Exploring Contexts

Context or mode of presentation greatly affects how an image or body of work is read for example – Museums / galleries automatically add gravitas

John A.Walker – Context as a Determinant of Photographic Meaning

“But if an image had so many meanings, did this not render it
meaningless?”
“different people do respond differently to the same stimulus”
“reception aesthetics/history/theory”
“…Allan Sekula in particular have
shown an acute awareness of the ways the meanings of photographs
are governed by the contexts of encounter and the
social class of the viewers. With each shift of location the photograph
is re-contextualised and as the context changes so does the
meaning.”
“Alternatively, its whole meaning is given a new significance, is enhanced or modified if it enters into a montage relationship with either a caption, text or another picture.”
As a photograph is a slice of time it’s contextual meaning is initiated there..however this meaning can be changed by physical context, social, political, economic, and eventually with time as well. Therefore it’s meaning is almost constantly re-evaluated
“…the motivations of those who visit art galleries. Do people go
to be educated or entertained?”
“Pictorial stereotypes do not merely exist externally in the world of the mass media, they
inhabit us.”

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