Week 2 coursework – 04.02.20

Week 2 Snyder & Allen Photography vision & representation – 04.02.20

snyder & allen

(Snyder & Allen, 1975. pg 169)

Suggested reading for this week was Snyder & Allen , Photography, vision and representation. Although much more accessibly written than some of the other essays, and with some interesting ideas, I mostly find myself just reading for the potential quotes to show I know what I am talking about, frustrating when I want to be reading about Crewdson and Lennard and researching tableaux, and pondering how Hélène Cixous’s the laugh of Medusa relates to female representations of image . Everything (pretty much) that was said in this article seems to make sense, it is relevant, but it just seems so unnecessary to point any of these things out. Do we really need to discuss these things when viewing an image? Which , I accept , is totally different to trying to read it in the academic sense , in an academic setting. I acknowledge that we need to know how to read and analyse and assess an image to gain the most from it, to understand it, to understand where the artist is coming from contextually, historically, personally. But really, I just want to look at the image in awe and appreciate it for the thought provoking things that it makes jump into my head , I want to ‘feel’ the emotion of the image without having to break it down into manageable parcels.

I know all this theory is really helping me, I, after only two weeks can see my understanding of the image has already changed, and my assessment of my own future ideas, and past practice has evolved exponentially , but really, I just want to stand in front of that image and say ‘wow!’ that has moved some deep part of my soul, and thats what I want people to do with my practice. I want the things people see from my image to be so common in their symbolism (like the traffic light analogy ) that you don’t even think about it , you feel it instead, it is a known. I think this again comes down to context, and audience, who are you making your work for? My work is being made , not for the art world primarily, but for the world of alternative educators , I want them to look at my images and feel what I am trying to say , because it connects to a part of them, it resonates with them. The art world can then look, and dissect , and tear it apart and put it back together however they wish.  

“Are photographs so unlike other sorts of pictures as to require unique methods of interpretation & standards of evaluation?”  (Snyder & Allen. 1975. pg 143)

Yes, I would say there is ample reason to have a specific vocabulary for photography. I am not sure it needs to be quite so convoluted as it is, but there are issues with construct and delivery that are specific to photography that you would not encounter when dealing with painting for example.

“they may serve to provide information ( the “scientific division”) or to provide aesthetic pleasure ( the “art division”) (Snyder & Allen. 1975. pg 144) 

I copied this quote down with the note … (MUCH BETTER DEFINITION) which is certainly seemed at the time. However, now I come to look at it more closely, how can I propose it is? My own pedagogical practice within the MA is by this definition both the “scientific” and the “art” divisions. I aim to produce an informative study of alternative education based are the sociology and psychology of alternative education, whilst providing aesthetic pleasure. Does one have to be mutually exclusive of the other? I think not. So maybe this isn’t such a good quote after all, or maybe it is , when not mixed with the emotions of ones own practice.

“Photographs are not really representations at all. They are the practical realisation of the general artistic ideals of objectivity and detachment.” (Snyder & Allen. 1975. pg 145)

I adore this quote, and I couldn’t really say why. It seems to call into question all we know and accept about photography, and go against what I think in so many respects, but I love the no nonsense approach of it, the truth of it, even if it is not my truth.

References & Bibliography

Snyder, Joel & Allen Walsh, Neil. 1975. Critical enquiry, vol 2. no 1. Photography vision and representation


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