if only!!!!

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions
Fogsville
Contributing MemberPosts: 523
Like?
Re: Any suggestions...
In reply to DavidGBK, Apr 12, 2013

DavidGBK wrote:

..for a good book on Semiotics for photographers?

I am often very frustrated at my inability to express properly in words why I like a particular image.

For example "If only!!!" is an excellent image and one that appeals to me but I am struggling on how to say this.

Often I do not think it is fair to comment "nice pic" when the image deserves a fuller response, some of us use this so often that I think it really has no meaning and is devalued.

Daedalus2000 described what I was feeling about this image and I was kicking my self saying "yes, exactly"; why could I not express this.

I think part of it is practise; deliberately trying to articulate why we like or dislike an image.

Anyway; any suggestions on a good intorductory book gratefully received.

I like to read

Regards

David

Semiotics is basically the study of signs and codes.  It's really something that we intuitively understand since we use codes everyday to help interpret what we hear, say, read, and see.  But we really never take the time to understand the functions of codes, or at least to take the time to understand how they work and to be always aware of them.

Every image has codes; such as a color.  The color red has certain connotations (in western society) which take on meaning: danger; stop; hot; blood; sexy; etc..  A B+W image has a kind of built-in coding, e.g., it's immediately seen as an "artistic photograph" (after all we don't see the world in B+W and therefore a B+W image is obviously an interpretation by the author of that world.)  It's important for us as photographers to realize that these codes exist and that our images will be read in a certain way based on the signs and codes they contain.  As I mentioned, it's something we intuitively already know but often don't exercise it and/or are not always conscious of it. Advertisers are keenly aware of semiotics (ads are normally heavily loaded with codes.)

Here's a Wiki synopsis: semiotics  It was initially the domain of linguists since the written language is a series of codes that we agree on in order to communicate (although we also understand that words can be elusive and can also take on multiple meanings over time and within different societal groups, etc..)

Probably a good essay to start with in respect to images is: Roland Barthes, Image, Music, Text. "The Photographic Message." Ed. and trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill, 1977.  The book is available here: Image Music Text

As image makers, the photograph is our language.  We have to work to communicate effectively.  And you're correct that simply saying "nice pic" is counteractive.  The way we progress is through constructive criticism (and this is life in general, not just photography.)  And with reading a photograph we have to start somewhere and that 'somewhere' is the surface of the image.  What's on the surface is all that we have to work with. A title can suggest to the viewer as to what the author's intent might be, but it's often only a suggestion (although with a news photograph the title is specific and intentionally unambiguous.)  The rest of the reading has to be filled in with our collective cultural symbolic understanding that reveals itself through these semiotic signs and codes embedded in the photograph.

As I've said, it's something that we already know (because it's how we function in our daily lives), but to be wholly conscious of it can help make you a better image maker.  And once it's part of your 'DNA' then you will go about making images almost 'subconsciously' and without much hesitation; i.e., 'that decisive moment.'

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Edward48
Veteran MemberPosts: 8,190
Like?
Re: if only!!!!
In reply to Daedalus2000, Apr 12, 2013

Daedalus2000 wrote:

Edward48 wrote:

nikonFboy wrote:

...I saw the image, i took the shot.

...its really that simple for me, this may make me a lesser photographer in some peoples eyes, than someone who can cover their images with fancy words, flowery explanations and pretentious meanings.

I think it probably is for most of us Paul. Certainly is for me. I've been in the creative environment all my working life, and I can tell you that there is an awful lot of post rationalising and waffle that goes on. Always has been.

I'd like to think the fellow on the station really did have her number.
I like the shot and the idea.

All the best
Mike

I would be interested to hear your views about the last message I wrote to Paul, where I am not joking.

Do you really think that an image is only about the visual aspect of it? I find it difficult to accept this. Is there not more about it?

Also, I do not think that it follows (logically) that because there is a lot of invalid (waffle) post-analysis of images, we should not try to analyse images....

Best, D

PS. I agree with your about the weather (your comment in another post). It makes me feel very down.

Sorry to upset you D. That wasn't my intention at all. Of course you are free to analyse any image and to evaluate what it says to you, to help you find out why you like it.

Analysing an image in that way isn't what I mean by waffle, this is:

I once listened to people in the Whitechapel Art Gallery having very deep, long, earnest conversations about a series of large, blank white (very expensive) canvasses. I think that the more expensive they were, the more meaning they had It was hilarious and could have come straight from a TV satire show.

My point was that if the photographer had no other object in mind than to produce a visually appealing image, and does just that, then that's just what it is. No interpretation or analysing necessary or needed.

Yes D, I would say that most shots posted here on dpreview are just visual. Why does there always have to be more to it?

I'm the opposite to analytical D, so I hope this makes some sort of sense to you. Not so sure it does to me now I'm reading it over!

Best
Mike

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Daedalus2000
Senior MemberPosts: 4,109
Like?
Re: if only!!!!
In reply to Edward48, Apr 12, 2013

Sorry to upset you D. That wasn't my intention at all. Of course you are free to analyse any image and to evaluate what it says to you, to help you find out why you like it.

Thanks for your reply. You did not upset me, I was just tired and a bit sensitive and I thought that my effort of discussing the image was not welcome.

Analysing an image in that way isn't what I mean by waffle, this is:

I once listened to people in the Whitechapel Art Gallery having very deep, long, earnest conversations about a series of large, blank white (very expensive) canvasses. I think that the more expensive they were, the more meaning they had It was hilarious and could have come straight from a TV satire show.

I know exactly what you mean. But hopefully we can avoid this.

My point was that if the photographer had no other object in mind than to produce a visually appealing image, and does just that, then that's just what it is. No interpretation or analysing necessary or needed.

Yes D, I would say that most shots posted here on dpreview are just visual. Why does there always have to be more to it?

I guess you are right and in most cases I probably do the same. I have observed though that here in our forum the pictures that get more comments are the ones that include people. Have you noticed that? Why is this? I think it is because apart from the visual aspect of an imag,e the content is very important as well. Look at some of your pictures that include people and think why did you take them? I think it was not just for the visual effect...

I'm the opposite to analytical D, so I hope this makes some sort of sense to you. Not so sure it does to me now I'm reading it over!

As I told you in the past my left brain (logic) still dominates.... I am fighting it though!

I hope one day we will have the chance to shoot together in the streets of London.

D

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Daedalus2000
Senior MemberPosts: 4,109
Like?
Re: if only!!!!
In reply to meagre offerings, Apr 12, 2013

nikonFboy wrote:

Love the shot, but to convey the title more strongly it may have helped to crop the photo on the right to just after the edge of the poster, not even including the second light on the right... I think you'll get a shot the with a natural divide(the pillar) and it should look like they are more apart, maybe even worlds apart(in many different ways?)
Just an idea
All the best Carl
--
Carpe diem, or Seize the day.. ...with a photo or two - there's no better way.

http://carlcam5.smugmug.com/photos/671218725_vz4aN-Ti.jpg

http://carlcam5.smugmug.com/

hi Carl

what you suggest is very nearly what I posted, if there had been a little more of a gap between the poster edge and the strip light I would have gone for it. as it was it looked unbalanced cropping to the edge of the poster and I didn't like just part of the strip light being in the frame. when I decided to put all the strip light in the image I thought the yellow barrier helped to balance it up, as I could appreciate the yellow diagonal it then showed.

thanks for the comments.

pc
--
`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

I agree with Paul here. The yellow sign on the left is balanced well with the yellow barrier and the yellow line on the street.

Also having the collumn in the middle also creates an interesting division between the elements we discussed (male/female, etc etc).

D

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
l_objectif
Forum ProPosts: 17,076Gear list
Like?
Re: if only!!!!
In reply to meagre offerings, Apr 12, 2013

nikonFboy wrote:

Love the shot, but to convey the title more strongly it may have helped to crop the photo on the right to just after the edge of the poster, not even including the second light on the right... I think you'll get a shot the with a natural divide(the pillar) and it should look like they are more apart, maybe even worlds apart(in many different ways?)
Just an idea
All the best Carl
--
Carpe diem, or Seize the day.. ...with a photo or two - there's no better way.

http://carlcam5.smugmug.com/photos/671218725_vz4aN-Ti.jpg

http://carlcam5.smugmug.com/

hi Carl

what you suggest is very nearly what I posted, if there had been a little more of a gap between the poster edge and the strip light I would have gone for it. as it was it looked unbalanced cropping to the edge of the poster and I didn't like just part of the strip light being in the frame. when I decided to put all the strip light in the image I thought the yellow barrier helped to balance it up, as I could appreciate the yellow diagonal it then showed.

thanks for the comments.

pc
--
`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

Paul, I think you and Carl have both a point. IMHO, there is a little too much of "dead" space on the right side and the spectators may be lost to better understand the shot. At the same time, I think cutting at the edge of the poster would be too much and would unbalance the photo.

Therefore, I suggest somewhere in the middle:

On my side, the image is not coming!!! We had this problem of embedding images in the posts for few days now and I hope it would work!

OH, BTW, I was very surprised to see your entry in old architecture challenge DQ!!!... It was a very nice shot; but that host should have DQ many other shots that were not following the rules. There is a discussion on the Challenge forum about all the issues we have with challenges and if you have time to take a look, it would be nice!

Best Regards,

 l_objectif's gear list:l_objectif's gear list
Leica D-LUX 5 Nikon D300
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Leo33
Senior MemberPosts: 2,640Gear list
Like?
pc
In reply to meagre offerings, Apr 12, 2013

This image speaks volumes to me. . . .  end of story! :)))
Best Regards,

Emil

 Leo33's gear list:Leo33's gear list
Fujifilm XF1
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Cadder
Senior MemberPosts: 1,408
Like?
Re: if only!!!!
In reply to meagre offerings, Apr 12, 2013

Well, that turned out to be a really interesting, and educational thread!

Cadder

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meagre offerings
Senior MemberPosts: 3,766Gear list
Like?
Re: if only!!!!
In reply to Daedalus2000, Apr 12, 2013

Daedalus2000 wrote:

Sorry to upset you D. That wasn't my intention at all. Of course you are free to analyse any image and to evaluate what it says to you, to help you find out why you like it.

Thanks for your reply. You did not upset me, I was just tired and a bit sensitive and I thought that my effort of discussing the image was not welcome.

Analysing an image in that way isn't what I mean by waffle, this is:

I once listened to people in the Whitechapel Art Gallery having very deep, long, earnest conversations about a series of large, blank white (very expensive) canvasses. I think that the more expensive they were, the more meaning they had It was hilarious and could have come straight from a TV satire show.

I know exactly what you mean. But hopefully we can avoid this.

My point was that if the photographer had no other object in mind than to produce a visually appealing image, and does just that, then that's just what it is. No interpretation or analysing necessary or needed.

Yes D, I would say that most shots posted here on dpreview are just visual. Why does there always have to be more to it?

I guess you are right and in most cases I probably do the same. I have observed though that here in our forum the pictures that get more comments are the ones that include people. Have you noticed that? Why is this? I think it is because apart from the visual aspect of an imag,e the content is very important as well. Look at some of your pictures that include people and think why did you take them? I think it was not just for the visual effect...

I'm the opposite to analytical D, so I hope this makes some sort of sense to you. Not so sure it does to me now I'm reading it over!

As I told you in the past my left brain (logic) still dominates.... I am fighting it though!

I hope one day we will have the chance to shoot together in the streets of London.

D

can i come please.

i got family in hertfordshire.

pc

-- hide signature --

`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

 meagre offerings's gear list:meagre offerings's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meagre offerings
Senior MemberPosts: 3,766Gear list
Like?
Re: if only!!!!
In reply to l_objectif, Apr 12, 2013

l_objectif wrote:

nikonFboy wrote:

Love the shot, but to convey the title more strongly it may have helped to crop the photo on the right to just after the edge of the poster, not even including the second light on the right... I think you'll get a shot the with a natural divide(the pillar) and it should look like they are more apart, maybe even worlds apart(in many different ways?)
Just an idea
All the best Carl
--
Carpe diem, or Seize the day.. ...with a photo or two - there's no better way.

http://carlcam5.smugmug.com/photos/671218725_vz4aN-Ti.jpg

http://carlcam5.smugmug.com/

hi Carl

what you suggest is very nearly what I posted, if there had been a little more of a gap between the poster edge and the strip light I would have gone for it. as it was it looked unbalanced cropping to the edge of the poster and I didn't like just part of the strip light being in the frame. when I decided to put all the strip light in the image I thought the yellow barrier helped to balance it up, as I could appreciate the yellow diagonal it then showed.

thanks for the comments.

pc
--
`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

Paul, I think you and Carl have both a point. IMHO, there is a little too much of "dead" space on the right side and the spectators may be lost to better understand the shot. At the same time, I think cutting at the edge of the poster would be too much and would unbalance the photo.

Therefore, I suggest somewhere in the middle:

On my side, the image is not coming!!! We had this problem of embedding images in the posts for few days now and I hope it would work!

OH, BTW, I was very surprised to see your entry in old architecture challenge DQ!!!... It was a very nice shot; but that host should have DQ many other shots that were not following the rules. There is a discussion on the Challenge forum about all the issues we have with challenges and if you have time to take a look, it would be nice!

Best Regards,

hi louis

LOL, i didnt know it had be DQ`d. its not the first time its happened to me, im not that bothered, will have a look to see what i have done wrong this time.

i know what you are saying about cropping idway between the current crop and the edge of the poster, but as i said earlier, i couldnt live with half a striplight, i chose what i thought was the best of the three options.

the barrier is there to stop you looking into the empty space, i thought you would have guessed that LOL.

pc

-- hide signature --

`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

 meagre offerings's gear list:meagre offerings's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meagre offerings
Senior MemberPosts: 3,766Gear list
Like?
Re: pc
In reply to Leo33, Apr 12, 2013

Leo33 wrote:

This image speaks volumes to me. . . .  end of story! :)))
Best Regards,

Emil

thank you sir, why cant everybody be as well behaved as you emil.

pc

-- hide signature --

`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

 meagre offerings's gear list:meagre offerings's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meagre offerings
Senior MemberPosts: 3,766Gear list
Like?
Re: if only!!!!
In reply to Cadder, Apr 12, 2013

Cadder wrote:

Well, that turned out to be a really interesting, and educational thread!

Cadder

unlike the image LOL.

pc

-- hide signature --

`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

 meagre offerings's gear list:meagre offerings's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mauro.B
Senior MemberPosts: 2,343Gear list
Like?
Re: if only!!!! I had her number ...
In reply to meagre offerings, Apr 12, 2013

Well seen, captured and narrated, my friend.

Good to see excellent photos requiring just a few syllables to tell so much.

M

 Mauro.B's gear list:Mauro.B's gear list
Sony RX100 Ricoh GR Nikon D800E Leica M Typ 240 Fujifilm X-T1
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Daedalus2000
Senior MemberPosts: 4,109
Like?
Re: pc
In reply to meagre offerings, Apr 12, 2013

nikonFboy wrote:

Leo33 wrote:

This image speaks volumes to me. . . .  end of story! :)))
Best Regards,

Emil

thank you sir, why cant everybody be as well behaved as you emil.

pc

-- hide signature --

`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

ok, ok I am on time-out!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meagre offerings
Senior MemberPosts: 3,766Gear list
Like?
Re: pc
In reply to Daedalus2000, Apr 12, 2013

Daedalus2000 wrote:

nikonFboy wrote:

Leo33 wrote:

This image speaks volumes to me. . . .  end of story! :)))
Best Regards,

Emil

thank you sir, why cant everybody be as well behaved as you emil.

pc

-- hide signature --

`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

ok, ok I am on time-out!

no, you carry on as you were D, its been a good thread, and i have learned a lot, not only about taking a image apart to see whats there, but about people on this fine forum.

i have enjoyed it.

pc

-- hide signature --

`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

 meagre offerings's gear list:meagre offerings's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meagre offerings
Senior MemberPosts: 3,766Gear list
Like?
Re: if only!!!! I had her number ...
In reply to Mauro.B, Apr 12, 2013

Mauro.B wrote:

Well seen, captured and narrated, my friend.

Good to see excellent photos requiring just a few syllables to tell so much.

M

thank you very much mauro.

have a great weekend

pc

-- hide signature --

`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

 meagre offerings's gear list:meagre offerings's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Edward48
Veteran MemberPosts: 8,190
Like?
Re: if only!!!!
In reply to meagre offerings, Apr 12, 2013

nikonFboy wrote:

I hope one day we will have the chance to shoot together in the streets of London.

D

can i come please.

You can if you behave Paul

Seriously, if either of you are in town with enough time for a shoot or even a quick coffee, let me know. The cappuccinos are on me!

Mike

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meagre offerings
Senior MemberPosts: 3,766Gear list
Like?
Re: if only!!!!
In reply to Edward48, Apr 12, 2013

Edward48 wrote:

nikonFboy wrote:

I hope one day we will have the chance to shoot together in the streets of London.

D

can i come please.

You can if you behave Paul

Seriously, if either of you are in town with enough time for a shoot or even a quick coffee, let me know. The cappuccinos are on me!

Mike

oh dear, i really cant commit to the behaving part, the coffee and the shoot part, no problem, the other bit is sometimes a little more difficult.

pc

-- hide signature --

`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

 meagre offerings's gear list:meagre offerings's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meagre offerings
Senior MemberPosts: 3,766Gear list
Like?
Re: Any suggestions...
In reply to Fogsville, Apr 12, 2013

Fogsville wrote:

DavidGBK wrote:

..for a good book on Semiotics for photographers?

I am often very frustrated at my inability to express properly in words why I like a particular image.

For example "If only!!!" is an excellent image and one that appeals to me but I am struggling on how to say this.

Often I do not think it is fair to comment "nice pic" when the image deserves a fuller response, some of us use this so often that I think it really has no meaning and is devalued.

Daedalus2000 described what I was feeling about this image and I was kicking my self saying "yes, exactly"; why could I not express this.

I think part of it is practise; deliberately trying to articulate why we like or dislike an image.

Anyway; any suggestions on a good intorductory book gratefully received.

I like to read

Regards

David

As I've said, it's something that we already know (because it's how we function in our daily lives), but to be wholly conscious of it can help make you a better image maker.  And once it's part of your 'DNA' then you will go about making images almost 'subconsciously' and without much hesitation; i.e., 'that decisive moment.'

i have spent a fair part of today reading about `semiotics` on the net, lots of it meant absolutely nothing to me as it seemed to be very close to philosophy in how its structured, and i have never been able to get a grip on anything philosophical, well not that i could understand anyway.

i then went looking for `semiotics` for dummies, and read what i found, i still dont understand it to be able to explain what it means, but i think i have realised something, and that is, we all start to learn `semiotics` from when we can first see, hear, feel, taste, smell etc. its just how we learn everthing that helps us as a race to survive.

`semiotics` is just a fancy name for what we all do, all day, every day of our lives, if we didnt naturally learn `semiotics` we would all be dead, simple.

at 55 years old, i have survived by learning thousands of various `signs` until they become second nature, totally natural and its all done without thinking about them individually.

so in my mind, its already in everyones `DNA`, thats why we are still here.

pc

 meagre offerings's gear list:meagre offerings's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
janlu
Senior MemberPosts: 6,388
Like?
Ciao Paul....
In reply to meagre offerings, Apr 12, 2013

.... and thanks for posting this one as it's really a very nice and well thought picture and it allowed for such an interesting discussion .

Of course it seems your eyes are really working on some compelling aspect about composition , and i love the fact that you do this in the most natural way , without any pretentious rewarding .

I like this picture very much , so i took the liberty to think about that... and since i have seen that you dosen't mind , i would like to contribute with my personal vision .

Btw , tell me if you are not enjoying that i allowed myself to post a different version of one of your picture , and i will understand ... no problem, at all !!

The background square patterns on the wall are such some perfect candidates to use them in the framing (4+2), i also like the yellow barrier you have included , but i think it doesn't add so much to the composition , and the upper light stripe is not really needed in the "dreamy" area ..... That area  is just really shining on its own , only the guy really need this   ....and you have just interesting colors matching in all the case .

Btw , i like the picture as it is .... but i think that Carl was quite right in his interpretation.... always matter of taste of course .

So this is my own interpretation about all i have said above .....

Not sure if it's better or worse , and it's not important at all , the important thing is exchanging opinions and interpretations ..... Thanks !!!

Ciao, Gianluca

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
meagre offerings
Senior MemberPosts: 3,766Gear list
Like?
Re: Ciao Paul....
In reply to janlu, Apr 12, 2013

janlu wrote:

.... and thanks for posting this one as it's really a very nice and well thought picture and it allowed for such an interesting discussion .

Of course it seems your eyes are really working on some compelling aspect about composition , and i love the fact that you do this in the most natural way , without any pretentious rewarding .

I like this picture very much , so i took the liberty to think about that... and since i have seen that you dosen't mind , i would like to contribute with my personal vision .

Btw , tell me if you are not enjoying that i allowed myself to post a different version of one of your picture , and i will understand ... no problem, at all !!

The background square patterns on the wall are such some perfect candidates to use them in the framing (4+2), i also like the yellow barrier you have included , but i think it doesn't add so much to the composition , and the upper light stripe is not really needed in the "dreamy" area ..... That area  is just really shining on its own , only the guy really need this   ....and you have just interesting colors matching in all the case .

Btw , i like the picture as it is .... but i think that Carl was quite right in his interpretation.... always matter of taste of course .

So this is my own interpretation about all i have said above .....

Not sure if it's better or worse , and it's not important at all , the important thing is exchanging opinions and interpretations ..... Thanks !!!

Ciao, Gianluca

-- hide signature --

hi gianluca

yes, i have one pretty much the same here, it was one of the three options i had, but i went for the one that pleased me most personally.

its been a very good discussion, i never thought for a minute that when i posted this image it would begin something so deep and thought provoking.

have a great weekend my friend.

have you had tea with pope francis yet??

pc

-- hide signature --

`its good to step outside your comfort zone occasionally, but is nicer to step back into it` PC.

 meagre offerings's gear list:meagre offerings's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads