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How to add "meaning" to a photograph

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brian1208
brian1208 e2 Member 1110310 forum postsbrian1208 vcard United Kingdom12 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 9:08 AM


Quote: so the problem lies with the use of "meaning"

I've always used "interest"

I liked Keith's "purpose" too actually.

Meaning seemed a bit abstract when I read Jools' comment in the other thread.

so using "purpose and interest".....


Good call Ade, that I can understand and it brings a different perspective to the discussion

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10 Sep 2013 - 9:08 AM

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ade_mcfade
ade_mcfade e2 Member 1014838 forum postsade_mcfade vcard England216 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 12:39 PM

Explaining "why" you did something (in a photo) to people seems really helpful - "I put the tree here because....." or "I took it from this angle to show more of the client's logo....." or "I waited for a passer by to walk into this space because....." etc.

Trying to ascribe "meaning".... I didn't really "get" that

joolsb
joolsb  927115 forum posts Switzerland38 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 1:00 PM


Quote: If someone has to tell you the meaning in a pic, and it is what the photographer meant, then the photographer has failed.

Lots of great art (and I mean paintings from the Renaissance onwards) have subtly layered meaning. In a great many cases, if you know the Bible really well you will probably be able to read the picture like a book. If your knowledge of the Bible is as hazy as mine, you'll get more out of the image if you ask an expert to point out the subtle symbolism, hints and cues that your eye just doesn't register. Has such a picture failed?

I prefer subtle images to obvious ones any day. And if I can't understand an image straight away, I seek to educate myself a little.

cattyal
cattyal e2 Member 96065 forum postscattyal vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 2:19 PM

Someone once wrote a load of waffle about this old photo of mine......

24-image1.jpg

"Domesticated Items suggest an enculturated, feminine defined role. An ironing board. The iron. markers, to a repressive, feminine identity crisis - set. Cultural signifiers. noosed to a neck. Unified/dis-unified. Domesticated items suggest an enculturated, masculine defined role. A twin set. A Tie, a semantic double entendre, pin-striped.

A white shirt. markers, to a repressive, masculine identity crisis - set. Cultural signifiers, noosed to a neck.
The Markers to Femininity/masculinity culturally implied. Photographically neutered. Fleshy clues zeoroed. No breasts. No pectorals. No nipples. No ears. No eyes. No Mouth.
The absence of a nose. Materialist sense organs, denied. Bandaged, to cosmetic perfection. hospitalized . The crime scene of cultural identity.

A semiotic insanity, or, prelude to transcendental integration, beyond a she or a He. A feminized item, held in Dexterís right hand of the aggressors law. A masculinized item, held in Sinisterís passive paw. Equiposed. Suspended animations of the self, meditatively trapped. "


Blimey - all I did was wrap a bandage round my head and pick up the iron!

ade_mcfade
ade_mcfade e2 Member 1014838 forum postsade_mcfade vcard England216 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 2:19 PM

fair point about the old arty stuff - I've seen loads of galleries and enjoyed the art, then seen the same shots on telly (bbc4 usually) and had the whole lot explained... the Night Watch by Rembrandt being the main one... I was mainly blown away by the size when I saw it in the flesh, but once it was described it took on a whole different life

stuff hanging out of their pockets has huge significance... stuff you'd probably never really notice or attribute any meaning to!

joolsb
joolsb  927115 forum posts Switzerland38 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 3:06 PM


Quote: Blimey - all I did was wrap a bandage round my head and pick up the iron!

Ah, but why? I mean you must have thought about what you were hoping to achieve by taking that photograph? A certain look? An unsettling twist on household chores? Trying to suggest that women are somehow faceless? Or that they don't have a voice? Or perhaps a comment on cosmetic surgery?

Point is, it's a very open-ended image and you can read what you like into it. Which may well have been your intention all along.... Wink

cattyal
cattyal e2 Member 96065 forum postscattyal vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 3:24 PM

Truthfully I don't ever recall trying to put across any kind of message in one of my photos. They really are just random ideas stuck together to see how they come out.

Someone once found one of my pics of a pile of mushrooms with one hanging down disturbing as it made them think of suicide! oops......

But yes - I'm more than happy for people to read whatever they want into my images - it's certainly easier than trying to be deep and meaningful!

ade_mcfade
ade_mcfade e2 Member 1014838 forum postsade_mcfade vcard England216 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 4:07 PM

very similar really...

I tend to choose locations and see what happens - rather than go out with a specific idea. I have art directors badgering me with specific ideas so going out "planless" is a relief Wink

ade_mcfade
ade_mcfade e2 Member 1014838 forum postsade_mcfade vcard England216 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 5:00 PM

that said, just had a call from a chef (old friend, been on telly a few times) and we're now meticulously planning a shoot for his new restaurant and PR....

we've discussed just about every possible location in the north.... eeek

peterjones
peterjones e2 Member 123967 forum postspeterjones vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 7:43 PM


Quote: Truthfully I don't ever recall trying to put across any kind of message in one of my photos. They really are just random ideas stuck together to see how they come out.

Someone once found one of my pics of a pile of mushrooms with one hanging down disturbing as it made them think of suicide! oops......

But yes - I'm more than happy for people to read whatever they want into my images - it's certainly easier than trying to be deep and meaningful!

Love this excellent post Grin It puts the word "meaning" firmly in it's place.

Peter.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315487 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 8:30 PM


Quote: If someone has to tell you the meaning in a pic, and it is what the photographer meant, then the photographer has failed.

Lots of great art (and I mean paintings from the Renaissance onwards) have subtly layered meaning. In a great many cases, if you know the Bible really well you will probably be able to read the picture like a book. If your knowledge of the Bible is as hazy as mine, you'll get more out of the image if you ask an expert to point out the subtle symbolism, hints and cues that your eye just doesn't register. Has such a picture failed?

I prefer subtle images to obvious ones any day. And if I can't understand an image straight away, I seek to educate myself a little.

You can appreciate great art without knowing its meaning.

What I`m talking about are people adding meanings to photographs in the form of a title or text when the work itself has no visible meaning or very little.

arhb
arhb e2 Member 72306 forum postsarhb vcard United Kingdom68 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 8:42 PM


Quote: If someone has to tell you the meaning in a pic, and it is what the photographer meant, then the photographer has failed.

lol
so no personal interpretation allowed then?
Where and why does the pass/fail come into it?

Extend the same logic to a song, where the artist sings the words to the listener, and every listener takes the same meaning from the song? - don't think so.

Last Modified By arhb at 10 Sep 2013 - 8:43 PM
Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315487 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 8:51 PM


Quote: so no personal interpretation allowed then?
Where and why does the pass/fail come into it?

Did you read my last comment ?

arhb
arhb e2 Member 72306 forum postsarhb vcard United Kingdom68 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 9:15 PM

The only association to your post Paul, was to use the same quote that you did.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315487 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 9:26 PM

Sorry but I thought my last post was pretty clear.

Don`t you think that leaving a little to the imagination is good, or should you always spell it out with an appropriate title and a load of text (often meaningless) to explain the meaning of a photograph.

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