Prof. Vitone and Prof. Robinson
Visual Studies 1
August 28, 2017
The author of this short section of writing tells the reader, who might be a “naïve observer” themselves, that photographs are not a reflection of the world, but rather a reflection of the co-operation of photographer and camera; that somehow a photograph means something much deeper than what is seen on the surface.
If the reader should understand this correctly, the author is trying to convey that images that seem to only reflect the world around us, instead, have a deeper meaning that is “encoded”. The key to this code has two parts: realizing that the author’s intention is to express their perspective while also immortalizing said perspective for the world to see; and realizing that the camera’s “raisons d‘etre” is to capture what it is shown and that’s all. This seem conflicting. To have the intention of showing one’s perspective, but using a tool that can only capture exactly what is put in front of it. It’s comparable to being a painter, with all the artistic liberty at one’s fingertips, but choosing a brush that only allows you to paint realism. Do photographers enjoy being abstract in this sense? Sitting by their work knowing that under levels of coding, naked to the “naïve observer”, there is a passionate and personal meaning that can only be understood by themselves? This section of reading seems to suggest that photographers use a fraudulent medium to express themselves. Fraudulent meaning the camera is only translating colors to mimic what it sees, but never capturing the essence and vibrance of what sits in front of the lense. How satisfying can this be? As a non-photographer, this feels frustrating. Mediums such as paint and pencil allow me to control what message I’m relaying. My creativity knows no bounds when I am drawing and I can create things out of thin air and present them as my reality. This reading suggested to me that creativity does not stop where reality begins when it comes to photography.
In summary: After reading this, I came to understand that photography is a symbiotic relationship between man and machine, just as painting is a symbiotic relationship between man and brush. One is only limited by themselves and a master can harness their tools to show the world the meaning behind a photograph; which is not just a reflection of reality.