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Author Topic: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?  (Read 16842 times)

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2016, 03:49:10 PM »

As in jazz there needs to be a reference point of familiarity, a grounding created by melody, rhythm, etc. so that the rules that are being broken can be readily seen or communicated.


As a musician and a lover of a wide range of styles of music this was made very clear to me on PBS's Jazz series where Ornette Coleman demonstrated his jazz style of not following a chord and melodic structure, timing, phrasing and rhythm in order to play as free as a bird.

From what I heard as a result of this approach forced me to ask why am I listening to this when I can just as well listen to birds singing in their natural environment instead of people pretending to sound like birds. I have to have something as a reference that a human is creating something to enrich the listener or else it's just noise.

If there's some form of grounding in a photo to establish this reference then the freestyle can now be seen in contrast to the familiar.
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Rob C

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2016, 03:59:52 AM »

Firstly you have to accept that there are rules.

But to answer your question, I'd say yes there are many photographers who break whatever rules you care to come up with.

1. I would question why anyone serious would be using a medium for communication and not wish to communicate with the widest possible audience.

2.  If they are somewhat cynical and just want to be artistically and commercially successful then maybe they are happy to be appreciated only by the elite cognoscenti and especially those who hold the purse strings of commissions.


Mike


Interesting suppositions.

1. Why do you assume photography has to be an instrument of communication?

It can be - commercially - but most certainly doesn't have to be for the amateur. Having spent time in both camps, I find that the motivation's quite distinct, and today, as retired person, the photographic buzz is from seeing if I can still make a camera do what I want it to do; it's a very personal enterprise. If another soul appreciates/likes/understands where my mind is at, great; if not, so what? Nothing, chez moi, changes.

2. Why do you equate success, in either camp, with cynicism?

Rob C

GrahamBy

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2016, 05:48:10 AM »

Even in point one: you don't want to communicate with the widest possible audience if that means diluting your message.

In the amateur case, you can potentially communicate more to a person who shares your sensibilities than one who doesn't. In a linguistic analogy, you may prefer to use sophisticated language that much of the wider public will not understand, so as to better speak to those who share your concerns. Is Shakespeare diminished in stature because many English speakers cannot read his plays?

In the advertising sense, there is no point communicating to those who are never going to buy the product anyway...
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Rob C

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2016, 06:05:39 AM »

Even in point one: you don't want to communicate with the widest possible audience if that means diluting your message.

In the amateur case, you can potentially communicate more to a person who shares your sensibilities than one who doesn't. In a linguistic analogy, you may prefer to use sophisticated language that much of the wider public will not understand, so as to better speak to those who share your concerns. Is Shakespeare diminished in stature because many English speakers cannot read his plays?

In the advertising sense, there is no point communicating to those who are never going to buy the product anyway...

That gave me a nervous giggle: even Chaucer made more sense to me when I consulted Coghill!

Rob

GrahamBy

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2016, 07:01:43 AM »

Or Scottish truck-drivers encountered while hitching up the west coast in a winter of my youth, for that matter. I think Chaucer was easier, but I have no way of comparing content.

I think the gist was "you're fooking mad."
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drmike

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2016, 09:20:18 AM »


Interesting suppositions.

1. Why do you assume photography has to be an instrument of communication?

It can be - commercially - but most certainly doesn't have to be for the amateur. Having spent time in both camps, I find that the motivation's quite distinct, and today, as retired person, the photographic buzz is from seeing if I can still make a camera do what I want it to do; it's a very personal enterprise. If another soul appreciates/likes/understands where my mind is at, great; if not, so what? Nothing, chez moi, changes.

2. Why do you equate success, in either camp, with cynicism?

Rob C

I suppose that you are right that photography nor indeed paintings/movies/TV have to be intended for communication but they generally are. Books are generally intended to be read although there exceptions.

I was incorrectly assuming that most photographs would be shared even if in the first instance they are produced to satisfy one's own purposes as in my case. Although I shoot for me I'm happy to bore the pants off any willing victim.

I didn't get the grammar right for the cynicism point. Basically I meant that some artists are happy to perform just for an elite to gain limited recognition and a good living and not caring that it's an inward looking excluding approach. They have their money and they're happy. I think that expresses it better. You have  to wonder about  Damien Hurst for example, he's not terribly accessible to many people but the cognoscenti are able to understand him so well. And pay for it so well.

Another example I considered was Miro who it seems to me from seeing the exhibition in Barcelona was a very capable artist and then hit his winning formula and churned same old same old forever. Very popular all round though I think so not perhaps the best example for my thesis.

Mike
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GrahamBy

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2016, 12:02:01 PM »

You have  to wonder about  Damien Hurst for example, he's not terribly accessible to many people but the cognoscenti are able to understand him so well. And pay for it so well.

It would be fascinating to know what exactly the cognoscenti understand about Hurst. Could it be that in the early 80's there were a crop of new, young rich in the UK who were looking for somewhere to put their money, with the chance of a big speculative gain and limited scrutiny by the taxation authorities? In which case it becomes a bit of game-theory: whose work do I buy that others will also buy, so that the price will go up?

Should I base that on the work, or the profile of the artist, or a bit of both?

Hurst made a profile for himself by swearing on the BBC and producing work that the tabloids scoffed at. That might have been exactly the profile that Saatchi was looking for...
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2016, 01:57:49 PM »

Photographs or even painted images by their very nature communicate whether the creator intends them to or not.

Another human by seeing a rectangular or square frame with light & dark forms knows that it wasn't created accidentally or by any other random means like from some animal. Images already communicate a human made it even if an animal painted it like some elephants and monkeys.

The shape and limitations of the frame that represents a created object automatically communicate a human created it and so by human nature it is implied the other human that made the image had a reason for creating it. The reason is they saw something either in their mind (painting) or a real scene they went to the trouble of photographing so others including the creator will see it as well.

Images communicate automatcially. That's a fact! How effectively images communicate is up to debate. It doesn't matter if it's commercial or amateur work.
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Zorki5

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2016, 02:05:56 PM »

Photographs or even painted images by their very nature communicate whether the creator intends them to or not.

+1

It is impossible to say/do something that doesn't "speak" of you.

Every creation is a "message", whether you want/like it or not.
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kikashi

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2016, 03:12:28 PM »

It would be fascinating to know what exactly the cognoscenti understand about Hurst. Could it be that in the early 80's there were a crop of new, young rich in the UK who were looking for somewhere to put their money, with the chance of a big speculative gain and limited scrutiny by the taxation authorities? In which case it becomes a bit of game-theory: whose work do I buy that others will also buy, so that the price will go up?

Quite. I can't avoid the feeling that Hirst and his ilk (Emin, Ofili and so on) are phenomenally lucky to be living now, an age in which the only talent required for success is that of self-promotion.

Jeremy
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Rob C

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2016, 03:40:02 PM »

Photographs or even painted images by their very nature communicate whether the creator intends them to or not.

Another human by seeing a rectangular or square frame with light & dark forms knows that it wasn't created accidentally or by any other random means like from some animal. Images already communicate a human made it even if an animal painted it like some elephants and monkeys.

The shape and limitations of the frame that represents a created object automatically communicate a human created it and so by human nature it is implied the other human that made the image had a reason for creating it. The reason is they saw something either in their mind (painting) or a real scene they went to the trouble of photographing so others including the creator will see it as well.

Images communicate automatcially. That's a fact! How effectively images communicate is up to debate. It doesn't matter if it's commercial or amateur work.


Tim, it took you a few seconds or minutes to pen that; it took me a few seconds to read it. The average image never gets that generosity shown it unless in a context such as this. I can flick magazine pages and not remember the image on the preceding page; what message did it give? That it was irrelevant to my life? Is that actually a valid 'message' as per the sense of this topic?

And a photograph (image) made for oneself does not even need a personal message: it can owe its existence to any number of reasons that might have zero connections with communication.

"The shape and limitations of the frame that represents a created object automatically communicate a human created it and so by human nature it is implied the other human that made the image had a reason for creating it. The reason is they saw something either in their mind (painting) or a real scene they went to the trouble of photographing so others including the creator will see it as well."

Claiming that because somebody made an image implies the image has a message is untrue, as is claiming that, ergo, it seeks an audience beyond the creator. That's neither implication nor inference, but just assumption and not fact. Having a reason for making an image does not mean there is a message implicit in that image.

Rob

P.S. Regardless, none of this has any bearing on the question posed in the heading of the thread: music isn't necessarily about message, anyway, unless in song; musical sound is about stirring emotion, and that is a colour-blind, message-void concept.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 03:46:28 PM by Rob C »
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Zorki5

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2016, 04:10:55 PM »

I can flick magazine pages and not remember the image on the preceding page; what message did it give?

And what happens to the text on pages that you flick? Do you still magically consume it?
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GrahamBy

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2016, 04:40:28 PM »

Another human by seeing a rectangular or square frame with light & dark forms knows that it wasn't created accidentally or by any other random means like from some animal.

Sometimes, all the human did was frame it :)

http://culturainquieta.com/es/arte/pintura/item/9781-12-momentos-en-los-que-el-arte-se-creo-por-accidente.html
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2016, 09:20:20 PM »

I can flick magazine pages and not remember the image on the preceding page; what message did it give? That it was irrelevant to my life? Is that actually a valid 'message' as per the sense of this topic?

I answered that in my previous post you seemed to have read and quoted from..."How effectively images communicate is up to debate."[/b]

The images you glanced over in a magazine didn't communicate to you but you can't speak for everyone. Can you understand my point better if I related images to Egyptian hieroglyphics? We know those "image" writings were made by man, meant to be read by man. Just because we don't understand them doesn't mean they stop communicating.

And a photograph (image) made for oneself does not even need a personal message: it can owe its existence to any number of reasons that might have zero connections with communication.

Point to any image that you know for sure was created to not say anything and not meant to be seen by anyone. Even family photos communicate something..."I care about my family" is just one.

Claiming that because somebody made an image implies the image has a message is untrue, as is claiming that, ergo, it seeks an audience beyond the creator. That's neither implication nor inference, but just assumption and not fact. Having a reason for making an image does not mean there is a message implicit in that image.

Personifying an image by saying it seeks an audience beyond the creator is misinterpreting and redirecting the meaning and intent of my words. Again I ask you to find an image that was created not to say anything or send a message.


P.S. Regardless, none of this has any bearing on the question posed in the heading of the thread: music isn't necessarily about message, anyway, unless in song; musical sound is about stirring emotion, and that is a colour-blind, message-void concept.

How does this quote from you have any bearing on the topic thread?

Quote
1. Why do you assume photography has to be an instrument of communication?

Music uses a different internal language (musicality) to send a message about pain, happiness, peace, love, etc. Ever hear the Bobby McFerrin song "Don't Worry, Be Happy"? Notice he doesn't sing it with the dirge like musicality of the Hungarian suicide song "Gloomy Sunday". There's a message in there somewhere. You can't avoid it. Anything a human makes can't avoid sending some kind of message, but it requires someone receptive and sensitive to it.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2016, 09:36:38 PM »

Sometimes, all the human did was frame it :)

http://culturainquieta.com/es/arte/pintura/item/9781-12-momentos-en-los-que-el-arte-se-creo-por-accidente.html

Fantastic site, Graham. Very compelling images. Thanks for the link.

Addressing your quip I've actually strewn objects on a table and visually panned a frame across it to come up with unique compositions.
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GrahamBy

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2016, 08:14:34 AM »

There's a message in there somewhere. You can't avoid it. Anything a human makes can't avoid sending some kind of message, but it requires someone receptive and sensitive to it.

I'm erratically reading Frans de Waal's book an animal intelligence, which is in part a history of the science of animal cognition. Part of that is the running defence against the idea that non-human animals have cognition: he recounts a long list of things that were supposed to cleanly separate us from the rest, which have one by one fallen to better experiments.

One of those is obviously verbal language, which some philosophers had opined was the exact equivalent of intelligence, since thinking is done with words. That is clearly the experience of a monolingual person, but it also fails to recognise that we use music and images to communicate things that words cannot. There is information content, about emotional states for example, that pass by those means (even if only as a memo back to one's self).

In fact I rather think that the interest of visual arts is greatest where they are doing what can't be done in words... others seem to agree:
http://petapixel.com/2016/05/31/opinion-disturbing-trend-photography/

rantoul specifically makes the point that there is a crossing point, between a few words that contextualise the image, to a textual thesis which is illustrated by some photos.
My impression is that art-music went by that route in the 60's but recovered from it when the minimalists came along and re-injected emotional content, in some cases as "spirituality" (eg Part) but also in a more secular way (Glass). But really, I'm just making that up as I go along :)
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Zorki5

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2016, 09:10:07 AM »

One of those is obviously verbal language, which some philosophers had opined was the exact equivalent of intelligence, since thinking is done with words. That is clearly the experience of a monolingual person, but it also fails to recognise that we use music and images to communicate things that words cannot. There is information content, about emotional states for example, that pass by those means (even if only as a memo back to one's self).

So true. Not recognizing huge value of context is exactly why all the efforts of building text translators have failed so far. Very best translators still use statistical approach, and fail miserably on anything but simple domain-specific texts.

And what is context? When we start reading a book, for instance, we immediately start drawing images in our mind, which we then continuously correct while reading. Proper context representation should also include emotional component... Well, it's a huge topic, so I'll better leave it at that :)


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Rob C

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2016, 09:23:13 AM »

Tim,

"The images you glanced over in a magazine didn't communicate to you but you can't speak for everyone. Can you understand my point better if I related images to Egyptian hieroglyphics? We know those "image" writings were made by man, meant to be read by man. Just because we don't understand them doesn't mean they stop communicating."

At this point I withdraw: if you can accept something as meaningless to me as hierolyphics, call that nothingness communication, then I'm afraid the credibility gap's too wide for me.

Consider yourself right - have a very good day. Over and out.

Rob

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2016, 02:23:05 PM »

Tim,

"The images you glanced over in a magazine didn't communicate to you but you can't speak for everyone. Can you understand my point better if I related images to Egyptian hieroglyphics? We know those "image" writings were made by man, meant to be read by man. Just because we don't understand them doesn't mean they stop communicating."

At this point I withdraw: if you can accept something as meaningless to me as hierolyphics, call that nothingness communication, then I'm afraid the credibility gap's too wide for me.

Consider yourself right - have a very good day. Over and out.

Rob

I'ld rather be informed than right, Rob C.

I tried to gleam new information from what you said but I felt compelled to offer an alternate understanding of the subject of communicating through images the best I could. I find this topic very interesting.

Noticing how often you speak about your images and yourself in the numerous LuLa threads you start and/or populate with your opinions and some facts, I'ld say you gave up too easily on this one.

No one likes being lectured to on the internet but with a lot of coffee and thoughts racing through the mind trying to bring new or alternate understanding of a subject tends to sound like a lecture and I'm sorry if that is how I came across. Usually I don't say anything in forums because most topics aren't as interesting especially those that are one sided or on a subject already covered too many times.

Keep in touch. I'll miss ya'.
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marton

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Re: Is there a photographic equivalent to free jazz? dodecaphony?
« Reply #39 on: August 22, 2016, 12:41:59 AM »

In music, there are styles that tries to get rid of "conventions" or "rules" in order to achieve various philosophical goals. Incidentally, this music is often described as "demanding". Often it is appreciated by a small "elite" that themselves have education and background in the genre.

Does anything similar exist in photography? Photographers who "break all of the rules", perhaps non-pictorial, make pieces of art that may be appreciated by the elites (but not by the public)?

-h


Yes. Juergen Teller.
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