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Thread: Is every photo 'of' something?

  1. #1
    tomdinning's Avatar
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    tom dinning

    Is every photo 'of' something?

    What of the subject matter, the thing being photographed? As ignorant viewers we look for recognition, identifying what we know and possibly puzzling over what we don't recognise, striving to put a name to it.

    But what if the photographer doesn't want you to see 'two pears'. Instead he wants you to be lost in the form and colour, be in another world, feel calm and relaxed, smell the fragrances, float in a sea of green or just lick your lips.

    What if its not about the composition or the sharpness or the lens or camera or processing or how many pixels? What if it it just about the picture?

    What do we say then?
    What can we say?


    Is every photo 'of' something?

  2. #2

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    Re: Is every photo 'of' something?

    It's definitely possible to shoot abstracts. However, when I opened this thread, I saw the photo without reading a word of text and instantly knew it was a photo of two pears. I don't think I would have known the fruit are pears if the shape of the fruit on the right side hadn't been so recognizable. Instead, I think I would have assumed the photo was of two fruits that were new to me.

  3. #3

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    Re: Is every photo 'of' something?

    Hi Tom. At least for me you made your image too concrete to "be lost in the form and colour, be in another world, feel calm and relaxed, smell the fragrances, float in a sea of green or just lick your lips". As my mother would tell my sister, "show less so that the boys have to use their imagination. What they imagine will always be greater than what you possess."

    Karm

  4. #4
    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Is every photo 'of' something?

    Hi Tom,
    This is interesting. I love abstract images, and find it pretty difficult to generate them. Some people are much more capable. (There was a recent thread 'Monochrome Abstract' by Mike Buckley that generated a very interesting discussion.)
    I think my problem is that I find it difficult to cloud or hide form and pattern from my sources. More to the point, I can obliterate form and pattern very easily but it's the knack of ending up with something that 'sparks' interest in the viewer that I find hard.

    Given that we are a pattern seeking and pattern recognising species, I suppose its hardly surprising that we can detect clues to source images. (By the way, I'm limiting myself at present to 'organic' abstracts rather than geometric constructs which I think get processed differently in our brain and generate 'intellectual' review rather than emotional.)

    So fancy an experiment?

    As I said I'm not too good with abstract creations, but I do keep having a pop every now and then.
    My contention is that we tend to 'see' natural patterns which makes it very difficult to hide the source, which I think is what you originally were questioning.

    So, take a look at the attached abstract treatments I have generated for a couple of images over the last few years. I have 'hesitated' to present them to anyone, because I find them deeply dissatisfying, (but then I know what they are in each case.)

    So lets see: -

    1) what people on CiC see and think of them?
    2) what they think the original image is that prompted me to try an abstract treatment.

    In a couple of days, depending on how responses develop, I will reveal the source images

    I at least will have an idea if I have successfully confused source, form, and pattern sufficiently. But whether it will actually contribute anything useful to the question of abstracts and what they 'are'..........
    Rearding artistic merit, I make no claims, but will be interested in how they are received.

    (By the way, one example has been generated for this thread so strictly speaking has no artistic merit at all!)

    misc-1.jpg

    misc-2.jpg

    misc-3.jpg

    misc-4.jpg

    James
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by James G; 6th June 2013 at 07:46 PM.

  5. #5

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    Re: Is every photo 'of' something?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomdinning View Post

    What do we say then?
    What can we say?

    Is every photo 'of' something?



    Thanks for making me look...

  6. #6
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Is every photo 'of' something?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomdinning View Post

    But what if the photographer doesn't want you to see 'two pears'. Instead he wants you to be lost in the form and colour, be in another world, feel calm and relaxed, smell the fragrances, float in a sea of green or just lick your lips.


    Is every photo 'of' something?
    But just as the photographer is under no obligation to render his image according to the expectations of his audience, nor is the audience under obligation to divine the photographer's intent and message. As photographers, I think we can invite the viewer to see what we see and feel, but should have no sense of disappointment if the audience's response come as a surprise to us. We've succeeded if they respond at all.

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