Interpretation of images

Started Oct 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
HansAlbert
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Re: Interpretation of images
In reply to absentaneous, Nov 1, 2012

answer to absentaneous

You must have read a lot, but somehow not the right books. In Terry Barrett's "Criticizing Photographs" e.g. you could have found a passage against the overestimation of the artist's intentions, the so-called "intentional fallacy" (p.56f. 4th ed.). Knowing something about the artist may help initially, but at the end of the day the artist's comments or self-interpretation must be verified by qualities of the work of art in the same way as other interpretations. Or, as Barrett puts it: "We should take an artist's interpretation as an argument and evaluate it on the same grounds as we do other interpretations that are offered. We should not consider an interpretation more privileged because it comes from the artist." (p.57f.)

The relative importance of the artist's words may help to concentrate on what there is in a photo, i.e. what you perceive as the subject matter, as the elements of the composition, as the subject; especially it may help to avoid psychologism or artsy-fartsy talk.

Let me remind of Irakly's reactions in this forum. He never influenced or censored our reading of his photos, though our ideas were sometimes quite different from his own. E.g. his last photo was to show Judith, a famous figure in the history of art, but for me it was not bloody enough and I found it more convincing to read it as an analysis of the Frog Prince (cf. http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/41506920). He is really a knowing artist, I would say.

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