Photography, like many art forms, is an interpretation. It's not generally a picture of exactly is in front of the lens, but what the photographer thinks or feels is in front of the lens.
We manipulate our photos from the moment we conceive them by cropping, under or over exposing, the timing of when we push the button, how we develop the film, and in the printing process, we "customize" it even more.
What we pull out of the final wash is what we think the scene was, how we saw it, and how we put that on paper. That's why photography, in my view, is much more an art than it is a science.
And to me, art is an illusion.
What a photograph is, and what a photograph says, are two completely different concepts.
The former is an objective physical manifestation that proceeds according to the objective physical laws of nature. An expression of the Principle of Uniformitarianism. No subjective input is required. Or even allowed. If one-hundred-million years ago God and random statistics had entertained a moment when all of the necessary ingredients required to create finished Tri-X had miraculously fallen together in the proper order somewhere on a translucent rock, then when the sun arose the following morning a true photographic negative would have been created. No human beings would have been present. Or required. Or even existed. It would have just happened.
The latter can have as many different interpretations as there are people on this planet. No objective input is required. Or even allowed. If one-hundred-million years later a Neandertal couple happened upon that (archivally processed!) rock negative, then his interpretation of the image as an NFL wide-out reaching back to catch a pass would have been just as valid—and conversely just as invalid—as her interpretation of it as a figure skater performing a pirouette. And if the person reading this post later interpreted it as nothing more than a plate of scrambled eggs, then so be it. It's all good.
But the ultimate challenge for everyone, which I freely admit has turned out to be a far, far more difficult one to overcome than I ever in my wildest dreams had imagined it would be, is simply not to confuse the two concepts.
Once that fearsome conceptual hurdle has been successfully negotiated, THEN it's time to gaze into those eyes and pour the wine...
This, and your rant from yesterday, make for some serious yin and yang ;)
Rants are second cousins to physical pain. Both are God's way of telling you that you're still here. Besides, it's all just a chance way out here on the West Coast to practice some minor creative writing at the end of the APUG day. A well-earned respite from the never-ending search for software memory leaks.
Except for that Stone dude, almost no one else is still awake anyway. And by tomorrow morning these posts will be buried out somewhere with the kitty litter. No one will ever notice.
Good to know I have a late evening audience, though...
But very good naval gazing.
perhaps allusion is a more accurate word...
I hope you won´t mind me giving a quite general statement, but everything we see might as well be an illusion. Theoretical physicists are seriously studying the possibility that our tri-dimensional world is actually a hologram, a projection of a 2D surface. In that case, photography would be an illusion reproducing another illusion. But being a frozen moment in time (or better space-time), photography has a strong power of communicating a concept or an idea.
In the 20th Century there were cases whereby isolated cultures who had never seen a photograph were presented with one with people in it and the viewers had absolutely no idea that those 'images' were representations of people.
I do wish I could quote sources here but the fact is this: When we are presented with a photograph, we ALREADY know (subliminally, through previous training) that our brains must 'translate' the data into real world experiences and we do so accordingly and easily. This 'translation knowledge' is difficult for us to realize as a separate step because it is so habitual.
This is why sometimes intelligent people are really rather ignorant with how to teach topics to uneducated people, because they are caught in the trap of assuming too much. One has to be able to revert to ignorance in order to be able to uplift ignorance. Ironically, here, ignorance is a type of (seminal) knowledge. - David Lyga
I would like to have that tatoo'd on one of my body parts!
Originally Posted by David Lyga
Brian, you already have: on your brain. (That was a compliment.) - David Lyga