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Heroique
4-Jan-2015, 15:16
Have you ever viewed another person's LF image, detected a symbol or message in it, wondered whether it was "really" there, and if so, whether it was intentional on the photographer's part? What was your reaction? Did you feel manipulated? :(

Better, have you ever knowingly composed a shot with a symbol or message meant for the viewer? (Show us!)

Or most interesting, maybe you've reviewed one of your own images, and suddenly discovered a "message" you didn't know you were composing at the time of the shot, but finally convinced yourself that you were indeed.

Maybe you composed this message for yourself – subconsciously, of course – or maybe you put it there for particular viewers you knew would eventually see it. Either way, please tell us more!

-----
Dr. Freud – LF forum paging Dr. Freud – please report to the "Subliminal messages" thread. :D

Mark Stahlke
4-Jan-2015, 15:23
The female principle.
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And a male shot.
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At one time I had these two images hanging at opposite ends of a hallway.

Leszek Vogt
4-Jan-2015, 15:34
Not sure I want to go into this territory, but I did spotted couple of rubbing trees...and I don't need to get too graphic about it. Amazingly, they do resemble humans. But, this was shot with a P&S so I can't even plop a thumbnail pic.


Les

Heroique
4-Jan-2015, 15:51
At one time I had these two images hanging at opposite ends of a hallway.

I think the vertical presentation is also quite effective.

That is, if I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing.

It has perfect aim (physical and psychological), plus there's something so ... inevitable about it.


Not sure I want to go into this territory, but I did spotted couple of rubbing trees ... and I don't need to get too graphic about it. Amazingly, they do resemble humans.

We're both in the Seattle region – was this by chance one of the people you saw? ;^)

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I posted this Sierra Redwood a while back in a thread about complex camera movements, and someone pointed out the anthropomorphic nature of this shot. I was struck speechless, for it hadn't occurred to me. Anybody have a giant fig leaf?

Tachi 4x5
Schneider XL 110mm/5.6
T-max 100 (in T-max rs)
Epson 4990/Epson Scan

Leszek Vogt
4-Jan-2015, 16:07
I think the vertical presentation is also quite effective.

That is, if I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing.

It has perfect aim (physical and psychological), plus there's something so ... inevitable about it.



We're both in the Seattle region – was this by chance one of the people you saw? ;^)

127525

I posted this Sierra Redwood a while back in a thread about complex camera movements, and someone pointed out the anthropomorphic nature of this shot. I was struck speechless, for it hadn't occurred to me. Anybody have a giant fig leaf?

Tachi 4x5
Schneider XL 110mm/5.6
T-max 100 (in T-max rs)
Epson 4990/Epson Scan

Kinda similar, but there seem to be more finesse to it....at least the ones that I saw. The trees that I saw were thinner and the access was somewhat restricted due to other trees/bushes nearby. Good catch, tho.


Les

jp
4-Jan-2015, 16:08
Subliminal and symbolism can be two different things. I wouldn't call most anthropomorphic scenes subliminal. Interesting yes!

Timothy Blomquist
4-Jan-2015, 16:42
Photography is edited reality, creating it's own reality within the frame of the camera's eye. I'll demonstrate an example here. A photographer chooses to photograph a run-down house in a neighborhood, even though all the other houses on each side and in the neighborhood are beautiful. The image the photographer displays shows only the house that is falling apart. The image is titled: "Elm Street, Chicago, Illinois". Such an image leaves the impression that Elm Street in that community is a horrible place.

This sort of thing happens all the time, and I have done it myself. About 20 years ago I was photographing with my Sinar 4x5 F along old Route 66 in Arizona. There was a sign for a tourist trap which displayed the words, "Indian Ruins", bright yellow in color with bold letters. Right behind the sign was a small collection of run down Navajo houses. I framed the shot showing the tourist trap sign advertising Indian Ruins, and including Navajo houses behind it. This is obviously a juxtaposition of two different things which creates a message. Edward Weston did it with the "Hot Coffee" sign he photographed in the hot Mojave Desert back in the 1930s.

ic-racer
4-Jan-2015, 16:43
The only photographer I can think of off hand is John Baldessari. For example check out his "Seeing is Believing" work.
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Leszek Vogt
4-Jan-2015, 17:30
This subject remind me of ice cubes, that were used in various drink ads....till people realized the bs trick. And, I agree, that a documentary is not a document....it's a producer/editor or director's slanted view.


Les

Randy Moe
4-Jan-2015, 19:14
I think the vertical presentation is also quite effective.

That is, if I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing.

It has perfect aim (physical and psychological), plus there's something so ... inevitable about it.



We're both in the Seattle region – was this by chance one of the people you saw? ;^)

127525

I posted this Sierra Redwood a while back in a thread about complex camera movements, and someone pointed out the anthropomorphic nature of this shot. I was struck speechless, for it hadn't occurred to me. Anybody have a giant fig leaf?

Tachi 4x5
Schneider XL 110mm/5.6
T-max 100 (in T-max rs)
Epson 4990/Epson Scan

That tree may also be an ancient Native American Marker tree. Trees don't just grow like that. I went to HS with Dennis Downs who is now the expert on Marker trees and wrote a book on it. Here. (http://www.greatlakestrailtreesociety.org/)

Jac@stafford.net
4-Jan-2015, 19:48
That tree may also be an ancient Native American Marker tree.

Excellent observation!
.

Alan Gales
4-Jan-2015, 23:29
That tree may also be an ancient Native American Marker tree. Trees don't just grow like that. I went to HS with Dennis Downs who is now the expert on Marker trees and wrote a book on it. Here. (http://www.greatlakestrailtreesociety.org/)

How interesting! I never knew about Native American Marker trees.

Jim Noel
5-Jan-2015, 09:08
Maybe I should dig out the negatives in my "Eroctica" series. It is not difficult to find rock formations which depict human genitalia, or other body parts.

scheinfluger_77
5-Jan-2015, 10:06
The female principle.
127522
And a male shot.
127523

At one time I had these two images hanging at opposite ends of a hallway.

Yeah, this pretty much covers it.

scheinfluger_77
5-Jan-2015, 10:11
That tree may also be an ancient Native American Marker tree. Trees don't just grow like that. I went to HS with Dennis Downs who is now the expert on Marker trees and wrote a book on it. Here. (http://www.greatlakestrailtreesociety.org/)

I hadn't considered that, but I did read something recently about the Marker tree phenomenon. This does look like an example.

Kirk Gittings
5-Jan-2015, 10:16
"sub·lim·i·nal
ˌsəbˈlimənl/
adjective PSYCHOLOGY
(of a stimulus or mental process) below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone's mind without their being aware of it."

Are these example images here really subliminal?

Sevo
5-Jan-2015, 10:27
The only subliminal message I sometimes fall for is "BUY MORE GEAR"...

Jac@stafford.net
5-Jan-2015, 11:44
Not a photo but darned clever. Once you see it, you can't unsee it.

127580

Randy Moe
5-Jan-2015, 12:09
"sub·lim·i·nal
ˌsəbˈlimənl/
adjective PSYCHOLOGY
(of a stimulus or mental process) below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone's mind without their being aware of it."

Are these example images here really subliminal?

+1.

Heroique
5-Jan-2015, 13:47
Are these example images here really subliminal?

The best way to answer this is maybe. The worst way is absolutely not. The expensive way is an hour on the psychoanalyst's couch.

There are, of course, untold hidden motivations that influence composition choices, or the way we perceive those by others. Same for any given dream image...

The clever way to deny all this is to say "Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar." :cool:

Maris Rusis
5-Jan-2015, 15:27
Subliminal? See Rorschach Ink Blot test. The viewer may interrogate the picture but the picture may also unveil the viewer.

Peter Collins
5-Jan-2015, 17:29
If "subliminal" is "below the threshold of sensation or consciousness," per Kirk's post, how can anyone know that there is subliminal content in an image?

Randy Moe
5-Jan-2015, 18:07
If "subliminal" is "below the threshold of sensation or consciousness," per Kirk's post, how can anyone know that there is subliminal content in an image?

That's the point, isn't it.

Psychological suggestion below subject's observational threshold.

Robert Oliver
5-Jan-2015, 18:09
Arches National Park...


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Heroique
5-Jan-2015, 18:19
If "subliminal" is "below the threshold of sensation or consciousness," per Kirk's post, how can anyone know that there is subliminal content in an image?

Short answer [in a German accent] – the mind knows more than what is on a conscious level.

That is, the whole iceberg represents the mind, not just its tip.

But a healthy critical attitude can bring into the conscious part of the mind what might have existed only in the more subliminal regions.

Sincerely, Herr Doktor Heroique :)


The viewer may interrogate the picture but the picture may also unveil the viewer.

127589

Technical details & geographic location withheld to help "unveil" the viewer.

Randy Moe
5-Jan-2015, 18:20
I had a friend, a retired English professor.

He was born on his dining table, that he still possessed, in his greystone mansion.

It was filled with obelisks.

He sold me his cherry 1972 Buick for $1. He gave the mansion to his renter.

What is the message?

Mark Stahlke
5-Jan-2015, 18:50
What you see is a row of bike racks and the Colorado Veterans Monument in downtown Denver. Everything else is all in your mind. :p

BrianShaw
5-Jan-2015, 18:58
Not a photo but darned clever. Once you see it, you can't unsee it.

127580

OMG, I cannot unsee it!

Randy Moe
5-Jan-2015, 19:17
I forget every thing.

Each day a fresh surprise.

ic-racer
5-Jan-2015, 19:54
"sub·lim·i·nal
ˌsəbˈlimənl/
adjective PSYCHOLOGY
(of a stimulus or mental process) below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone's mind without their being aware of it."

Are these example images here really subliminal?


I guess that demonstrates it is indeed subliminal if it was missed. It says "SEEING." the other cigars in the series say "IS" and "BELIEVING" in the smoke. The rose says "DEATH" and the orange says "DEATH."

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Heroique
5-Jan-2015, 20:50
Arches National Park...

127588

Haunting. Eerie. Ghostly.

Looks like the backdrop to many of my dreams.

Something subliminal is going on here, and I must look deep inside myself to see what it is.

Kirk Gittings
5-Jan-2015, 20:59
Quote Originally Posted by Peter Collins View Post
If "subliminal" is "below the threshold of sensation or consciousness," per Kirk's post, how can anyone know that there is subliminal content in an image?
That's the point, isn't it.


Psychological suggestion below subject's observational threshold.

While I admit that its hard to recognize subliminal consciously. I don't see any of these images as subliminal. I see symbolic. I see suggestive. I see visual games and puzzles. But are any of those subliminal?

Heroique
5-Jan-2015, 21:47
I see symbolic. I see suggestive. I see visual games and puzzles. But are any of those subliminal?

Maybe.

Depends on the photographer/viewer.

Recognizing that an image is "symbolic" or "suggestive" can be, I think, a step toward an answer, but I might go one step further and ask what it's (personally) symbolic or suggestive of. Doing so might pull-up something about yourself you "knew" all along on more shadowy levels, but can now see in full light. Or it might reveal nothing at all. Still again, the image might reveal a treasure, but only on a third or fourth viewing. Or still nothing...

John Olsen
6-Jan-2015, 09:42
The attached 8x10 contact was supposed to document mementos scratched on the walls of a shack in the Las Floridas by illegal immigrants. My first viewer only saw the "pms" part, thought that was what I was imaging. Kind of disappointing to have your meaning kidnapped by an errant detail.
127612

paulr
6-Jan-2015, 09:51
I don't look at LF images anymore, because they all tell me to murder celebrities and heads of state.

Bob Sawin
6-Jan-2015, 22:34
Sometimes Crows speak to me...

Flauvius
6-Jan-2015, 23:03
A photograph that uses an image to tell a story, or to convey an emotion, uses images to convey instinctively what otherwise would require a lot of words.

If you think of Walker Evan's work, that is all there is to subliminalism.

Flauvius

TXFZ1
7-Jan-2015, 04:45
. . .

Heroique
7-Jan-2015, 06:40
. . .

If anyone's reading this subliminal reply, it's no longer subliminal!

Timothy Blomquist
7-Jan-2015, 07:08
. . .

In this image, some will see a non-statement. For me, it's a snowstorm in South Dakota.....:)

BrianShaw
7-Jan-2015, 07:21
I see what you mean.

Kirk Gittings
7-Jan-2015, 08:22
A photograph that uses an image to tell a story, or to convey an emotion, uses images to convey instinctively what otherwise would require a lot of words.

If you think of Walker Evan's work, that is all there is to subliminalism.

Flauvius

Curious. Where did you get that definition?

Heroique
7-Jan-2015, 14:41
If you think of Walker Evan's work, that is all there is to subliminalism.


Curious. Where did you get that definition?

This made me curious too.

"Subliminal" can mean a lot of things to a lot of people who make or look at photographs.

Here's how James R. Mellow, a biographer of Walker Evans, uses the term as he discusses the famous photographer's aims:


In Evans' view, then, the whole field of an individual photograph might be read as a mine of information, both consciously sought or subliminally arrived at. ("Walker Evans," by James R. Mellow)

This naturally raises the question whether photographs can also be "composed" (not just "read") as a mine of information ... subliminally arrived at.

I believe they can be, but I'm not sure if this is always the case.

Vaughn
7-Jan-2015, 15:52
Not intentional when taken (4x5), but I came to appreciate it for its 'message'.

Basically, old resource extraction mentality built on an old shaky foundation. And for the record, the old pier has been rebuilt as a recreational fishing pier, and the pulp mill dismantled.

Flauvius
7-Jan-2015, 16:04
Hi Kirk:

As to my understanding of subliminalism, that is how I understand the concept and that is how it comes to me in the work of Walker Evans.

If it works for me, so be it. However, I do not intend that it be accepted by anyone.

Flauvius

Jac@stafford.net
7-Jan-2015, 16:10
To me the subliminal is information that is unseen because it is not available to the language parts of the brain. It is experienced, but inexplicable. The examples we can picture are merely clever graphics.
.

djdister
7-Jan-2015, 16:18
A photograph that uses an image to tell a story, or to convey an emotion, uses images to convey instinctively what otherwise would require a lot of words.

If you think of Walker Evan's work, that is all there is to subliminalism.

Flauvius

I've got two books of Walker Evans' work, and frankly I dont see any of his work as "subliminal."

Flauvius
7-Jan-2015, 18:53
djdister:

For me, Walker Evan's photographic work "speaks volumes" and far more eloquently than mere words.

Unfortunately, my further narration on this topic is likely to be stricken by the moderators as being a political statement. In any event, the widespread appeal of Evan's work over the decades implies it has more than just surface appeal. It speaks to the ages, it is about humanity and its idiosyncratic values; as well as, the resolve of the human spirit.

Flauvius

Kirk Gittings
7-Jan-2015, 19:47
This made me curious too.

"Subliminal" can mean a lot of things to a lot of people who make or look at photographs.

Here's how James R. Mellow, a biographer of Walker Evans, uses the term as he discusses the famous photographer's aims:


In Evans' view, then, the whole field of an individual photograph might be read as a mine of information, both consciously sought or subliminally arrived at. ("Walker Evans," by James R. Mellow)

This naturally raises the question whether photographs can also be "composed" (not just "read") as a mine of information ... subliminally arrived at.

I believe they can be, but I'm not sure if this is always the case.

It seems to me that given the examples here and the explanations that virtually any photograph could be subliminal, which is frankly no definition at all unless the point is that there is some subliminal information in all art.

Heroique
7-Jan-2015, 20:35
Not intentional when taken (4x5), but I came to appreciate it for its 'message'. Basically, old resource extraction mentality built on an old shaky foundation. And for the record, the old pier has been rebuilt as a recreational fishing pier, and the pulp mill dismantled.

Great image – I'd enjoy hearing when the "shaky foundation" idea came to you.

Before set up, during composition, or after film development?

(See my remarks below about the Madrona, a "during composition" example.)

Heroique
7-Jan-2015, 20:37
It seems to me that given the examples here and the explanations that virtually any photograph could be subliminal, which is frankly no definition at all unless the point is that there is some subliminal information in all art.

In Freudian psychology, every dream image – every one of its details – is symbolic, usually of something from the dreamer's personal past.

Likewise, one might say the way a photographer composes an image, or perceives an image by another – every time, mind you – is a function of his or her personal past. Very much like dream work.

This subterranean influence (if one believes in such things) most commonly goes unrecognized. But not always.

-----
I was composing this shot, a beautiful Madrona in a Seattle park, when the idea of a woman on her back, exercising her legs in the air, rose slowly to consciousness. I have a feeling the anthropomorphic appeal lured me to the tree before I knew what was happening. A seduction of sorts...

127716

This "female" Madrona might complement (and compliment!) the "male" Sierra Redwood in post #4.

Toyo 45c
Schneider XL 110mm/5.6
Fuji Tungsten-64 (w/ 85b filter)
Epson 4990/Epson Scan

Randy Moe
7-Jan-2015, 20:42
I 'see' your sublimity. Ruins the image and tree for me.

Pictures are 1000 unnecessary words.

Kirk Gittings
7-Jan-2015, 21:26
I 'see' your sublimity. Ruins the image and tree for me.

Pictures are 1000 unnecessary words.

Because subliminal here is another word for cheesecake :) ? Why do so many of these so called "subliminal" images here have sexual overtones?

Randy Moe
7-Jan-2015, 21:36
Because subliminal here is another word for cheesecake :) ? Why do so many of these so called "subliminal" images here have sexual overtones?

Jungian issues, or is that Freudian?

Alan Gales
8-Jan-2015, 11:01
Because subliminal here is another word for cheesecake :) ? Why do so many of these so called "subliminal" images here have sexual overtones?

Yeah, we need more ice cold Coca Cola and popcorn subliminal messages!

djdister
8-Jan-2015, 11:08
In Freudian psychology, every dream image – every one of its details – is symbolic, usually of something from the dreamer's personal past.
-----
I was composing this shot, a beautiful Madrona in a Seattle park, when the idea of a woman on her back, exercising her legs in the air, rose slowly to consciousness. I have a feeling the anthropomorphic appeal lured me to the tree before I knew what was happening. A seduction of sorts...

127716

This "female" Madrona might complement (and compliment!) the "male" Sierra Redwood in post #4.


And sometimes a tree is just a tree... :eek:

Randy Moe
8-Jan-2015, 11:54
And sometimes a tree is just a tree... :eek:

+1.

Vaughn
8-Jan-2015, 12:11
Great image – I'd enjoy hearing when the "shaky foundation" idea came to you.

Before set up, during composition, or after film development?

(See my remarks below about the Madrona, a "during composition" example.)

I can remember purposefully placing the pulp mill 'on' the old pier pilings, balancing the reflection of the stack between the pilings. In a way it is also an ugly composition with the mill plopped down on the pier so that is in the center of the image. The mill sits in a static, unwielding position. I was not trying to make the mill a thing of beauty. So I was leaning in one direction when I made the image.

But the idea of the current (early 1980's) justifications and concepts on resource extraction (for example, trees) were based on a weak or shaky foundation did not come to me until I was printing the image. I was making 16x20 silver gelatin prints from 4x5 at that time. My way of printing at the time was to have a slightly light base exposure, and I would spend the next 5 to 15 minutes burning the image in. Then I would take the print out of the darkroom, look at it for 10 to 15 minutes (or longer) and then dive back into the dark to make the changes. This is when the image comes alive again for me. First, when I saw the image and got it on film, then again when I print it. If I was comfortable with the image and the negative quality was good, it might be a 12-hour printing session. So working that intensely with a single image, I think some of the 'hidden meanings' can sometimes surface.

The Madrone: if I was thinking along the lines of a woman's legs if I was making that photograph, I would have been more careful about what was in the background between the legs. Just saying...
:cool:

Heroique
8-Jan-2015, 13:25
The Madrona: if I was thinking along the lines of a woman's legs if I was making that photograph, I would have been more careful about what was in the background between the legs. Just saying... :cool:

That's hilarious – the placement may have something to do with another popular psychological term, "Wish fulfillment." I definitely remember positioning the tree there w/ careful tripod placement, but your psychological diagnosis never occurred to me until now. If true, subliminal indeed.

On a purely literal level (i.e., "Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar" – see post #20), the background tree, between the Madrona's legs, is the tallest Turkish Hazel in Seattle. Both the Turkish Hazel and Madrona love Seattle's rainy weather.

On this day, they both seem to be enjoying a rare break in the winter skies.

Vaughn
8-Jan-2015, 14:09
That's hilarious – the placement may have something to do with another popular psychological term, "Wish fulfillment." I definitely remember positioning the tree there w/ careful tripod placement, but your psychological diagnosis never occurred to me until now. If true, subliminal indeed...

And it might say something about the mind of the viewer...:rolleyes:

Had not heard of the Turkish hazel...