one pic - the power of symbols

Started Apr 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
Fogsville Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Re: one pic - the power of symbols

nikonFboy wrote:

I don't believe I said that you were being sarcastic, I'm 100% certain your trying to help people. the slight problem I'm facing is the general assumption that if a person is not up there with their semiotics, then they are somehow inferior photographers. this may not be the intention, but this is how I read it.
also, whatever happened to gut instinct when capturing a shot, and when doing some forms of photography, there just isn't enough time to check out every aspect of a shot, while doing this most street shots will never be taken. I'm sorry but as I see it, someone may be a world authority on semiotics but at the same time they may be a crap photographer.
alternatively someone may be a décent photographer, but may not know or understand thé theory of semiorics.

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

Nobody's inferior in respect to knowing or not knowing a certain branch of theory about language and imagery.  That assumption is all in your head.  In fact we all practice 'semiotics' everyday whether we realize it or not.  Don't let someone's breadth of knowledge in one area make you feel intimidated.  That's not what this is about at all (in the last thread you called it a "debate" when in fact it's not a debate, it's a dialogue.)

And that 'gut instinct' that you refer to, is a learned instinct.  You have learned to capture that "decisive moment" over time and with practice. No one is implying that you stop the world and check out what might be in your frame only so that you be precise and calculated while you make a photograph.  But we do edit our images and we do select our images after the fact.  And that is indeed a very calculated act.

As I mentioned before, this idea of signs and codes existing in the world is designed by humans (and it's cultural.)  And it becomes part of our "DNA" so to speak.  But it's a learned behavior.  Just like we learn a language.  But you know language quite well by now (although you didn't when you were a child) and so yes, you use language today as through a "gut instinct."  You capture images the same way, through a learned behavior of seeing and using a camera.  It becomes part of your "gut instinct."  But afterwards, you make a conscious act of editing out those images and selecting the ones that you want to show other people.  And that's when the codes and symbols within the frame (i.e., all the elements that exist to make up the image) are more carefully scrutinized.  Semiotics is simply a term used to study this whole phenomenon. Nothing more, and nothing less.

And yes absolutely, being an authority on something doesn't mean you're entitled to be great at everything.  A "crap photographer" is simply a crap photographer despite any particular knowledge base (just as one can be highly proficient with the technical side of the tools and yet can only produce less than compelling images.)  But don''t feel that because you may not understand (or want to understand) something that it has no value.  And especially when in fact you practice it everyday.  It is an integral part of photography and always has been.  And that's the point. You are employing 'semiotics' all the time.  Whether you want to inquire further about how it functions within photography and how to recognize it, is up to you.  But to be wholly aware of what you are doing while making images is important.  And the more conscious you are of your actions, the more you will get better and better until you finally cease to exist (i.e., death.)  As humans we are in a constant state of flux and progression until we die.

Now go out and enjoy making images. And try to always be conscious of what you're doing (like one would do in anything, not just photography.)

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