Interpretation of images

Started Oct 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
Paul20 Senior Member • Posts: 2,570

RaajS wrote:

Daniel74 wrote:

To me, art (including photography) should supply the context - it should be self-contained. If I write a book with only one word "Drop. Drop, drop, drop, drop...." written on all pages, I don't expect people to do their research and find that I was a prisoner in China who was subjected to water torture for 20 years (I wasn't) nor would that be a masterpiece, though a page or a paragraph of "Drop. Drop, drop,..." may work well in an autobiography that supplies the context.

Modern visual art deems itself exempt from such requirements. It no longer requires great skill or craftsmanship. It no longer need to be self-contained or compelling. I expect a good book to challenge me, to educate me, to open my eyes to a new way of experiencing the world, etc. I expect a good photo to show me a way of seeing the world that is compelling that will prompt me to look at things differently, to notice what I had not noticed before, to think of things differently, challenge me, enrich me. It should compel me to seek out more context like when I saw a self-portrait of Rembrandt, Goya or Van Gogh or even Richard Gerstl, I wanted to find out more about the men, because I had caught a glimpse of their inner world and that was a powerful experience. Or when you see a painting by Egon Shiele, it is compelling both in its intensity and the mastery. You may not like it, but it haunts you. Or Rene Magritte or Dali, not realist of course, but what incredible worlds they constructed!

I don't think great photography needs to be liked by everyone. I don't know what great photography needs to be like. But I hope it doesn't totally disappear up its own backside like a lot of modern art has done.

Daniel, couldn't agree with you more. Well said!



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'Change is not Mandatory, you don't have to Survive...'


You nailed it with your use of the words 'self contained', that is really what this discussion is all about.

But is any work of art ever totally free of its context? Perhaps what we are talking about is  the degree to which a piece of work relies on the viewer having knowledge of the artist's context and intentions and our patience to find out.


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