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Author Topic: She likes it. You might hate it.  (Read 9573 times)
amolitor
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« Reply #40 on: July 20, 2012, 03:09:18 PM »
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Well, pop, maybe I am mis-interpreting:

    I suppose they didn't look but just dived off the deep end anyway.

but it looks to ME like Isaac is saying 'they didn't look'. Perhaps I am wrong.

Symbols in the sense I mean, taken in isolation, don't admit distinct interpretations. You're (deliberately, I assume) taking each item in my list as a separate and distinct item so you can dismiss it. Glib and witty, but not actually engaged.

I'm out, this discussion is going no place I want to be.
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« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2012, 03:31:23 PM »
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Well, pop, maybe I am mis-interpreting:

    I suppose they didn't look but just dived off the deep end anyway.

but it looks to ME like Isaac is saying 'they didn't look'. Perhaps I am wrong.

Symbols in the sense I mean, taken in isolation, don't admit distinct interpretations. You're (deliberately, I assume) taking each item in my list as a separate and distinct item so you can dismiss it. Glib and witty, but not actually engaged.

I'm out, this discussion is going no place I want to be.

You were the one who listed those things as individual examples, not me.
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Isaac
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« Reply #42 on: July 20, 2012, 04:28:51 PM »
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  • young woman
  • baby/young mother
  • leather jacket
  • sitting on the ground
  • alley


Let's find those "symbols of destitution, decay, drug use" in the photo --
  • young woman [with new stuff and clean stuff]
  • [clean, healthy, unconcerned] baby/young mother
  • [clean, newish] leather jacket
  • sitting on the ground [sitting on only seat visible]
  • alley [that might even get cleaned ! no obvious weeds or litter]

I don't think that, in context, those are  "symbols of destitution, decay, drug use". I think you'd need a different kind of "young woman", a different kind of "baby/young mother", a different kind of "leather jacket", a different kind of "sitting on the ground", a different kind of "alley".


I am pretty sure you're being disingenuous. How do you feel like apologizing for saying, basically, that everybody except you couldn't be bothered to look closely? No? Didn't think so.

I don't know what I would have thought if I'd have seen the photo as soon as it was posted -- I have a well proven ability to misunderstand, so maybe I would have failed to look and mistaken what was presented.

However, I hope that I'm getting better at acknowledging and understanding my all too frequent mistakes.
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« Reply #43 on: July 20, 2012, 04:46:00 PM »
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What the photographer was telling you before she elaborated, Jim, was this: "Here's what I saw, make of it what you will." Why do we think a photographer has to be telling us something? The idea that art has to convey a message sounds as if it comes from the heady, leftist days of Soviet "art." Good art should tell you something about yourself. Yeah, the title was confusing. Sometimes it's best to call something like that "untitled" and let the viewer come up with his own title.

Russ, you brought up an interesting point and one that I've thought about quite a bit. I agree that good art should stand on its own and allow viewers come up with their own meaning rather than having the title steer them toward a particular interpretation. And if you want to give your work a title, give it a neutral one. For example, Ansel Adams' iconic image "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico" has a neutral, informational title. It is, literally, a photo of a moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico. It's mere information without suggesting an interpretation. It is a much better title than something like "Ghostly Moon Rises Over Lonely New Mexico Church" or some crap like that.

But some photographs depend on their title, because without one they would lose their impact entirely. For example, Robert Capa's famous photo "Fallen Soldier" depends on its title. Without that title or other background information, it could just as easily have been called "Soldier Slips on Wet Grass on Hillside" and it would have been quickly forgotten forever. So too with a photo you mentioned elsewhere recently, Andres Serrano's photograph "Piss Christ". If instead it had been called "Crucifix in Orange Jello" it never would have generated anything like the notoriety it did. It also would not have been auctioned off a few years later for $162,000. For all we know "Piss Christ" might actually have been a crucifix in orange jello. Serrano claimed it was piss, but maybe he just wanted the controversy. It certainly paid off for him in any case. The title made all the difference.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 05:02:30 PM by popnfresh » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #44 on: July 20, 2012, 05:11:28 PM »
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Good points, Pop. Especially the one about Capa's shot. Was it real or was it faked? Both answers have been "proven," but I doubt we'll ever know? It may very well have been "Soldier Slips on Wet Grass on Hillside," but the title, hooked on to the picture, made him famous.

I think a documentary shot, one that's used for journalism needs a precise title, but I think you need to be very, very careful when you title a street shot. HCB had the right idea. For the most part his titles were the general location of the shot -- as you suggest, a neutral title. He let you come up with your own title for what you saw.

From what I've read, in the negative Ansel's moon wasn't really ghostly. It became ghostly in the "performance."

And I'm quite sure Serrano was after controversy and the notoriety it brought him as a substitute for fame. He was one of the precursors in a wave of "schlock" (oops) "shock" art.


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« Reply #45 on: July 20, 2012, 05:26:13 PM »
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From what I've read, in the negative Ansel's moon wasn't really ghostly. It became ghostly in the "performance."


It was very much so. Adams wasn't at all reticent about discussing it either. I believe it was in his book "The Print" where he showed a comparison of a straight-off-the-negative print of Moonrise next to a finalized version which was the result of an elaborate series of dodgings and burnings. The difference was like night and day. I think he even made schematics of his procedures for printing some of his more famous negatives so that others could see how he achieved the desired result. He also wanted others to be able to work with his negatives after he was gone.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 05:29:57 PM by popnfresh » Logged
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« Reply #46 on: July 20, 2012, 05:59:47 PM »
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That's where I read it. . . Long ago.
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Rob C
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« Reply #47 on: July 21, 2012, 03:01:09 AM »
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I guess that means everyone is full of bullshit, because everyone is a critic. At least I've never met anyone who wasn't.


Nope, being a critic isn't the same as making critiques. Being a critic is no more nor worse than offering your view on whether something passes your personal taste-barriers, and that's fine by me even if I disagree with the criticism expressed; critique carries the innate assumption of a better take on something than has its author, and that annoys me very much for all the reasons that make second-guessing the nonsense that it patently is.

But hell, it fills pages and makes 'critiquers' happy...

Rob C
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« Reply #48 on: July 23, 2012, 10:15:06 AM »
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Nope, being a critic isn't the same as making critiques. Being a critic is no more nor worse than offering your view on whether something passes your personal taste-barriers, and that's fine by me even if I disagree with the criticism expressed; critique carries the innate assumption of a better take on something than has its author, and that annoys me very much for all the reasons that make second-guessing the nonsense that it patently is.

But hell, it fills pages and makes 'critiquers' happy...

Rob C

I would say the assumption is that one has a different take, not necessarlly a better one.

But this begs the question of why you hang out in the User Critiques forum at all if you think it's such nonsense. Is it just to complain?
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RSL
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« Reply #49 on: July 23, 2012, 11:22:16 AM »
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Arraaaahhhgggghh! I can't stand it any longer. Pop, it doesn't "beg the question," it "raises the question." To beg the question is to ask something like: "Have you stopped beating your wife?", a question that includes an unwarranted assumption. That's begging the question. I see the misuse of "begs the question" more and more and it's driving me crazy.... crazy!!! I even saw it not long ago in the Wall Street Journal! The English language is being gnawed to shreds.
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« Reply #50 on: July 23, 2012, 11:47:53 AM »
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Arraaaahhhgggghh! I can't stand it any longer. Pop, it doesn't "beg the question," it "raises the question." To beg the question is to ask something like: "Have you stopped beating your wife?", a question that includes an unwarranted assumption. That's begging the question. I see the misuse of "begs the question" more and more and it's driving me crazy.... crazy!!! I even saw it not long ago in the Wall Street Journal! The English language is being gnawed to shreds.

I beg to differ. It's not a misuse of the language at all. Colloquial English is never static and always evolving. What you see as increasing misuse is an indication of an evolution in progress. "Begs the question" has evolved to become interchangeable with "raises the question", just as the word "sex" has become interchangeable with "gender", or "flammable" with "inflammable".

Regardless, the question has been raised. Err... I mean begged.  Tongue
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 11:50:34 AM by popnfresh » Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #51 on: July 23, 2012, 12:07:48 PM »
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I beg to differ....

Ha! Another "beg" phrase! As a non-native speaker, I often resort to dictionaries to find the precise meaning of certain words and phrases. Here is what I found:  Grin
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« Reply #52 on: July 23, 2012, 12:14:22 PM »
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You can beg, Pop, but "equating" "begs the question" with "raising the question" and "sex" with "gender" is exactly what I'm talking about. This isn't "evolution" of the language, it's destruction. If you can't use the term "begs the question" and have the reader understand what you mean, then you have to go all 'round Robin Hood's barn to get the meaning across. In addition, to say: "It begs the question: 'Why doesn't he understand what "begs the question" means?'", isn't even grammatically correct. "Begs" isn't the proper word in that sentence. You're not on your knees begging to know the answer to the question. You're "raising" the question, which puts the question into the air waiting to be answered. And "gender" isn't a synonym for "sex," any more than "persistence" is a synonym for "perseverance." Winston Churchill seems to have been the last person in the world who understood the beautiful subtleties of the English Language, which is why reading him is such a joy. If you haven't tried it, you might consider it.
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Rob C
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« Reply #53 on: July 23, 2012, 01:04:16 PM »
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I would say the assumption is that one has a different take, not necessarlly a better one.

But this begs the question of why you hang out in the User Critiques forum at all if you think it's such nonsense. Is it just to complain?




I 'hang out' as you put it, in the hope of seeing interesting photographs. You'll also note that it's very hard to find any second-guessing from me on any of them, if at all. I do sometimes offer praise, seldom (if ever) condemn; but telling another what he should do or have done is something quite else and I don't like it. That's why I started Without Prejudice in order to provide a space where folks could post a pic without the annoyance of hearing how another would have handled it. Have you any idea what a pain in the ass it is to have someone who doesn't know much about you, has bugger-all track record of his/her own, tell you how to take photographs? As for asking for 'critique' I'm afraid all you'll get is the very stuff that irritates me so; just do as Russ and I have so often suggested: absorb the better books and magazines until you can spot a snapper's work before you read the byline. By then you will have educated your mind and eye as far as you need and can safely take off into your own universe.

Oh - Russ is absolutely correct on the point of grammar... but don't feel badly about it - it's like splitting infinitives: many don't even know what that means. Evolution, indeed; murder's more like it! Anyway, this isn't colloquial English, it's written English and as you can see from some of the posts here, without capitals, hardly a vestige of punctuation, meaning becomes almost impossible to understand - something that proper use of English has the means to render quite unnecessary.

At which point, I shall go and make myself a tomato and cucumber sandwich.

Rob C
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 01:07:31 PM by Rob C » Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #54 on: July 23, 2012, 01:10:03 PM »
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If, as others pointed out and the OP confirmed, there are no "symbols of destitution, decay, drug use" in the photo, just a "clean, healthy, unconcerned] baby/young mother," then it raises the question why we are looking at it (as in: why did the OP show it to us)?

Who cares about "clean, healthy, unconcerned] baby/young mother" (apart from the family members)? If it is nothing but a "clean, healthy, unconcerned] baby/young mother," then it belongs to a family album. So that, years from now, the junior can look at it hear the mother saying: "Look, honey, this is when mommy had to dirty her butt because your butt got dirty!" Cute, yes, but who cares (again, other than the family)?

Tolstoy said "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." In other words, happy families are boring. You saw one, you saw them all. Photos of happy families are suitable for advertising, but rarely, if ever, for art.

I guess you are wondering by now where I am going with this. I am trying to explain why some people, when facing a photograph like this, subconsciously (or not) look for (and find) signs of trouble. Had the mother and the baby looked into the camera and cracked a smile, everybody would agree that it is a cute family-album photo.

However, there is no smile and no looking into the camera. The baby appears uncomfortable and crumpled, mother resigned and tired. Both are looking down. The do appear relatively well-off, but so do millions of middle-class foreclosure victims in the States. People who, until yesterday, lived in half-a-million homes, still have their designer clothing and even fancy cars, yet are suddenly on the street after eviction. That is a scenario I can see this mother in.

Humans are hard-wired to look for justification, explanation, cause-effect. If it was just another happy-family-diaper-changing-scene, who would care?

 


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« Reply #55 on: July 23, 2012, 02:34:38 PM »
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You can beg, Pop, but "equating" "begs the question" with "raising the question" and "sex" with "gender" is exactly what I'm talking about. This isn't "evolution" of the language, it's destruction.

Prevailing use determines correct use. It always has and it always will. It's why we don't talk and write in the 21st century like Shakespeare did in the 17th.
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Isaac
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« Reply #56 on: July 23, 2012, 04:37:32 PM »
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... then it raises the question why we are looking at it (as in: why did the OP show it to us)?
I can conjure that into an explanation of the title "She likes it. You might hate it." She likes it for the usual reasons we like seeing snapshots of ourselves (especially when they are so well crafted); and you might hate it because you want profundity, you want tragedy, you want Art :-)

Tolstoy said "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
And while it is a nice one liner, that isn't enough to show it to be The Truth.

Humans are hard-wired to look for justification, explanation, cause-effect. If it was just another happy-family-diaper-changing-scene, who would care?
Yes, we seek explanations -- but we don't all seek miserable explanations ;-)

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« Reply #57 on: July 23, 2012, 08:44:52 PM »
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Prevailing use determines correct use.

Yes, and at the rate we're going it won't be long before "prevailing use" will be a series of grunts.
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« Reply #58 on: July 23, 2012, 10:01:45 PM »
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Yes, and at the rate we're going it won't be long before "prevailing use" will be a series of grunts.

I'm sorry, but I no longer recognize the Roman alphabet. Can you grunt that for me?  Wink Wink Wink
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« Reply #59 on: July 23, 2012, 10:22:59 PM »
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I do sometimes offer praise, seldom (if ever) condemn; but telling another what he should do or have done is something quite else and I don't like it. That's why I started Without Prejudice in order to provide a space where folks could post a pic without the annoyance of hearing how another would have handled it. Have you any idea what a pain in the ass it is to have someone who doesn't know much about you, has bugger-all track record of his/her own, tell you how to take photographs? As for asking for 'critique' I'm afraid all you'll get is the very stuff that irritates me so; just do as Russ and I have so often suggested: absorb the better books and magazines until you can spot a snapper's work before you read the byline. By then you will have educated your mind and eye as far as you need and can safely take off into your own universe.


Believe me, I hear what you're saying. I try to be constructive when I critique and I approach it from the standpoint of what I would do in the same situation, rather than what I think they should do. But in general I prefer handing out praise anyway. It's less likely to provoke confrontation and easier on the old blood pressure. Besides, I think when people offer up a photograph for critique what they're really looking for is praise. I'm happy to give praise when I think a photograph merits it, but I try to hold my tongue when I see something that's really awful or boring. What I like to critique are the near misses. If only the photographer had done this or that it could have worked better. Those are the kinds of shots I like commenting on.
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