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How to add "meaning" to a photograph


lemmy e2
7 2.1k United Kingdom
7 Sep 2013 5:01PM

Quote: What about Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother'? Are you telling me that is meaningless bollox? Or Don McCullin's famous image of the shell-shocked US soldier? All just pigment on paper and arty nonsense?


You are doing the very thing so many people do, you say it has meaning but don't say what meaning.

Here is a rose. It has colour. Yes, but what colour?

Ditto the car shot - yes but what meaning has it added? Meaning as a description of a picture says that it is expressive of something. To say something simply has meaning begs the question, what meaning? What does it express? Saying something has meaning is just a lazy way of avoiding saying what you think, of sitting on the fence.

If we said the figure in the picture with the car adds an air of menace we are being specific. Normal people with normal sensitivities and access to language could discuss that. They cannot sensibly discuss whether it has 'meaning' or not.

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ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
7 Sep 2013 5:14PM
ok - you're stood in front of, say, Westminster Palace - it's a nice evening, warm light - could be a good sunset.

how do you add meaning to a photo in that situation?
c40uk e2
1 82 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2013 5:20PM
can your own photos not be about your own personal time line of the image you have taken . they will mean alot to you . so what if they dont to everyone who views them .
arhb e2
7 2.5k 68 United Kingdom
7 Sep 2013 5:31PM

Quote:Ok - you're stood in front of, say, Westminster Palace - it's a nice evening, warm light - could be a good sunset.

how do you add meaning to a photo in that situation?



Handcuff to railings.
Create a frakas(sp)
Try to capture something else in the image that has no relation to what you're shooting, but that adds interest....... I meant meaning Wink
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
7 Sep 2013 5:45PM

Quote:But what practical steps can we take to create or add "meaning" to our work ?


We could all copy you Ade and add descriptive text Smile
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
7 Sep 2013 5:51PM
eh? ....
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
7 Sep 2013 6:00PM
Generally most pictures show very little meaning, take a portrait for example, you might know the person and believe you have captured there character and call it a character portrait.

Then you post it on here, none of us know that person so all we are seeing is a portrait and don`t get the character bit.

If you need to ad a description or descriptive title to an image that you believed had meaning, then you have failed.
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
7 Sep 2013 6:08PM
jesus - everyone moans about people not leaving any text in the About, yet if we say anything we've failed Wink

can't win!

I guess calling every shot "***" and leaving no comment is the purist way Paul Wink
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
7 Sep 2013 6:12PM
Yes but I thought we were talking about adding a meaning to a photograph Ade, a picture is what it is.
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
7 Sep 2013 6:26PM
comments on here are more of a courtesy to the people viewing them than there to add meaning.. .when taking a shot I'm sure most are not not thinking "ooh, I know just the comment to add meaning to the shot" Wink

it is after all a "social media" site - comments are social.... so people who don't leave them are therefore anti-social... Wink

anyway - back to the thread

so you've seen some cows in a field - what would you look for or do to give that "meaning" ?

wait for the milk tanker to come?

get a man in a farmers outfit with a shot gun in his mouth to stand next to them?

Get a huge pile of dead badgers and pile them up in the foreground?

find a huge cow pat and use that in the foreground?

Get a cheese platter out and use that in the foreground ?

Wink
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
7 Sep 2013 6:31PM

Quote:it is after all a "social media" site - comments are social.... so people who don't leave them are therefore anti-social...


No not at all.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
7 Sep 2013 6:34PM

Quote:so you've seen some cows in a field - what would you look for or do to give that "meaning" ?

wait for the milk tanker to come?

get a man in a farmers outfit with a shot gun in his mouth to stand next to them?



That would depend on what I was shooting for, farmers weekly or a dairy company Smile
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
7 Sep 2013 6:39PM

Quote:it is after all a "social media" site - comments are social.... so people who don't leave them are therefore anti-social...

No not at all.



Ooooh yes they are.....!
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
7 Sep 2013 6:56PM
What are you going on about then ? in what why can not giving an image a title be anti social ? Smile Smile

Most pictures don`t really need to portray a meaning but your slant on this thread is all about commercial photography.
SlowSong e2
6 4.8k 29 England
7 Sep 2013 8:13PM
Most images are a snapshot of everyday life. Life's documentary. Perhaps in 50 years time all our pictures taken today will mean something to those who come later, but unless you're reporting news stories I don't see where the meaning is. Whatever meaning means.

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