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Author Topic: The Art of Fooling Around  (Read 11675 times)
Isaac
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« Reply #60 on: October 16, 2013, 12:56:56 PM »
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Where are all those unnamed individuals? :-)

I guess a lot of people initially assume a photograph accurately represents a particular scene, but I don't think they have any difficulty understanding that a photograph "is very distinct from the scene photographed".

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Even though she is aware of airbrushing techniques, Jemma says it is something she forgets about while flicking through a glossy magazine. "Because I'm not thinking about it, you just think they're really skinny and that must be real."

Jemma isn't confused about the distinction between the photo and the model, Jemma's confused about how accurately the photo represents the model.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 01:25:05 PM by Isaac » Logged
jjj
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« Reply #61 on: October 16, 2013, 01:02:18 PM »
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A photograph is an illusion that is very distinct from the scene photographed.
Illusion is the wrong word. Representation is what should be used. Far less confusing/misleading a word.
A photograph is a representation of a scene being photographed. How 'accurate' the representation is, is an extremely variable/debatable quality.
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #62 on: October 16, 2013, 02:21:59 PM »
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Illusion is the wrong word. Representation is what should be used. Far less confusing/misleading a word.
A photograph is a representation of a scene being photographed. How 'accurate' the representation is, is an extremely variable/debatable quality.

The word used by Winogrand was illusion.  Specifically he was pointing out that it is a two dimensional illusion.

"[...] it's a lie. It's two dimensional, it's the illusion of a literal description ..." -- Winogrand

"A photograph is the illusion of a literal description of how the camera 'saw' a piece of time and space."  -- Winogrand

It isn't wrong.  A photograph is not a "representation of a scene", because that does imply accurate and complete.  An illusion implies incomplete and not necessarily accurate.

And of course Ansel Adams also used the word Illusion:

"what is before the lens always has the illusion of reality; but what is selected and put before the lens can be as false as any totalitarian lie." -- Ansel Adams
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #63 on: October 16, 2013, 02:32:02 PM »
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Where are all those unnamed individuals? :-)

Argument for the sake of argument is non-productive.

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I guess a lot of people initially assume a photograph accurately represents a particular scene, but I don't think they have any difficulty understanding that a photograph "is very distinct from the scene photographed".

Jemma isn't confused about the distinction between the photo and the model, Jemma's confused about how accurately the photo represents the model.

Citing exceptions doesn't disprove the statement.  In fact, because they are clearly exceptions, it proves the original statement.  It is a fact that not just a lot of people in general, but a lot of photographers do not realize they are producing a two dimentional illusion, not a representation of reality.  Just look at the discussions about getting color "right", at the discussions about "Out Of Camera" vs. Post Processing as a moral issue.
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Isaac
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« Reply #64 on: October 16, 2013, 02:32:52 PM »
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A photograph is not a "representation of a scene", because that does imply accurate and complete.

Please show that "representation" dictionary definition :-)


a two dimentional illusion, not a representation of reality

Please show why a two dimensional illusion cannot be a representation of reality.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 02:36:51 PM by Isaac » Logged
jjj
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« Reply #65 on: October 16, 2013, 02:35:16 PM »
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Argument for the sake of argument is non-productive.
Did you type that with a straight face?
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jjj
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« Reply #66 on: October 16, 2013, 02:41:45 PM »
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It isn't wrong.  A photograph is not a "representation of a scene", because that does imply accurate and complete.
Please show us that dictionary definition :-)
I'd like to see that definition of representation too. As this for an example is a representation of some political chap and it is certainly not accurate.
You now seem to be doing what you accuse others of, twisting English to mean whatever you think is right as opposed to the general received usage.

« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 02:44:21 PM by jjj » Logged

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Telecaster
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« Reply #67 on: October 16, 2013, 02:45:59 PM »
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Physics provides a model of reality, let's not confuse that model with reality.

No confusion here. Models are the best we can do. More on topic: vision is all about building models, no?

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Physics provides explanations that are useful for some purposes and useless for others.

When the photo shows that western sky as cyan and we say that's not really what the world looked like -- we're comparing our experience of seeing the western sky with our experience of seeing the photo -- we're talking about phenomena not physics.

A curious person won't leave it at that. She/he will wonder, "How is it that the photo and my mind's eye differ?" Enter physics (allied with neuroscience and chemistry).

I'd really like to engage in the consequences for photography of vision being a modeling/abstracting thing, rather than getting stuck on the modeling/abstracting processes themselves. But I suspect the getting stuck part follows from an unwillingness to so engage. I'd rather be wrong about this...

-Dave-
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #68 on: October 16, 2013, 02:52:43 PM »
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Off into the world of emotionalism and gratuitous personal comments it goes...
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Isaac
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« Reply #69 on: October 16, 2013, 03:06:27 PM »
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Are we to understand that when you write -- A photograph is not a "representation of a scene", because that does imply accurate and complete -- that is according to your personal definition of representation, which may be different from a dictionary definition? ;-)

"... we are all talking about different things unless you use standard definitions." Floyd Davidson September 30, 2013.
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jjj
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« Reply #70 on: October 16, 2013, 03:38:14 PM »
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Off into the world of emotionalism and gratuitous personal comments it goes...
Pointing out your casual redefining of English to suit yourself is neither emotional or gratuitous. Particularly when you are so happy to castigate other posters for doing the same thing. It's hardly our fault you've tripped yourself up.



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Isaac
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« Reply #71 on: October 16, 2013, 03:50:57 PM »
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No confusion here.

Good, it just seemed too much of a stretch to read "Physics underlies all phenomena..." as "Physical reality underlies all phenomena..." and in-any-case wasn't what I'd meant by physics.

A curious person won't leave it at that. She/he will wonder, "How is it that the photo and my mind's eye differ?" Enter physics (allied with neuroscience and chemistry).

As a tangent for a curious person to follow all-well-and-good.
As a response to "that's not really what the world looked like" it's more like a diversion.

I'd really like to engage in the consequences for photography...

Do you think we'd come up with something more than Galen Rowell wrote on that topic 20 years ago? :-)
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Telecaster
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« Reply #72 on: October 17, 2013, 01:51:53 PM »
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Do you think we'd come up with something more than Galen Rowell wrote on that topic 20 years ago? :-)

Maybe not. Galen Rowell said it very well indeed. His Inner Game Of Outdoor Photography is among my favorite books in any category. But I think the landscape photography world is largely in denial of the implications of his writing on color vision and of color vision theory in general. (Note that Edwin Land's Retinex theory, cited by Rowell, is understood to be incomplete but still a good step in the right direction.)

-Dave-
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #73 on: October 17, 2013, 03:25:23 PM »
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Pointing out your casual redefining of English to suit yourself is neither emotional or gratuitous. Particularly when you are so happy to castigate other posters for doing the same thing. It's hardly our fault you've tripped yourself up.

But you don't want to discuss the topic anymore, and only post diversions to distract from what has been said.

What was said is that Garry Winogrand, an authoritative source. on multiple occasions and in various ways stated that photographs are not reality, are not the scene photographed, and (his word) are an illusion.

You say Winogrand is wrong, stating "illusion is the wrong word. Representation is what should be used."  But you are not the authoritative voice that Winogrand is...

Apparently your disagreement is actually with Winogrand rather than with me, but my pointing out the actual connotation of the words (within the standard dictionary definitions, not contradicting them) seems to be just as misunderstood by you as Winogrand's statements.  Incidentally, Rudolf Arnheim, another authortative source, related this to Gestalt psychology and said art is "not simply an imitation or selective duplication of reality, but a translation of observed characteristics into the forms of a given medium" (Film as Art, Arnheim).  Which is to say not so much a representation of reality as an illusion of it.

Regardless of how poorly you might understand English word usage, that isn't the topic here.  Photography and the analysis of photographs is the topic..  Specifically this thread is about Reichmann's article.  In that light I'll toss in another clinker to think about, which is how to relate Picasso's Cubism with photography, in theory, as a philosophy, and in practice.

Take into account that images, whether they are made with a pencil, a paint brush, or a photographic process are at the base level a form of visual communications.  Then consider the concept of entropy in communications, as was defined by Claude Shannon in his revolutionary 1949 paper "A Mathematical Theory of Communications" which vaulted the world into the Information Age... with the same concepts that perceptual psycologist Rudolf Arnheim applied to visual art in a 1971 essay "Entropy and Art".  That's a lot of background to soak up before the use of a more universal set of symbols to paint a picture with (i.e., Cubism) can be related to the more restricted set of visual symbols available to photographers.

But if one does compare the type of visual symbols used in Cubist painting to the visual symbols in photography, the use of PhotoShop to make them more universal and illusional, as opposed to being a more literal representation, becomes an academic subject rather than an emotional one.  And just as Picasso advanced the art of painting with his techniques, photographers applying the same theory will advance the art of photography too.

It's Gestalt psychology applied to production of art with a camera!  We can't put an eye on the shoulder of a model the way Picasso did, to make sure it was noticed, but we can do a lot of things to rearranged "the heirarchic scale of importance and power by which some structural features are dominant, others subordinate" (Arhheim) in a way that very definitly makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts in the illusion we call a photograph.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 03:41:17 PM by Floyd Davidson » Logged

Isaac
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« Reply #74 on: October 17, 2013, 04:28:34 PM »
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A photograph is an illusion that is very distinct from the scene photographed.
It is a fact that not just a lot of people in general, but a lot of photographers do not realize they are producing a two dimentional illusion, not a representation of reality.

I have no objection to you clarifying that initial statement so that the distinction is between an illusion and a representation of a scene, rather than between an illusion and a scene. As long as you make clear that is what you wish to do -- just say it wasn't what you meant and correct it.

Meanwhile isn't trompe l'oeil both a two dimensional illusion and a representation of reality?
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 05:28:21 PM by Isaac » Logged
Isaac
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« Reply #75 on: October 17, 2013, 04:39:23 PM »
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Galen Rowell said it very well indeed.
I tend to forget that he was a writer as-well-as a photographer - "I spend two-thirds of my time on writing and one-third on photography; two-thirds of my income is from photographs, one-third from writing."

I tend to forget he was a photojournalist.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 04:55:24 PM by Isaac » Logged
Isaac
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« Reply #76 on: October 17, 2013, 04:51:06 PM »
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That forms the basis for a digital image, but is it a photograph?  Digital images aren't 'things', they're just binary code stored as electrical impulses on a storage medium.

In that case -- Photographs aren't 'things', they're just light-sensitive chemicals that trigger dyes on a storage medium. ;-)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 05:32:07 PM by Isaac » Logged
Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #77 on: October 17, 2013, 06:53:09 PM »
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I have no objection to you clarifying that initial statement so that the distinction is between an illusion and a representation of a scene, rather than between an illusion and a scene. As long as you make clear that is what you wish to do -- just say it wasn't what you meant and correct it.

If that works for you, wonderful.  But I don't see that I changed anything about what I meant.  A photograph is a reality all it's own, it is not the reality of the scene. It is an illusion.  What I'm doing by restating in different ways is trying to make it easier for readers to realize what I mean, and harder for it to be twisted into something else.

Again I'll rely on Winogrand as the authoritative voice:

"[...] maybe the correct language would be how the fact of putting four edges around a collection of information or facts translates it.  A photograph is not what was photographed, it's something else."
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 10:15:39 AM by Floyd Davidson » Logged

Isaac
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« Reply #78 on: October 18, 2013, 12:42:34 PM »
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What I'm doing by restating in different ways is trying to make it easier for readers to realize what I mean...

I do hope you find some people who genuinely confuse a photograph with reality, so that you may instruct them.


Although why bother to instruct mere figments of your imagination? -- "Reality doesn't exist outside of each person's imagination."
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Floyd Davidson
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« Reply #79 on: October 18, 2013, 09:15:30 PM »
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I do hope you find some people who genuinely confuse a photograph with reality, so that you may instruct them.


Although why bother to instruct mere figments of your imagination? -- "Reality doesn't exist outside of each person's imagination."

That is what this thread, and Reichmann's original article, are about.

Why bother posting to this thead if you don't a discussion of that topic?
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