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How to add "meaning" to a photograph

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joolsb
joolsb  927115 forum posts Switzerland38 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 9:31 PM


Quote: 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.

I'm glad you raised that. The original blog I linked to in the other thread was specifically about this very thing. Here's the image that was under discussion (by Jachin Mandeno):

6a00df351e888f88340192acb1a114970d-800wi.jpg

Not really very exciting. Not much 'meaning' there.

Now, here's the caption:


Quote: "Here we see a terminally ill minister (left) and a church elder discussing with church members the future of the church: what will happen when the minister is deceased? The minister was shorn by chemotherapy; and the elder shaved his head in solidarity. This photo was made in 2010."

Bit of a kicker, isn't it? Sort of changes the picture completely...

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10 Sep 2013 - 9:31 PM

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Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1314963 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 9:42 PM

Yes works fine here, but like I said adding some meaning to a photograph in the form of text or a title when there is no meaning or none that you can make out.

Your example is a little different to what I`m getting at.

arhb
arhb e2 Member 72150 forum postsarhb vcard United Kingdom67 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 9:53 PM


Quote: 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.

I am agreeing - personal interpretation is important Smile
As for titles, I think they work on some images but not on others, but are not necessarily needed for images that have some meaning.
I am particularly interested in old movie promo posters, as they were used to convey information about a film/story, enough to create intrigue and interest( and some meaning), and within the limited space of an image.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1314963 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 10:11 PM


Quote: I am particularly interested in old movie promo posters, as they were used to convey information about a film/story, enough to create intrigue and interest( and some meaning), and within the limited space of an image

Me as well, I have a copy of "The Good German" filmed the old fashioned way in B&W, to me the filming styles and lighting adds meanings Smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p73Y3VVh3fM

arhb
arhb e2 Member 72150 forum postsarhb vcard United Kingdom67 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 10:53 PM

Looks good - can you upload the image they use to promote the film - like the dvd box cover image?

No need - I just found the new movie images, and a couple of images of the original - I prefer the original book cover.

Last Modified By arhb at 10 Sep 2013 - 10:56 PM
Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1314963 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
11 Sep 2013 - 12:26 AM

Lol I think my copy still has the original cover, but I prefer the film Smile


Quote: 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

Two different views of death, do they need much in the way of added meaning.

My own

http://www.ephotozine.com/user/paul-morgan-599/gallery/photo/---19938735

And that of Walter Schels

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8aloTrUF-4

Last Modified By Paul Morgan at 11 Sep 2013 - 12:33 AM
redhed17
redhed17  8646 forum posts England
11 Sep 2013 - 10:06 AM


Quote: [quote]views of death, do they need much in the way of added meaning.

My own

http://www.ephotozine.com/user/paul-morgan-599/gallery/photo/---19938735



I can't say much about the Youtube links as I am on holiday with limited internet capabilities, but your image, after the initial working out of what the items were, conjured illness to me, not death. I just looked at the pic and didn't read what you wrote to accompany the image. So even though you may have meant to have a meaning of death in your pic, a viewer has misinterpreted the 'meaning'. :-/

You can plan to have whatever 'meaning' in your images, but the viewer will see what they will see, or not.

joolsb
joolsb  927115 forum posts Switzerland38 Constructive Critique Points
11 Sep 2013 - 11:52 AM


Quote: Two different views of death, do they need much in the way of added meaning.

My own

I honestly didn't have the slightest idea what yours was about, Paul. It looked like a strange collection of vaguely medical objects. If you want people to take away a certain 'meaning' you need to provide some relevant clues... Alternatively, a bit of explanatory text. Wink Tongue

EDIT: just read your comment on the pic. Obviously a very personal meaning for you and the text does change the sense of the image just as in my example above.

Last Modified By joolsb at 11 Sep 2013 - 11:57 AM
Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1314963 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
11 Sep 2013 - 10:01 PM

It wasn`t a planned shot, spur of the moment documenting things as they happened, well shortly afterwards.

I could have taken pictures of the deceased person lying on the floor, but it was not the way I wanted to remember my mother, and she always hated people taking pictures of her when she was not looking her best.


Quote: EDIT: just read your comment on the pic. Obviously a very personal meaning for you and the text does change the sense of the image just as in my example above

Yes like the one you posted Jools, but I suppose these shots are less about meaning and more about documenting.

JackAllTog
JackAllTog e2 Member 53540 forum postsJackAllTog vcard United Kingdom58 Constructive Critique Points
12 Sep 2013 - 2:27 PM

Meaning is in the eye of the beholder.

I think the trick is to catch the attention of the viewer long enough to either discover their own meaning or uncover your meaning; If you need to add titles or descriptions to guide them to your meaning so be it.

So adding meaning to a photo for me means
Capturing local or personal interest - a family member or local scene presented nicely;
Or maybe drawing on commonly interpreted scenes about human emotion;
Or capturing the emptyness/space, or busyness of a scene - i.e human emotions we mostly associate with.
Or adding lots of situational context to a shoot to bring a dominant theme to the foreground

Personally I'm not presently looking to add meaning to most of my fashion based shots.

If we take all meaning from photos, do they fail to be artistic and instead just become technical records?

ade_mcfade
ade_mcfade  1014741 forum posts England216 Constructive Critique Points
12 Sep 2013 - 4:12 PM

I've just been shooting software engineers pretending to use some testing software, images for use on their website....

how could I have added meaning to that Wink

I got them looking puzzled, pointing at the screen, serious, smiling.... and the rest....

not sure about "meaning" there, but certainly has a "purpose" and using a 17mm lens about 5cm from the keyboard certainly added "interest" with a warped perspective


tonight I'm shooting a fitness instructor at a gym - she wants to do some fitness modelling... certainly got the body for it, virtually 0% body fat.... how should I add meaning to these shots...

mikehit
mikehit  46189 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
12 Sep 2013 - 4:47 PM


Quote:

tonight I'm shooting a fitness instructor at a gym - she wants to do some fitness modelling... certainly got the body for it, virtually 0% body fat.... how should I add meaning to these shots...

that same 17mm lens from a foot away at chest height. To quote your good self: "certainly added "interest" with a warped perspective "Tongue

joolsb
joolsb  927115 forum posts Switzerland38 Constructive Critique Points
12 Sep 2013 - 9:19 PM


Quote: tonight I'm shooting a fitness instructor at a gym - she wants to do some fitness modelling... certainly got the body for it, virtually 0% body fat.... how should I add meaning to these shots...

Do you have to? You're shooting for a reason (presumably publicity for your subject) and for money. Surely 'meaning' is only relevant to images made for purely artistic purposes?

Last Modified By joolsb at 12 Sep 2013 - 9:19 PM
Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1314963 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
12 Sep 2013 - 9:28 PM

Yeh I think I mentioned something as well earlier in the thread Jools Smile

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