Informing Contexts - The pleasure of looking
My gaze is pretty firmly in the studio and with child portraiture. I am always drawn to historical photographs. Wishing I knew more about the people and how they lived and saw things, and what would they think if they were around today is the inspiration in a lot of my work. I think about the way I came into photography in a studio always involved children, not historically though, but that part came in when my imagination kicked in with the desire to be a little different. I live with, and work with children and they are pretty easy for me to work with. I have worked with adults many times mostly with maternity or weddings but prefer children’s portraits. They are my comfort zone. I am most certainly not a voyeur, I am hands on in the creating of what I imagine. I strive to educate myself so that the main part of my image is historically correct; this enables me to play, to add current objects or issues. Positively I enjoy what I do, people like what I do and I am good at what I do. That said, it is easy to become stuck doing the same things, with the same poses because of space limitation. I have decided that my FMP will not involve children; I really want to step outside that comfort place.
While looking into Berger I can see that seeing depends a lot on our habits or convention, perspective centres on the eye of the beholder, reality, perspective makes the eye the centre of the worlds. One of the reasons I noticed that most of my images the children were direct into the camera, so with that in mind the camera changed everything.
Berger told that to be freed from the boundaries of time and space and puts things wherever you want them to be leading to a fresh and different perception of the world as we know it and how we see it, it has changed painting from before the camera was invented, paintings can now be seen in a million different places at the same time. We see them in the context of our own life, not with golden frames to show our wealth but with our own home around them. Everything around the image is a part of its meaning and everything around it consolidates it. People used to go on pilgrimages to see Icons, but now they no longer need to do that, they can see them and have them in their own homes. Its meaning has become transmittable and information that travels, the virgin of the rock for example by Davinci, nothing compares to seeing it in person. The camera took away a lot of the paintings impact when it made them reproducible.
Berger talks about how the meaning of the painting can be changed to what you want it to be by taking a portion of it, it changes the whole purpose of the painting, but by zooming in, you see much more of the details. Cameras affect how you see it, but the person in control of the camera is in control of what they see and how they read it.
Music you are listening to and text can change the meaning of a painting as can what is around the picture, reproductions can be used by anyone for anything.
He said, I hope you consider what I arrange, but be skeptical of it! He goes on to say how women appeared in old photographs to men is essential for women and that they are continually surveying themselves. I think with the progression of mobile devices and the apps that change us to be what we want that is even more significant to the women of today.
Being naked is to be oneself; to be nude is to be seen as an object. Nakedness is in the eyes of the beholder as with any image.
The mirror became a symbol of vanity. But I feel for most women they are always trying to measure up to women that are put before us in advertising and never ever feel quite good enough. I guess through images I want people to feel good enough, I have no problem reducing an inch or two or smoothing cellulite I’m just irritated that when I personally look in the mirror I can’t do it in real life.
Berger talks about the paintings symbolising wealth and power, almost like a self-gratification, which in many ways would be similar to how one wants to see themselves in a mirror. With nice clothes, hair and make up, and not what you might catch a glimpse of as you walk past a shop window and see yourself all windswept and bedraggled.
I am finding Bergers work quite fascinating and am sticking with it for a while. I made a conscious thought about the fact I was looking rather negatively towards photography and I see that paintings are just as much a figment of people wanted to see. So why should I feel bad about creating parts of my imagination by using parts of other peoples imagination that has inspired me over the years.