Photographic Study

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cliveh, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    A few years ago, I was sent a photography publication from a University that will remain nameless. It had a glossy cover and I think it had about 86 pages of text and contained about three images. Am I missing something here?
     
  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    That is hard to say based on your sparse description. If it was supposed to be an exhibition catalogue, then yes, it was missing photographs. However, there are many essays, critiques, and books on photography that contain very few actual photographs.
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Allow me to expand. This was not an exhibition catalogue, but a general publication published by the photographic department.
     
  4. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    For what purpose? About the department in a school catalogue for recruitment? I should note that I teach photography at a university and can say that we send out several kinds of publications with varying quantities of photographs in them depending on the purpose of the publication. So without knowing the purpose of the document, I cannot comment on the validity of the publication or participate in what I can only assume is a thread wanting to mock the usefulness of university photography departments.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2012
  5. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Susan Sontag's "On Photography" book is pretty devoid of illustration.
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Are you disappointed because you actually had to read on the subject rather than just being able to look at photos.
     
  7. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I noticed that.
     
  8. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Yes.
     
  9. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I am not wanting to mock the usefulness of university photography departments. I just want to understand what is going on with placing more emphasis on description and analysis than communication through visual imagery.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    if you put together a publication for a photography department
    what would you put the emphasis on ? would you have any text?
    would it be only a certain type of imagery ?
     
  11. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Would you think the same if you were studying Medicine or Law at university?
    Reading and study are huge components of both. And there is ample real-world experience as time goes on. Same with Visual Arts at Universities. Mine was heavy on reading but also had a lot of darkroom, legal, business and photographic work.
     
  12. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I feel your pain, Luckily you didn't sign up.

    3 out of 86 pages for a visual medium is pretty ...well, non visual.

    But you also have to remember that there are two types of photographers (probably more) , the artsy types that are visual, and the engineer types that are far less so.

    The old right brain vs left brain. The first is very visual, hates number and formulas and is drawn to the visual aspects of photography almost exclusively.

    Then there is the engineer types who love the theory, formulas, loves tinkering with gadgets, and is less likely to pursue people photography.

    Obviously there are crossovers.

    That's the reason we have great product, architectural and scenic photographers and on the other hand we have great portrait, photojournalists and people photographers.

    Again, obviously there are crossovers.

    But a people photographer would be miserable setting up a food shot for two days and a architectural photographer may hate to do weddings.

    C'est la vie.
     
  13. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I don't know, I haven't seen that many crossdressers in photography.
     
  14. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Or does he mean double-crossers??
     
  15. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Since neither the contents nor the point of the publication have been revealed to us, I would hazard to guess that it was less technical and more art history/art theory or criticism than anything else.
     
  16. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Don't get out to California much huh?
     
  17. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Rather devoid of any significant content, too. Cohabitation with a notorious semi-papparazi does not make one an authority on photographty
     
  18. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I wonder what Thomas Chippendale would think about reading a book by someone with little knowledge of cabinet making but intellectualised the ideas about making cabinets.
     
  19. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Clive - under the same vein, should A.D. Coleman be stripped of his accomplishments considering he is a respected critic and has published much re photography; although, I believe, he does not photograph himself? I sense a level of disregard for educational/critical offerings in this thread? This thread is quite vague to me, it doesn't seem like from the beginning there was a deep enough 'ethical/philosophical' observation for us to discuss/debate? What are you trying to impart?
     
  20. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I apologise for the vagueness of this thread, as I realise I am treading on dangerous ground and may upset some people with what has been said thus far. However, I just want to understand what is going on in photographic education with placing more emphasis on description and analysis than communication through visual imagery.
     
  21. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    According to Wikipedia, "...After Sontag's death, Newsweek published an article about Leibovitz that made clear reference to her decade-plus relationship with Sontag, stating: "The two first met in the late '80s, when Leibovitz photographed her for a book jacket...."

    'On Photogrpahy' was published in 1977.

    Not that I would disagree with either one of your sentences (although the first one could use more context), but I do think you intended to make a connection, and history throws a wrench in this attempted connection.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2012
  22. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I expect that "On Photography" was at least part of the reason that the relationship between Sontag and Liebovitz actually ocurred.

    And I have no difficulty with an un-illustrated examination of photographic issues - it makes as much sense as an examination of music that lacks sound clips.
     
  23. alex66

    alex66 Member

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    I would not be too worried about a lack of photographs in a prospectus, a lot of what you would study will be analysis of photography. It has been the background reading that has given me greater understanding of what I am trying to create. I would not judge a photography degree until I had an interview/met the course leaders and looked around the facility. I chose my MA as the interviewers were challenging in their looking through my portfolio and I felt a real passion for the art. Of course having some cracking darkroom facilities was an important factor.
     
  24. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I certainly agree. It's a good primer in getting one acquainted with that particular area of photography B.S. though. I suspect it's a popular and common school textbook for photo or photo history students.
     
  25. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Yes, I was compelled to read it in a photojournalism class when it and the author were the latest rage. A professional author has to write about something, and Sontag chose photography, Her prominence in literary circles assured its success. The book was perhaps less about photography than about photography's effect on non-photographers. This was appropriate for its intended audience. Long ago Robert Taft did much the same in his Photography and the American Scene, which is still a valuable reference on 19th century American photography. Taft knew his subject, and even included photographs! Sontag pales in comparison.