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Author Topic: Love Real Street  (Read 12111 times)
RSL
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« Reply #140 on: February 12, 2013, 08:37:43 AM »
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I'm seeing a lot of documentary, some of it very good, but the last several don't contain much street ambiguity. My hat's off to Stamper's "Bubbles" and Seamus's "Be careful out there." Lots of questions in "Bubbles," and the kid's expression makes the picture. And it's not often a croc is waiting to grab the bag of whatever you just purchased. Another top of the line is Stamper's "My cup runneth over." What's actually supporting that basin? Ouch! Unfortunately a couple posts are too small to let the viewer see what's going on.

Here's another one. It's street documentation but it doesn't have much ambiguity. Considering the subject matter, that's unfortunate. I shot this one in 2007, and every time I see it I pray those kids will grow up along with their baby. Ambiguity might make hope more reasonable.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 11:23:39 AM by RSL » Logged

Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #141 on: February 12, 2013, 09:16:07 AM »
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Ambiguity is nice, sometimes, as long as it doesn't come from your bank.

Rob C
Now that has to be the definitive word on "ambiguity." Bravo, Rob!
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stamper
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« Reply #142 on: February 12, 2013, 09:38:16 AM »
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Stroller. I think there is enough going on in it to make it interesting. You are wondering what the young woman is saying to the guy. Is it a reprimand for something he has done wrong or is she telling him that he's onto a promise?  Grin
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RSL
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« Reply #143 on: February 12, 2013, 09:46:35 AM »
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Actually I'm wondering why his pants are falling down  Cheesy
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #144 on: February 12, 2013, 10:19:58 AM »
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The last many pages have been filled with explicit documentary style street photographs. I haven't seen one claim yet of ambiguity by the photographer, nor one ambiguous photograph. (Wondering what two people are saying to each other is not a demonstration of ambiguity.)   

Would someone mind saying which of their photographs posted here they think are ambiguous? There was so much insistence on ambiguity I thought for sure there would be many examples posted. It would be interesting to see just one to study.
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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #145 on: February 12, 2013, 10:23:02 AM »
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Passing Glances
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #146 on: February 12, 2013, 11:06:43 AM »
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Passing Glances
The direct connection of two people creates a little tension through their obvious differences, as seen by the observer here. This kind of featureless lighting though doesn't create much drama, and doesn't accentuate the composition, which I think is very good. The bars make a nice grid for the scene and the even sky works to keep attention on the figures. But there is little dimensionality here and for that I think the idea suffers a bit. Imagining some deep shadows here I can see a more powerful picture. I think the idea works well for me, but the actual photograph is a bit under-performing considering the subject matter.

EDIT: With regard to the category here,  I should have mentioned in the critique that this is an explicit and unambiguous photograph, like most of the others in the thread. Of course the photographer didn't claim it was ambiguous, so that's good, but I should mention it given the debate about street photography.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 12:18:10 PM by RedwoodGuy » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #147 on: February 12, 2013, 01:27:38 PM »
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The last many pages have been filled with explicit documentary style street photographs. I haven't seen one claim yet of ambiguity by the photographer, nor one ambiguous photograph. (Wondering what two people are saying to each other is not a demonstration of ambiguity.)   

Would someone mind saying which of their photographs posted here they think are ambiguous? There was so much insistence on ambiguity I thought for sure there would be many examples posted. It would be interesting to see just one to study.



Be my guest: so ambiguous it jumped right back off the street onto the patio!


Rob C
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WalterEG
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« Reply #148 on: February 12, 2013, 01:55:23 PM »
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Sometimes surreal juxtapositions can really work.
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Chris Calohan
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« Reply #149 on: February 12, 2013, 02:12:59 PM »
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The direct connection of two people creates a little tension through their obvious differences, as seen by the observer here. This kind of featureless lighting though doesn't create much drama, and doesn't accentuate the composition, which I think is very good. The bars make a nice grid for the scene and the even sky works to keep attention on the figures. But there is little dimensionality here and for that I think the idea suffers a bit. Imagining some deep shadows here I can see a more powerful picture. I think the idea works well for me, but the actual photograph is a bit under-performing considering the subject matter.

EDIT: With regard to the category here,  I should have mentioned in the critique that this is an explicit and unambiguous photograph, like most of the others in the thread. Of course the photographer didn't claim it was ambiguous, so that's good, but I should mention it given the debate about street photography.

I would differ as the scene is quite ambiguous. There is no certainty as to what exchange, if any has taken place. There is a rather vague connection made to what I saw as "boredom - resignation on the parts of the two players but there also may be a reaction. The guy on the right might have called the other one a name and the gocart guy has responded with a look of contempt...anything could be taking place; thus we have ambiguity in its fullest measure.
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amolitor
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« Reply #150 on: February 12, 2013, 02:22:11 PM »
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I like Chris's photo specifically because of the ambiguity.

The sightlines are not quite clear, the men could be looking past each other. We're invited to guess that they are looking at each other, and to guess at the story, if any, therein. But it's not clear. There are potential depths, but we must make them ourselves, really. To me, this is what street's all about.

Plus, the geometries are pretty wicked too.
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kencameron
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« Reply #151 on: February 12, 2013, 02:35:39 PM »
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It seems as if we are arguing about the application of a somewhat ambiguous word. That could go on for a long time. We also need to be careful about whether we are using the word as descriptive or evaluative. Is it a synonym for quality, so that more of it is better, or just one characteristic among others? For mine, there are degrees of "ambiguity". Sometimes there is something jut a little bit unclear about an only mildly interesting narrative - as in my shot, IMO. Sometimes the implied narrative is stronger and less clear - Chris C's shot a fair way along that continuum, but not as far as it is possible to go.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 02:37:40 PM by kencameron » Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #152 on: February 12, 2013, 02:41:23 PM »
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Ambiguity = Emperor's new clothes

Faithfuls are seeing it, infidels not.

Tongue
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #153 on: February 12, 2013, 02:49:00 PM »
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I would differ as the scene is quite ambiguous. There is no certainty as to what exchange, if any has taken place. There is a rather vague connection made to what I saw as "boredom - resignation on the parts of the two players but there also may be a reaction. The guy on the right might have called the other one a name and the gocart guy has responded with a look of contempt...anything could be taking place; thus we have ambiguity in its fullest measure.
Now I understand why you all think these photos are "ambiguous." Your concept of an ambiguous photo is one in which you can imagine various story lines to apply to the people. He might have called her a slut, she might have said let's have sex, he might be arguing with his boss on the phone, or she might be arguing with her mother, she might be talking with the pope, and so on, and so on. Therefore it follows, that any photograph involving a person is ambiguous, because we can invent multiple stories of what each is doing, saying, or perhaps thinking. As you put it, "when there is no certainty of of the exchange."

Photographs do not contain a sound track. And therefore no certainty of verbal exchange. When viewing photographs we have no expectation of any kind that we "know what people are saying," let alone what they might be thinking or feeling. Therefore it is a given that any possible words can be put in anyone's mouth or thought bubble on any photograph taken that includes a person. That general claim eliminates the possibility of declaring one photo ambiguous and the other not. I can invent "multiple speaking roles" for any photograph I take with people.

I think your comment represents a big misunderstanding of what make an ambiguous photograph.  Ambiguity isn't about making up countless variations of stories for the photograph. It is about the photograph driving in two (or sometimes more) basically divergent directions based on the photographic content - not some imagined verbal content. Your photo of two men is explicit in content - "two men on a walkway are looking at each other." Each man is explicitly rendered in their circumstance. The space and time they occupy is explicitly rendered. You don't turn that into an "ambiguous photograph" by simply speculating on what they are saying or thinking. That aspect of any photograph is it's "story telling ability" or it's intellectual content. That's what is meant by intellectual stimulation of a photograph. It might also refer to the emotional impact of a photograph. If it makes you "feel" a certain way, say, pitiful or angry, that's the emotional content. Neither of those defines an "ambiguous photograph." To say every expression people have on their face is "ambiguous" might be true, but also meaningless in the sense we are discussing here about photography. It's easy to say all expressions are ambiguous in a photograph. So, that makes every photograph ambiguous? No, it does not. It might make some mysterious, or humorous, or intriguing, but not ambiguous.

I am glad you spoke forward because I simply couldn't see where all this claimed ambiguity was in these photographs. Now I understand what you all meant. You invent mental scenarios and scripts for your images, and since you are then "uncertain which is true" it becomes very ambiguous.  I get it - thanks.

« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 02:52:11 PM by RedwoodGuy » Logged
amolitor
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« Reply #154 on: February 12, 2013, 02:51:21 PM »
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I am unclear on what does constitute an ambiguous photograph, then. Can you post, or otherwise direct my attention to an example, please?
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WalterEG
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« Reply #155 on: February 12, 2013, 03:51:14 PM »
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Ambiguity = Emperor's new clothes

Faithfuls are seeing it, infidels not.

Tongue

Aman to that!
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Rob C
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« Reply #156 on: February 12, 2013, 03:56:31 PM »
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 The guy on the right might have called the other one a name and the gocart guy has responded with a look of contempt...anything could be taking place; thus we have ambiguity in its fullest measure.



Other way around: the black guy with the camera just shot a candid of the white guy in the 'mobile'; the former thought he was Gordon Parks but he wasn't. The 'subject' wasn't thrilled. Maybe he once lived on Mallorca. Ain't life complicated?

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #157 on: February 12, 2013, 04:16:58 PM »
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Okay, off the terrace and back in the world.

Sunday market a while back; made me think of a great, iconic Mexican movie.

Rob C
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #158 on: February 12, 2013, 05:23:46 PM »
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I am unclear on what does constitute an ambiguous photograph, then. Can you post, or otherwise direct my attention to an example, please?

I think you have it backwards. It's you fellas that have been going on and on about ambiguity as an ingredient in street photography, not me. Didn't you just a few hours ago post something you claimed was ambiguous?
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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #159 on: February 12, 2013, 05:24:50 PM »
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Sometimes surreal juxtapositions can really work.
Yes, they can. Are there some photographs in here you think demonstrate that?
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