Jul 192013
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Talking about your images is never easy, sometimes in the discussion the beauty of the image gets pulled apart, the analysis breaks it down into technical components so much so that the mystical element (the BarthesianPunctum), that spoke to you when you first saw the image, is destroyed and often never to be recovered.
I have always been drawn to suburbia and lately the industrial borderline, where spaces are ‘dressed’ and made to look like something that they are not. The architecture, the gardens and the artifice that is supposed to be inviting and yet through the photograph, the invitation has been removed. The spaces are almost anonymous but contain enough trace to be recognisable as a ‘type’ of space. Suddenly they become something other than a place of function and instead are an exploration of the simplicity of form, geometry and texture, perhaps even beauty.

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  2 Responses to “Red Brick Window – Naomi Williams”

  1. Naomi, thanks for this posting because you have contributed one of the things I value about this site and that is the connection to something that I hadn’t known about before. Your reference to Barthe’s punctum and studium was enought to tap my ignorance and send it off to find out more. For those of you who also want to be enlightened have a look at these links:
    My new found knowledge then led me to needing to know what semiotic photography was about and I found an explanation thus:
    ” Semiotics is the study of symbols. “Signs and symbols rule the world, not words nor laws.” -Confucius

    Photographs turns subjects into objects. Viewers interpret meaning by associating the objects with signs and symbols. Every decision that a photographer makes can be interpreted as a sign or symbol. A photographer’s choice of gear, applied technique, subject matter and perspective (etc) all have meaning. Basically, every person that takes a photograph is engaged in “semiotic photography” but very few are actually aware of what they’re doing. Most people are just copying work that they’ve already seen previously according to resemblances and archetypes.

    Archetypes are generic personality traits. In photography, these personalities are also known as genres or niches. Landscape, portrait, glamor, aviation, macro, real estate and beauty (etc) are all examples of archetypes. Any photographer that produces an image conforming to the standards of a pre-existing genre can expect to be recognized by an audience. Ironically, recognition is based on resemblance which is the opposite of originality. The great crisis for the talented photographer is that truly original images contain signs and symbols that audiences find difficult to recognize. This is why groundbreaking (avant garde) imagery is easily overlooked while completely un-original work is often met with instant praise.”

    Naomi, thank you for your post, it has given me some signposts to help me answer some questions that have been disturbing me. I’m off on another voyage of discovery.

  2. Naomi, and thanks from me too. You and Pauline have made me think. One thing that we as photographers fight against is the label. The question I get asked most often is “what is it?” This infers we have to label our images and I baulk at that. My response is “whatever you want it to be”, which is hard for many. Love what you do and your photo and associated words have definitely raised a new way of thinking for me. Pauline’s additions are most interesting too. Lets see how they translate into my own photography. Thanks you so much for your contribution to our group.

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