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Thread: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

  1. #11
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

    Quote Originally Posted by Merg Ross View Post
    To understand the phrase you would first have to understand Minor
    I think you just have to understand the notion of metaphor. Minor didn't invent it!

  2. #12

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    Re: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

    Quote Originally Posted by paulr View Post
    These questions, of course, poke at the floodgates of critical theory.

    Connotation, denotation, metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, symbol, where meaning resides, how it got there, how to find it, if it even exists ...
    That's a lot of terminology... How long does it take to learn this stuff? Or do you have to just "get it" or not? I can't get past metaphor. What's it like? No that's a simile.

    paulr,

    It may sound like I'm joking, but I always appreciate your art-history background and additions to threads. Sometimes I figure you get it, and might be able to explain it to me. Other times I think I will always be one step short...

    Austin Granger,

    I think you get it... That's what I envision when I think of equivalents.

  3. #13
    austin granger's Avatar
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    Re: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

    Quote Originally Posted by paulr View Post
    I think you just have to understand the notion of metaphor. Minor didn't invent it!


    Yes, that's just it really, metaphors. Things being other things. Which is what every photograph in the world is, since everyone is going to bring whatever they bring (that is to say, their mind) to their looking at it. The question for me is whether one can make someone else see the thing, or feel the feeling, that you want them to see or to feel, without telling them directly what that might be. So far the answer seems to be... occasionally. At least I think so. I mean, has the gap actually been bridged, or is that just my thinking that it has? Are we forever stuck on our little islands? And on and on it goes. :-)

  4. #14

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    Re: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

    Quote Originally Posted by austin granger View Post
    The question for me is whether one can make someone else see the thing, or feel the feeling, that you want them to see or to feel, without telling them directly what that might be.
    If someone asked me why I take the pictures I do or what I am trying to "say" through them I would have no answer. I take pictures of things that catch my eye. For me the act of photographing, especially via the protracted process of using large format equipment, is devoid of thought. It is the one time in my daily life when I am focused solely on the present moment. The process of setting up, framing, metering, composing and exposing requires all of my faculties; it's as close as I get to a purely intuitive experience. Others are free to find connections, equivalencies, metaphors or correspondences in my work, but I am not conscious of putting any of it there.

    Jonathan


    EDIT: Austin, I'm curious: did you create these pairs or groupings of "Correspondence" images on purpose--having one image in mind while making another--or did you go back through and find them after the fact?

  5. #15
    austin granger's Avatar
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    Re: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post

    Austin Granger,

    I think you get it... That's what I envision when I think of equivalents.
    Well thanks Bill. Honestly when I go around photographing, I'm not thinking, "Hey, there's a metaphor for the human condition!" or whatever. I just photograph stuff that makes me feel something, or seems resonant in some way, and hope that it connects with people. One thing that's crossed my mind is that the "emptier" a subject is, the more likely it will work as an equivalent, as its emptiness will allow it to be "filled" by the viewer. Sometimes this can be literal emptiness, as in how a picture of a stark, empty field will likely convey a sense of loneliness or despair, but also it can work with a subject that is stripped of context. For instance, I have a picture of a neon sign (it's medium format so I wont show it here) that says simply "NUDE" without much going on around it. Without such bearings, you're left with just the word "NUDE" and your own mind. Now I don't know specifically how each individual is going to respond to that, but I am sure that they'll "fill" it up with all that nudity means to them. And in that way, the picture becomes a kind of collaboration between myself and the viewer. It's the same way with the picture of the crumpled paper. In a real sense, it's a picture of nothing, but because of that emptiness, it becomes a picture of your mind (because I know that you will make it something-that's what the mind does). I think this is why the idea of "equivalents" are often connected with abstract photos. Anyway, sorry for rambling on here; these are things that interest me.

  6. #16
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

    Quote Originally Posted by austin granger View Post
    Are we forever stuck on our little islands?
    A key question!

    We're not always stuck on our islands, White says in his "Equivalence" article.

    But whether this matters is another question…

    That is, he says a photographer can use images, symbolically, to communicate personal experiences to the viewer – but trying to do so, he adds, just isn’t very important.

    If this type of communication succeeds, and it can, it’s a rare accomplishment indeed between elites.

    More typically, "To the innocent, well meaning young photographer, audience response to his photographs is a disheartening experience. They see what they wish to see, and not what he thinks that he is showing them."

    What is important to White is that images (and he’s addressing his own) be "not self-expressive, or self-searching; they are self-found. Communication is of no importance, evocation of little significance..."

    I suspect the vast majority of image posters here would agree with White that it's possible for a photographer to get conscious intentions across to the viewer, but would disagree with him that it's irrelevant.

  7. #17
    austin granger's Avatar
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    Re: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

    Quote Originally Posted by jcoldslabs View Post


    EDIT: Austin, I'm curious: did you create these pairs or groupings of "Correspondence" images on purpose--having one image in mind while making another--or did you go back through and find them after the fact?
    No, I only find (or make?) the patterns after the fact. Sometimes I wonder how much of it is in the world and how much is in my mind. I'm really beginning to think that the world IS my mind. Whoa... :-) Seriously though, sometimes the "correspondences" are so uncanny that it almost freaks me out. The pictures of the dead coyote and the homeless man sleeping come to mind. But no, when I saw the coyote, the homeless man never came to mind (unless it was subconsciously). It was only later that I saw they were laying in the very same way, and that together, the pictures would become about estrangement (from nature, from society, etc). I do love how pictures can be made to play off each other, and combine to make new meanings. See, after the homeless man come the bank doors and the mansion gates and now we're talking about wealth and poverty. EQUIVALENTS man, this stuff is exciting!

  8. #18
    Joe O'Hara's Avatar
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    Re: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

    There are so many strong images in this thread. Miguel's initial one, which is wonderful, sucked me in immediately.

    Intuitively, I think that Minor White meant that the picture is, of necessity, of the subject, but if it is a good picture,
    it is not solely about the subject. (Pictures that are solely about the subject are what I would call technical, journalistic, or commercial
    photographs.) Learning to make photographs that are not solely about the subject, to me, is what this is
    all about. It is a process that cannot be explained or taught, except, possibly, by example.

    As so many of you have shown here.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img914_2_edited.jpg  
    Where are we going?
    And why are we in this handbasket?


    www.josephoharaphotography.com

  9. #19
    Bill Kostelec
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    Re: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

    In making a photograph aren't there 2 stages of communication? First, something catches my eye, and more than my eye and then I make the exposure. Once I have the print in hand the first communication is with myself. What did I see initially and is it there in the print? Or is there something more in the print that I didn't see with my eyes, but perhaps with my mind? The second communication is with the viewer, the reader of the print. I have to allow room in their reading for their own presence as eyes and mind. Isn't even verbal conversation this way, with the necessity for allowing for the other to hear what he will hear, which may be even more than I have said? I might say "No, you misunderstood me" or "I didn't quite mean that", but what if that other actually caught a nuance that I wasn't aware of in my speaking? All communication has to allow for such things, so that I might find in the print I made more in the image than I really had known at the moment of exposure.

    Bill a great topic

  10. #20
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    Re: Equivalence: The Perennial Trend

    great threat!
    enjoy your coffee

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