The Index & The Icon

When invented it was thought it would produce an accurate and therefore truthful representation due to it’s minimal need for human action. Once thought that it gave nature the facility to create images of itself – a risable concept nowunique ability for photography to represent the ‘truth’
Thread between the object and it’s photographic copy – something that doesn’t exist in other art forms ? (although consider fine-art; bronze casting or painting with body parts etc)
No matter how accurate, vague, blurred or loaded an image is…it was only possible by the object it recorded
Trish Morrisey’s deliberate subversion of the vernacular family album questions the truth of photography
Context is necessary when questioning how we read an image for it’s truth
Is it even relevant to speak of the photographic truth? There is virtually no generation now that has does not have at least a rudimentary knowledge of visual communication…indeed we are becoming so adept at using this form of communication it would be impossible to do without it. We ignore the photograph..to us it does not exist as a things, but a one-step removed way of representing something
Regarding Alexander Gardener’s iconic image of a dead sharpshooter at the Battle of Gettysburg  – we are asked whether it is artifice or metaphor; surely the question is whether it succeeded in delivering the message Gardener required.
Again we are asked to theorise and compare differing photographies. Photography’s problem (or possibly its wondrous skill) is it’s broadness of use.
Ritchin feels we should question the truth of any image regardless and I think we have become so visually aware as generations it is something we seem to do without even considering it – photography’s learnt conventions are totally ingrained in our psyche

Photography, Vision & Representation (Joel Snyder & Neil Walsh Allen)

Photography split into two camps – scientific & art
Is it fair to dismiss the other arts as being untruthful simply because they were not created with a mechanical recording device? Consider photorealism in painting, Lucien Freud, Impressionism or Performance. Someone said that the invention of photography freed the fine-arts to seek out and show their truths
The very act of photographing potentially changes the scene or object being photographed (Schrödinger’s cat) – would what has been depicted have happened if the camera were not there to record it
Does photography actually stultify the artist by being too accurate?
Learned conventions that photography uses in it’s representation of things (i.e. motion blur to indicate movement)

Presentation 2 – Is It Really Real ?
As always context is key, but photography is a very strong tool for propaganda – combine the right context with the right image (regardless of it’s veracity) and you can easily sway the masses
Velasquez’s Las Meninas plays with viewpoints and reality by giving us a painting of the creation of a painting and placing us in the viewpoint of characters we are not (think ‘Being John Malkovich’)
Struth’s playing with Ouroboros – the questioning viewpoints inherent in Las Meninas combined with the viewers viewing it, each other; while being viewed themselves by Struth’s camera and subsequently placed in a gallery to be viewed again.
Magritte’s Ceci Nes Pas D’un Pipe – comment on representation

Pierce’s 3 characteristic of signs –
Iconic – look like what they represent (corrected mirror image)
Indexical – the physical relationship between the object and the resulting image
Symbolic – assigned arbitrarily or is accepted as societal convention
Sontag states the only truth in a photograph is merely the world looks like that photographed
“I photograph to see what the world looks like photographed” Gary Winnogrand
Question the truth of ‘corrected’ digital images – is this relevant when considering how the image could be staged in the first place or how by careful cropping or camera angle you can remove something that could have distant bearing upon how the image is read in a different way; ultimately the photograph is still a construct of the decisions of the photographer

In what ways might you or do you construct within your own practice?

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