Informing Contexts - False Indexes

Linda Hutcheon (2003: 117) thinks that contemporary photography 'exploits and challenges both the objective and the subjective, the technological and the creative’

I have to say I am trying hard to look on subjects from a positive angle, well I am doing my best to or I will go right off photography. I have decided that theorists can be so negative. We have to give photography the benefit of the doubt. That is my aim to stop trying to look for the lies being told and keep telling them.

©Sam Taylor Wood (1998) from Soliloquy

I have this here as I am struggling to understand why or how the images go together. So it is here to remind me to look further.

As with most of my posts they are often me musing or trying to get my head around what the weeks topic is, I am doing my best to stay on track but have a very active imagination I do tend to go off on tangents.

Objective photography is an impersonal image not influenced by feelings, interpretations or prejudice so I think that must be extremely hard to create unless it is a mugshot, pretty much one of the few ways to create an unbiased photographic image. Objective photography is not intended to be a creative process, but a method to make a clear journal, record or evidence of something, events or objects based on facts. Examples of objective photography include industrial photography that records the stages of building construction typically in a series of images. The recording of a manufacturing process or production line. The archaeological or scientific photography used to capture clearly the subject matter. Other examples of objective photography are medical, forensic photography, photographic identity photography like passports and police, architectural photography.

So being objective you need to refrain from allowing yourself to be influenced by your feelings, unlike Barthes, your personal opinions, even your own beliefs can stop you from being objective. In a way most people look for the truth by using senses, for example, a bowl of fruit, you can see an orange, its there in front of you, its round, orange, you know it will smell of orange and if you eat it, you know what it tastes like, so if someone says that’s an orange you know it to be true. So looking at it and breaking it down further, we look for shapes, lines, gender, age, clothing even certain postures to confirm things, and the weather helps you out there too if it is important to the image. What happens when you mess with that, bikini on a winter’s day? People will question authenticity. Text can help or hinder but being objective.

Thinking subjectively, how am I feeling? What does that image make me feel, how does it look, is it pretty? So I guess my own traits would be to be a subjective photographer because I feel it fits into the creative or artistic process. My aim is to make a personal interpretation, a composition to capture and create an image with story and fun. The photograph may be of anything, an individual or group of people, objects, location or a landscape. The aim is typically to create an image by using a variety of methods or processes such as props, settings, poses, lighting, unusual angles, even printing comes into it with digital photography, post-processing and image manipulation. The aim is to generate a photograph that tells a story or invokes or describes a mood, conveys atmosphere or emotions.

The subjective intention can also be when the photographer gives an image a title or text and writes their ideas or opinions, intentions about the photograph and again when other observers including critics comment or make their views and interpretations known about the image. My own work at times does have objective-subjective photography crossover as there are also times when objective and subjective can merge such as photographic journalism, there are times when the photographer takes images with a view to telling a story or providing a view seen through the eyes of the photographer but they have to be careful not to edit and also to capture an essence of trueness from outside the frame for it to be true. Other examples can be when the intention is to make an objective photographic study, but the subject matter of the photograph becomes unintentionally artistic such as a dusk landscape that gets edited to make it pop a little in post-production. Many photographers cross over to both sides of the coin.

Andre Bazin, the arts no longer care about survival after death. Instead, the focus on “the creation of an ideal world in the likeness of the real, with its own temporal identify.” The plastic arts today create a virtual world that has nothing to do with life and afterlife. This explains why photography and cinema caused “the great spiritual and technological crisis that overtook modern painting” in the 1850s. Photography and cinema are plastic realism. They freed the plastic arts from their obsession with the likeness. A painting could not escape the subjectivity of the artists because true likeness could not be achieved through the human hand. Photography did not perfect the physical process (colour, etc.), but it did solve our psychological desire for realism; it satisfied “our appetite for illusion by a mechanical reproduction in the making of which man plays no part” (7). Photography is seen as objective because “between the originating object and its reproduction there intervenes only the instrumentality of a non-living agent” (7). The artist and his genius are not present in photography like in a painting.

This objective production affected our psychology of the image. We accept the object before us in photography as credible, really existing, and actually represented. Reality is transferred from the thing to the reproduction. “The photographic image is the object itself, the object freed from the conditions of time and space that govern it” (8). This objectivity and reality are a product of impassive mechanical reproduction.

“the Photograph’s essence is to ratify what it represents.” Barthes nevertheless complicated the issue in the next moment by admitting the insecurity of his first proposition, stating that though “the Photograph never lies,” (37 ) nevertheless “it can lie as to the meaning of the thing, being by nature tendentious.” (38)

BARTHES, R. (2012). Camera lucida: reflections on photography. BAZIN, A., & GRAY, H. (1960). The Ontology of the Photographic Image.

#cameralucida #RolandBarthes #andrebazin #informingcontexts #falseindexes #objectiveorsubjectivephotography

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