Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Everything matters: the theory of the unseen  (Read 1745 times)


  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3095
    • Pictures
Everything matters: the theory of the unseen
« on: January 25, 2012, 08:52:01 am »

I always thought of photography in a more "reductionist" approach. Because many people will agree and recognize universal beauty or emotions, but it takes considerable talent to actually be able to depict those in a picture. Not because of the unseen, but specifically because of what is universally seen or recognized by most everyone.

This could be beauty, but equally so any other emotion, including something as seemingly simple as the majestic appearance of for example the statue of liberty, the eiffeltower, or the pyramids… People see a scene and generally agree that it is beautiful or majestic. It is then the photographer's task to reduce the scene to its bare essentials so that it can be depicted in an image, with the intent of recreating the original experience.

A simple example would be something like: it's your wife's birthday and she gets flowers. She puts them in a vase, places the vase on a table, and everybody keeps mentioning how beautiful they look.

Okay, so everyone sees the beauty, but taking a simple image would not reveal the beauty of the bouquet. It would likely look cluttered by the surroundings. So the true photographer, in his/her head, actually starts to immediately reduce the scene to its bare essentials. Reducing background clutter by finding a different vantage point, or using different DOF. Maybe keep some of the festive decorations vaguely in the background so as to hint what the original bouquet was meant for, create some kind of narrative.

In the end it should result in an image where everyone will immediately see that the original beauty is revealed, can be re-experienced so to speak, and possibly also has some subconscious hints so that the wife immediately thinks of the festivities when looking at it in some near or distant future…

Perhaps this approach doesn't work for every type of photography, specifically when pursuing hyper-realism, but I can't get myself to agree with the "theory of the unseen". It doesn't seem to be quite valid. Any opinions on this?
~ O ~
If you can stomach it: pictures

Rob C

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 24074
Re: Everything matters: the theory of the unseen
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2012, 03:50:46 am »

I appreciate well photographed and artfully approached images of the natural world both person and planet, but they are few and far between because of the flood of images which are just "me-too" knee-jerk results.

Be careful, John; you could be getting splashed with my paint!


Rob C

Christoph C. Feldhaim

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2509
  • There is no rule! No - wait ...
Re: Everything matters: the theory of the unseen
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2012, 04:55:38 am »

Theory of the unseen = Below consciousness threshold perception

We often do not know why we have a certain impression of something, but surely there always is a reason for it. Sometimes an intrinsic reason which has nothing to do with the perceived matter, but often details, or the sum of details of the object which alone are not able to pass the threshold to consciousness. Thats where the "everything matters" thing comes in.
Still - which technical means have an important impact here or not is subject to discussion and also highly subjective.

I'd go so far to say even the often bashed jewellery factor of the Leicas has an impact, since the knowledge of having a superior and highly prestigous and valuable tool at least has an (at least unconscious) impact on the mind of the photographer and thus on the whole artistic process.
So - for some people a Leica special edition covered with reticulated ostrich scrotum leather might have a significant artistical meaning.  :P


P.S: I think I'll redesign my Mamiya Press. Maybe leather with some Swarovski stuff glued on it, or some provocative pink ... hmmmm ...
Pages: [1]   Go Up