That Rare Moment

This post is inspired by:

When I saw this picture a certain thought came to mind. I have never seen Rowan with such light snow on the ground. This photograph is a picture of a beautiful scene where the snow just lightly blankets the ground. This got me thinking about how often it is we take pictures in a moment and not realize how rare of a chance it is to capture such a picture.

I mentioned in a previous post how pictures are used to capture a moment or a memory. However, most people often take a picture and eventually forget about them at some point? Why is this? Most of the time it is because people take so many pictures now a days that those singular pictures of rare moments are forgotten.

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This is a picture I took earlier this year. I believe this was a rare moment in my life because I got to get up close to a real live wolf. How often do people get to say that? How often do we get to see a picture where the ground is beautifully covered in snow with grass popping out from just underneath?

However, this makes me question the fact that is taking a picture of a rare moment really worth it? I wonder because sometimes I think that taking a picture in such beautiful scenery ruins the moment. To be honest I am one who does not take many pictures. I have never been into making heavy use of my camera. However, the few times I have made use of my camera I had realized one thing. My camera was taken out, but never put away.

Have you ever noticed that? Whenever you take your phone out to take a quick picture, one picture,

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which turns into two pictures,

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then three pictures?

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I’ve noticed it. I feel like a camera even though meant to capture a moment also ruins a moment. Like instead of starring at beautiful scenery, you see it through a lens. Instead of enjoying time with my family I am posing multiple times for photos.

I feel in this day and age we feel excessive need to take a picture of every fleeting moment. However, I believe a clear memory of that fleeting moment is much better than a picture. A picture captures the sight of a moment. However, does it capture the experience of a rare moment?

Think back to the last rare moment you had. Whether it be something like you watched your little cousin take their first few steps. It could be something like you saw a beautiful sunset. Maybe saw a form of wild life you never saw before. imagine the elation and excitement you have. The experience of seeing it for the first time. Now, while in that elated moment you suddenly pull out the camera and pour all your focus into that perfect shot. Congrats, you just traded the elation for a freeze frame.

I believe that in this day and age we are compelled to take pictures of everything. You have people taking pictures of themselves doing the most random of things. You see a variety of photos online that seem to have no meaning behind them at all. I believe that when we are focused on capturing that rare moment we miss the chance to truly enjoy a moment.

What do you think? Do you think your camera ruins the moment? Do you think taking a picture adds to the experience of a rare moment at all?

In my opinion we all need to just put down our camera and stop focusing on capturing rare moments. I think rare moments should be enjoyed with your own eyes instead of a lens. I have a lot of memories in my head that remind me of all the great times I had. My eyes have always enjoyed just taking in the moment. I never needed a camera to create or catch a memory. I just remember the fun and joy I have in that moment and I think that memory gives me more than a photo could ever hope to give me. Not once have I ever looked back at a photo and remembered the full experience of the image it captured. It’s difficult to capture a full moment with a picture because you do not capture all the senses. you do not capture the sounds or smells you have at the time of the picture. You only capture an image, but not the experience itself. So, i believe we need to put down the cameras and use our eyes instead of a lens to take a picture of the scenes we come across in everyday life.

Is Photography an Art?

This post is inspired by Victor Burgin’s “Looking at Photographs”

While reading Burgin’s article “Looking at Photographs” an interesting question came to mind. I began to wonder if photography is truly a form of art.

The main function of art is to be a form of expression. Everyday we use various methods to express our feelings. Some of these methods consist of singing, drawing, painting, acting, and even writing. All these art forms consists of expressing oneself in a unique manner that relates directly to the artist themselves. However, is photography an art?

Bergin says “The significant structures which early semiotics found in photography are not spontaneously self generated, they originate in determinate modes of human organization.”

Unlike the art forms mentioned above, photography does not really allow one to express themselves with their own personal method. Photography is not a self generated image, but a captured image. A photo is not a creation of one’s own design, but an image taken by a camera. It is different from a painting where one gives physical form to their emotions in the form of what they paint. Photography seems to be more used for catching a moment or memory instead of expressing oneself.

When performing a form of art, how do you feel? When you paint do you feel like you paint out your emotions with each brush stroke? When you act, do you feel your various forms of emotions create the character you play? When you write, do you feel your words speak the emotions you cannot say out loud?

Art seems to always have an emotional feedback to the artist. It serves a purpose of expressing emotions that cannot be expressed in words alone. When you take a photograph, does photography give you some form of emotional feedback? When you take a picture of something randomly beautiful, do you do it to have a memory of the beautiful sight or because of the artistic value?

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Above is a picture I took at an Earth festival. It is a picture I took of a wolf. I did not feel any form of expressionism when taking this picture. the only thought in my mind was “Cool, a wolf” snap. I only took that picture because it was the first time I saw a wolf. I was not expressing myself in any way or form. The other thing that makes me wonder if photography is an art is another picture I took of that same wolf.

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The two pictures look almost identical, right? That is because they are identical! They are almost if not exactly the same. these two pictures are two completely different photos taken within five seconds apart from each other. I cannot tell the difference. That is because photos can be pretty much reproduced. I wonder how many people took almost the same exact picture as I did. Photos have no unique form of emotion to them. They completely detach the artist from the viewer. Certainly a photo can be beautiful or have meaning but once again is it art?

What is art to you? Is it something beautiful to look at? Is it an image or form of expression that holds meaning to you? What does a photo do for you?

The definition of art is the conscious use of the imagination in the production of objects intended to be contemplated or appreciated as beautiful, as in the arrangement of forms, sounds, or words.

If I were to say my opinion I believe photography is not an art. Honestly I believe photography is not a form of art, but a form of capturing a memorable moment. Whenever I take a photo it is done by reflex. Like the definition says art requires you to use your imagination. That use of imagination allows you to figure out how to express a variety of your emotions in different shapes or forms. However, where is the imagination in photography? When you look at my photo above, what do you think? You think it’s a wolf right? Where is the imagination in that?

The imagination is a wondrous thing all humans have. Imagination allows us to access fantasies within our minds and make creations based off this fantasy like thoughts or emotions. That imagination can be seen and felt in all forms of art. Take a poem for example. When you read a poem you often find yourself asking what does the poem mean? What meaning does the poem have? What was the author feeling s he wrote the poem? However, the experience of looking at a photo lasts but a moment long. One does not ask a lot of the questions I just listed. They do not try to put their own form of imagination on the photo to create their own image of what they are looking at. Instead they just figure out its a picture and go to look at the next picture.

Remember the days when…?

I saw this picture the other day, and I thought…man, I remember when going outside and playing all day was just what we did. And now? Well now I feel like I’m drowning in just piles and mountains of work all the time. And the kids I see today, well they aren’t usually too concerned with getting enough sunlight. It’s amazing to me how much our world has changed and how in many ways, we’ve progressed, but in so many other ways, we’ve reverted. Staying inside, alone is something I feel happened many moons ago, and it happened because it had to, but now face to face interaction is too low on the priority list, because people and kids want to shut their brains off and just be entertained. How do we get back to relationships? How do we all get back to place where thinking and talking about your thoughts while other people can see your face get all scrunched up when you’re thinking too hard?

Signs are EVERYWHERE!

 

 

This picture I took and also tweeted for our class, but then I got to thinking. Signs are really everywhere we look. They are always surrounding us giving us messages we need to know. Us humans give these signs meaning, but to us, most of them only have one meaning. When we see them, we immediately think of one thing. For example, in my picture, the wheelchair on the reserved parking sign we automatically think handicapped.

Chapter One of “This Means This, This Means That” by Sean Hall. Chapter One discusses signs and signing. The seminal figure, Charles Sanders Pierce states, “signs had three elements: the representamen, the interpretant and the object. We call these things the sign vehicle, a sense or meaning and a reference. (p. 22).

So, the definition of semiotics is conveying a message through a symbol or an image that has multiple meanings. In this image in my tweet, there is the sign with the wheelchair on it. The words say “Reserved Parking”. So there is a signifier, the signify, and the message. So Here the signifer is the wheelchair picture on the sign, the signify is that that means disabled in some way, and the message is that only persons with disabilities and also proven disabilities, are allowed to park in this specified spot.

 

We know a lot more then we think we know, and although this seems like easy stuff, and of course you know what something means when you see it, it can be tricky. Like in our mashup videos, we had to come up with a lot of metaphors. Sometimes the metaphor aren’t exactly the most clear to decipher, but that’s what makes it fun. 🙂

 

 

Judging Imagery

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Something we do all the time is judge an image. No, I don’t mean judge a book by it’s cover type of thing. I mean literally judge an image. We all do it. We judge other people’s personal photos on them on social media, and also not of them specifically, but what they post.

 

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Sean Hall says, “Semantic units are discrete items of communication that have actual and potential meanings.”  So the image itself has actual meaning, but we analyze it and give it potential different meanings. That’s up to our judgment. We always ask subconsciously “what does this mean?” Hall also states, “With images, the issue is more difficult. A painting can have brush-marks, lines, tones, textures, colours and different parts, all of which can be identified as meaningful- of course the picture as a whole has meaning too.

 

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In this image, the outlet could behind the woman could’ve just been there. Or the photographer wanted to it there for purpose. Some symbolic representation, but of what? It could represent power, since it is a power outlet, and the other person’s hand is covering this woman’s mouth, making her powerless. Or the outlet could represent an outlet, as in there’s always an outlet, or an escape. There’s always another route for you.  The photographer had an idea in mind, perhaps, but in the end we judge the image and create the meaning.

Sean Hall states, “Literal meanings are important when we need to communicate something clearly and unambiguously. I agree with him. Literal meanings are important, but we are constantly giving things our own meanings.

 

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Our interpretations of images is what we’re left with. At the end of the day, it’s not about what the photographer, writer or creator wanted to portray, its what we make of it. Sometimes, they want us to give it meaning, but other times they give it meaning. Sometimes the audience misses out on the meaning, or maybe they get the actual meaning, but give it more meanings.

 

 

Photographs or Expressions of Emotion

We spend a great deal of time talking about and trying to understand the concepts and the structure and the composition of photographs though Victor Burgin, Martin Lister, Lev Manovich, and Fred Ritchin but to most photographs mean a lot more then just these few things that are taught in class. Coming from someone who grew up with a father who was in photography the art of capturing the moment is very important but why we capture it, why that moment in history matters. The main reason why people take photographs now and through out time is the emotion. Each photograph in the world carries some sort of emotion to it. Whether or not the photograph is a landscape or a portrait a photograph holds the emotions of the moment in them.

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These two photos are both taken by me, one is just a pure landscape of the beach in Sea Isle City and the second is my friend’s husband falling asleep with their baby fast asleep on his chest. When looking at these pictures and when taking these pictures I feel more about the emotion that the moment has captured. Tell me that you do not feel any emotion looking at these photos rather then thinking about the composition. The emotion is what is most important in a photograph not how or why it is made. The emotion behind the photograph is why we take it, why we share it, why we cherish it.

Finals Week?

Finals week is here and with that the highest levels of stress among students. Most of the stress that students are under is self-inflected. Most students will tend to blame their stress on the heavy amount of projects and studying and papers that have to be completed with no time for extensions for any reason, professors have to have their grades in before it’s too late. Students bring this stress on themselves, and Katie Finnegan’s twitter post tells us the story of exactly what happens to make students damn themselves during finals week. Katie posted this picture to the #wrtuesdays .

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This is the exact reason that students are so stressed out when finals week makes its way around. Most students will say that that rendition of their procrastination procedures is dead on. I know that it matches mine very well. I procrastinate at every assignment that is every given to me. I always think that I will do it before it’s too late but I just keep putting it off and putting it off until it is right up to the time its due. I always mange to get things done on time but I have to do them at the very last minute. When finals week comes along and I have a million things to do, what happens most of the time is that I forget the actually studying that needs to be done and concentrate on the projects and assignments that need to be in rather than the big test that is worth a larger point of my grade. What I mean by all of this is that every student has procrastinated at some point in their life and they do it most often as finals approach.

What we need to do is find a way to cut the procrastination process in half so instead of going through 6 steps and repeating it, students will only go through 3 steps then begin the project or assignment, before it is too late. So instead of going through the denial and crisis stage we stop at the excuses and we decide that it is time to start working on that paper, assignment or project. We need to begin a conscious decision to stop the process earlier and get the work done sooner so that when the time comes to turn in those last assignments we are ready for it and we do not add more stress to an already hectic week. Make it your conscious effort to get the assignments done before the due date to relieve some of that stress that you are under. And remember, it’s not the professor’s fault, they did not give you too much work, they just expect you to be able to use time management to get it done. I know that I will be trying harder to get things done earlier then the night before they are due.