Interpretation of images

Started Oct 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
Paul20 Senior Member • Posts: 2,616

RaajS wrote:

On a previous thread there was an interesting discussion around some images that a fellow forum member posted - . It was suggested that folks who didn't "get" what the images were about should go get an education in critical theory, semiotics etc.

I've often seen a lot of what frankly appears to me mostly pyschobabble in discussions of contemporary images - studium, punctum, denotation and other weighty concepts are tossed around with an air of knowing that can leave folks feeling bewildered and lost. If you don't get or like the work of an "artist", it is implied (or blatantly suggested) that you're a country bumpkin when it comes to art, someone who may well have to spend the rest of their life learning and still not get it. I beg to differ. A good image should be visually compelling, otherwise it isn't a good image. Period. My friend Peter has written a piece on his blog that I believe gets to the heart of the matter - and should be required reading for all "artists".



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A good and enjoyable discussion thanks for posting.

However I must take issue with the thrust of this argument - "a good image should be visually compelling".

or in Peter's words:

"If you have to read a book, or attend a class, or visit an art gallery in order to appreciate the image before you, then it has failed".


This is too simple. Take the work of Thomas Ruff as an extreme example of photography which needs an understanding of context to be appreciated. He has produced images from enlarged newspaper articles, night vision photographs, highly pixilated landscapes or nudes culled form the internet or even computer generated images from mathematical code. He produces images without the use of a camera.

See this link:

Thomas' work is often about the production of an image or the limits of what we understand an image to be. His work is not easily accessible, I couldn't really say I like most of the images and its not the sort of think I want to explore. But that's sort of not the point. The work is fascinating.

Sorry if I've come across a bit super-serious but I get excited by this sort of thing!



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