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Thursday, 29 February 2024


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Mike wrote, "At the other end of the spectrum you can have pictures that are so mundane there seems to be no possible reason to look into the meaning of what they show."

Edward Hopper's Nighthawks perhaps? One of my favorites.

I find it helpful to have captions added to the photos.

A very "Zen And The Art Of Photography" post, I was thinking while reading it. I and had to double-check if there was a book of that name, and yep... https://www.amazon.com/Zen-Art-Photography-Robert-Leverant/dp/0960037403

Then I thought your insight could be compiled into The Tao of Photography, but nope... https://www.amazon.com/Tao-Photography-Seeing-Beyond/dp/1580081940

All There Is To See is a good title.

Is it ok to extend the story even further, this time into fiction? In one of the Keller novels by Lawrence Block, a mob boss wants to eliminate Keller (contract killer and main protagonist of the series) because he might know too much.

But then, doesn't the guy he hires to kill Keller end up knowing too much?

“While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.” ― Dorothea Lange

"It pays, I think, to be alive to the fact that every picture at least contains the germ of its story, its facts, its meaning."

Your usage/meaning of "meaning" is pretty close to opposite of mine.

Any thing, including a photograph, may have a story, antecedents, causes and parallel events, associated things. But it has no meaning, in the way I understand the word, until viewing it causes a response in a human mind.

Miriam-Webster seems to agree with me.

This response, in art, is the meaning.

Those featured comments by Terry Burnes and John B Gillooly speak to the added meaning we can attach to even ordinary photographs as time passes. Check out this beautiful set of photographs from a road adventure made in 1978. All sorts of meanings can be given to the photographs now. I dare you not to!


Classic post! One of your very best…IMHO!

tl; dr version: "Stop to smell the roses -- and then think about them a bit."

I don't think the manufactured photos sent by Speed signify the end of photography, as you commented tongue-in-cheek. There are some basic descriptions it didn't follow; the photos are not in B&W, there's too much stuff in the trunk to allow carrying a body, etc. AI won't think for you.

Terry Burnes made a good point. Sometimes all a photo has to show is the passage of time. (I regret not taking photos of stores and businesses that had been around for all of my childhood, but are no longer existent.)

That reminds me of the line in Rush's song, Tom Saywer: "He knows changes aren’t permanent – But change is . . . "

Herman Krieger's photo and caption were terrific!

That was a thought-provoking post. Thanks Mike!

Re: Speed’s remarkable Midjourney-generated images…
My long-gone 8th grade English teacher’s recital of this old saw echoes in my brain: “If you can’t say what you mean you won’t mean what you say!” I wonder if language teachers everywhere are secretly cheering the shift from Pentax to syntax?

I don’t think we can discount the idea of image as Rorschach Test.

I once showed this image (https://www.jimmyreinaphoto.com/Galleries/Gallery/Gallery/i-jn7b6tH/A) to a critique group, where one participant commented on the subject’s weight/body, several expressed their empathy for what they assumed was a homeless person, and I believe one thought I was mocking the sitter.

I thought of it as nothing more than an interesting shot of someone sitting at a bus stop against a colorful wall illuminated by morning light, and displaying a quirky sign. My own assumption was that the sitter was probably waiting for a bus that would take them to or from work.

I would not be surprised if pre Led Zeppelin viewers of "A Wiltshire Thatcher" might have worried about the long term effects on his back from carrying a load that way.

The included Blake "doors of perception" quotation made me think of the rock band The Doors. Copilot returned this:

The rock band The Doors derived their name from the autobiographical book titled “The Doors of Perception” written by English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley. This book, published in 1954, chronicles Huxley’s experiences with mescaline, a hallucinogenic drug similar to LSD. In “The Doors of Perception,” Huxley explores altered states of consciousness and the idea that such experiences can provide different perspectives on life. The title itself is inspired by a line from English poet William Blake’s work, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.”

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