Explaining a photographs meaning???(help)

Grain rain

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Dancer In Motion

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Birds eye view

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EmptyName 7.jpg

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bjorke

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Rio said:
Sometimes I feel that mystery goes a long way-but surely I should have the ability to explain myself!!!
Why is it that agreement with your own sentiment is answered with such indignation?
 

donna-marie

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I also find it strange to talk about my photographs and have been avoiding it with great effort . . . but I have recently been forced to come up with a few words.

What I found helpful was to write down the 5 W's -- what, who, when, where, why. Answer them as they relate to your body of work, or a single photograph.

The 'why' is the hardest, but start writing thought on the other 4 W's and you will get closer to an answer. Your answers to the 'what', for example, can be very telling of the why if you can look at your answer objectively.

I am by no means an expert, but this method has allowed me to compose a couple of coherent lines, that's a couple more then I had before! A couple of lines can be enough to get folks into -- somewhat -- your frame of mind.
 
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Rio

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ELLO!!! Its Rio. :smile:

Dear me hasn't this started off an interesting debate???!!! Well last night i got a bit heated!!! my fingers ran away with me on the keyboard! But i will admitt that what steve said did have a good effect on me-i stuck up for my work-now if i could just do that infront of 10 people i'd be made! Steve, i hope you didn't get a bad impression of me???? I'm nice really.
Thanks for all your opinions, i have read every one of them and will carry on reading them-its really interesting from my point of view. I wish i found this forum when i was writing my dissertation :smile: Keep talking... x Rio
 

Cheryl Jacobs

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I have a very hard time talking about my work or emotional things in general until I know that the person with whom I'm speaking is a sympathetic, emotional person as well. :wink: I hate putting myself out there and getting that blank look back. I hate any possibility of that happening.

I don't like to have to tell people why I made a particular image, or what my work is about. I want them to see it and figure out what it says to them, if anything. I do like a good back-and-forth conversation about photography and / or art in general.
 

Alex Hawley

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I'm completely ignorant of art speak; so when someone springs it on me, I just smile and nod my head. Then I try to talk in plain language. I can explain in that way why I took the photo; no hidden meanings implied nor intended.
 

Michael A. Smith

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Photography is a visual medium. A particular photograph (as art--not talking about photography that has other purposes here) cannot be reduced to or explained in words--one should never try to "explain" a photograph. Photographs should be self explanatory. However, and it is a big however, you ought to be able to talk, in general terms, about your whole body of work--what concerns and thoughts you have that go into its making. Your comments needn't be lengthy or filled with art jargon. "These photographs are inspired by my dreams," would be sufficient. It is simple, really. Just say what you feel. Forget the art school jargon and insistence that art should be about ideas. Art should be informed by intelligence, certainly, but should not be about ideas. To quote again (I've written this before here) the great art historian, Sir Herbert Read, "The visual arts are involved with feeling. If one has ideas to express the proper medium is language."
 

ChuckP

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Sometimes your work is out ahead of you and you haven't figured it out yet. Other people's comments may help explain it to you. Like a lot of people I suppose my work is in the Seinfeld mode. It's about nothing.
 

Chuck_P

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I did not read all six pages of replies, so someone may have already commented in this way. As terse and simplistic as it may sound, there is only one person that I am interested in pleasing with my photographs-----and that's me. I photograph for me and me only, the expression conveyed in the final product must satisfy me. Of course, like most photographers, I think, I would like very much for it to convey something to others, even if it is not the same feeling as I get from it.

I have often been asked by family members, friends, etc..."why did you take a picture of that?" I usualy say something like, "for the same reason you might choose prime rib over spaghetti", because you just felt like a prime rib rather than a plate of spaghetti. I know that sounds real stupid, but............that's all I can come up with.

I rarely provide a subjective comment to any photograph either, it either strikes me in a certain way or leaves no impression at all. I'm always more interested in how the photographer has gotten the tones in his/her photograph to agree with each other and flow within the photograph.

Chuck
 

KenS

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After 30+ years as a 'Technical/Scientific/Biological" photographer, my daughter challenged me to go and 'earn' my Fine arts' degree as a means of staying out of the rocking chair and 'away' from day-time television. I hated being asked about the 'meaning' and 'concept' of the print (usually using one of the archaic' photographic print processes made from a large format negative) presented for class critique and 'grade'. I hated having to have to 'verbalise' the requested "b*ll-sh*t unless it was a genuine request for information as to the 'why' I would go to 'all that trouble'.. or the 'How' when the Department had just closed all their 'wet' darkrooms and invested so much of their budget in 'going all digital'. I tried to explain that I preferred to use the practical knowledge I had acquired over those many years rather than hand it all over to a 'digital algorithm'.
"Concept" and required "Meaning" seems to have taken over from the aquisition of the craft that is generally required to 'support' the piece of art as presented to the viewer. I prefer that the viewer 'read' meaning and/or the intent for themselves.

Ken
 
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After 30+ years as a 'Technical/Scientific/Biological" photographer, my daughter challenged me to go and 'earn' my Fine arts' degree as a means of staying out of the rocking chair and 'away' from day-time television. I hated being asked about the 'meaning' and 'concept' of the print (usually using one of the archaic' photographic print processes made from a large format negative) presented for class critique and 'grade'. I hated having to have to 'verbalise' the requested "b*ll-sh*t unless it was a genuine request for information as to the 'why' I would go to 'all that trouble'.. or the 'How' when the Department had just closed all their 'wet' darkrooms and invested so much of their budget in 'going all digital'. I tried to explain that I preferred to use the practical knowledge I had acquired over those many years rather than hand it all over to a 'digital algorithm'.
"Concept" and required "Meaning" seems to have taken over from the aquisition of the craft that is generally required to 'support' the piece of art as presented to the viewer. I prefer that the viewer 'read' meaning and/or the intent for themselves.

Ken

Yea Ken, that is how it should be, unless you produce contrived artsy stuff.

I sometimes give a little backstory. But not a meaning. Although my work is street and documentary - so if it was that hard to decipher it may be a failure.
 
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