Photography as information

Some reflections on the course notes

Photographs contain huge amounts of information. Even those with limited pictorial elements, this I believe is because we all ask questions about the photographs we see. As discussed in the Research Point here, there is also information surrounding a photograph that shapes and to some extent guides how an image is interpreted.

Flusser’s comment on page 109 of the EYV course materials raises the question about intent and how as image makers photographers try and create something new out of things that have been seen before. I think Sontag suggested that everything has already been photographed, although I need to re read ‘On Photography’. I guess this idea of creating something new is at the heart of the whole Expressing Your Vision concept. How can the photographer create something new out of the common place?

I know from my own image making that the idea of a new and different interpretation of subjects that have been photographed many times before is a key motivation, even if I fail to achieve my aspiration the chase is is part of the alluring joy of photography.

illuminance

Copyright Rinko Kawauchi

The front cover of Rinko Kawauchi’s book ‘Illuminance’ has an image of what appears to be an over exposed flower or plant, possibly a rose. Although over exposed, the plant can be seen in the context of other plants in the out of focus bokeh of the background. In spite of the brightness of the image and the out of focus burned out highlights, the image still contains information of sorts. Given the title of the book, Illuminance the image seems an appropriate cover piece for the work.

I think this type of image probably challenges the concept that the best transmission of information is done with well exposed and sharply focused images. As my blog entry on the Part 5 Research point highlights, the clarity of the an image does not necessarily provide more truth, meaning or information. Kawauchi’s image itself provides Internal Context, given I can tell what it is and I can say something about the pictorial elements within it. Because I know it is a book cover I have some thoughts and information about its External Context. At this stage though I have limited information about its Original Context although I could gain this by getting hold of a copy of the book and investigating it further. From an out of focus over exposed image I have already gleaned a lot of information.

In short, there is much to read from the image at all levels and it isn’t depenedant on technical accuracy from a photographic point of view.

 

References

Bloomfield, R. (2014) Photography 1, Expressing Your Vision, Open College of the Arts, Barnsley

Kawauchi, R. (2012) Illuminance, Aperture, New York

 

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