking draw-on-pic selection to the DNA, it felt different, probably because of autosuggestion, but again it gives me a whiff of hope that I'm detecting it in picture selection, which could mean security of recognition.
     
  69. Any one else want to duck out now :)
    00eEYl-566415584.jpg
     
  70. So this is some kind of mind reading machine, your site? And I believe it is the case that we don't have AI because we don't know what intelligence is or how to model it, run into an infinite regression at the core of the AI problem.
     
  71. So this is some kind of mind reading machine, your site?​
    It just uses e.g. length of viewing time to vary the photo selection algorithms, to try and get some feeling of the in-the-moment responsiveness, creating a simple personality to seem alive. At this point, you are reading it far more than it is reading you. Give me a million bucks and a PhD. or three, and I have ideas towards getting users, analyzing their data on a large scale, and making it know what it is saying in some sense, with models of what it thinks you want and what it wants to say to you that would be distantly analogous to how cookies are used by advertisers for their instantaneous ad auctions that take place every time you load a web page (I worked on online ad serving at one point, and layered that technology on my artistic/philosophical ideas for picture combining).
    And I believe it is the case that we don't have AI because we don't know what intelligence is or how to model it, run into an infinite regression at the core of the AI problem.​
    I think we are on the verge of blowing that apart with the latest deep learning technology. E.g. see the artwork it generates at ostagram.ru, and note that computer voice recognition is now as good as human, and maybe you'll change your mind. In principle, I think we are figuring out what intelligence is - what distinguishes my project is that I am trying for presence rather that 'higher order' stuff. Can we recognize a program as reliably as we recognize our relatives? Admittedly that has applications in the real world, but I am most interested in the philosophical implications, and I'm not sure how much I fit in the 'we' of the biz, art, or science worlds at this point. And always, I'm just hooked on picture pairs, some of which you can see in my Portfolio.
     
  72. Meaning is my playground. It can take on any form and shape that I allow it to. At the same time I must also be shapeless and allow myself to be shaped by it. It's a pact.
    -----
    Fred, for someone who says that he's not an all or nothing kinda guy you sure seem to take an all or nothing kinda approach when it comes to deciding whether or not it's worth your time anymore to post here when responding to certain posts or posters. It's the nature of any human debate ( be it offline or online ) that people will talk past each other. But so what. It is what it is.
     
  73. I think we are on the verge of blowing that apart with the latest deep learning technology. E.g. see the artwork it generates at ostagram.ru, and note that computer voice recognition is now as good as human...​
    Just hope that deep learning technology won't seep into the robocalls of artificial sales people whose voice is so real that I can't tell if they're human or a recording.
    Just yesterday I got a call from what convincingly sounded like a doting elderly grandma who I thought was earning extra cash working in a call center asking me to donate to some cure for cancer foundation when I just had to ask her what day it was, where she replied..."I'm sorry, we're not allowed to give out that kind of information". My intelligence sensed I was talking to a voice recognition algorithm, so I immediately hung up the phone.
    Is that the infinite regression I ran into that new technology will overcome?
     
  74. Can we recognize a program as reliably as we recognize our relatives?​

    Bill, what do you mean by 'recognize', can you give more specifics? If you are referring to some sort of emotional connection, we certainly can and do connect to computer codes and softwares, even without any imposed aspects of intelligence. A somewhat crude and comical example, I have seen software programmers beg, pray, curse, sweet talk to their codes to make them work. If there is a software that I use daily and rely upon, seeing the icon of the software on the screen triggers a positive emotion in me. We often project consciousness and emotion into places where they don't exist.
     
  75. On mind reading, there are some interesting questions based on the new deep learning. It can do amazing things, but it's rather like a black box, so figuring out why it does them, what its reasoning is, is not simple. The cases where this comes up urgently are in the real world when discrimination lawsuits are filed based on denied insurance because maybe the AI picked up on biased data, and soon when car companies defend their driving algorithms against wrongful death suits (did you know they are using Grand Theft Auto to train driving AIs?). Privacy issues will be interesting I suspect, as the leverage of data extends into the psychological. E.g. with public data I can imagine someone writing a deep learning net to study all the postings people do on various media and profile them for all sorts of ends. Maybe people will care more about psychological conclusions, tho it seems like concerns over cookies have died down for now. There's an interesting tug between giving data and getting safety, e.g. giving your phone number to Facebook to protect from account takeover, but what can people do when they hack FB for your phone number?
    Going back to Tim's notion that photo viewing data could be used for evaluating insurance applications, imagine getting the technology to the point where it would pass legal muster: "See Your Honor, he looked at these 221 photos 4 milliseconds longer than the adjusted averages, and in 61.3% of the 14 million such cases there was a default - that's our best guess at the basis the AI was using. You can look at the photos and draw your own conclusions, Your Honor." Though I'm making fun of it, I can still imagine it happening eventually, and the consumer even being grateful for the lower prices.
     
  76. Returning to the original topic, what you call quantum reality is one reason why I love photography. However I have to admit, capturing quantum reality is limited to only a section of photography, since a multitude of artistic works have come to be defined as photography. More improvisations you introduce, you tend to obscure whatever was quantum in your original image. On the other hand, certain enhancements and cropping/dodging can bring out details of that quantum reality that were not perceivable originally.
    One more thing, in my opinion, we are predisposed to differentiate between moving 3D images and still 2D versions of the same and our perceptions differ that way. In real life, among all the elements of a scene, we notice the action more than anything. Also our perception is colored when we are part of a scene where events in front of us can affect us (we are to some extent hardwired to be self-oriented). On the other hand, when we are viewing a photo of the same scene, we are causally detached from the events/subjects depicted there, and this changes how we emotionally react to the photo vs real life. With the possibility of us being affected by the events removed, we probably react in a more unbiased way. This way, a photo could allow us to have a deeper look at the quantum aspects of reality than we could in real life. Just some random thoughts ...
     

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