civilizedku # 5176 ~ vantage point / learning to see

tomatoes in strainer ~ in the Adirondack PARK (embiggenable) • iPhone

Excerpted from Szarkowski's quote, re: Vantage Point (as presented in yesterday's entry) ...

From his photographs, he learned that the appearance of the world was richer and less simple than his mind would have guessed.

As should be obvious to "serious" picture makers, there are many impressions / lessons to be gleaned from his/her pictures and, just as important, from pictures made by other picture makers. However, if one wishes to move beyond discerning the mere technical / technique properties to be noticed in a picture, one must develop and cultivate the capability to look beyond those properties and beyond whatever the picture depicts in order to see the print as an object in and of itself.

Garry Winogrand stated,"Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed." And, of course, the print is the evidence of how a "thing looks photographed".

The "thing" itself is experienced by the picture maker in a 3D world. In turn, the 3D "thing" itself is reduced to a 2D representation of that "thing" on the flat surface of a print. That 2D representation can then viewed as a collection of shapes, forms, lines, colors and tones-indepent of the depicted referent-which work/play together, within the frame imposed by the picture maker, to create what I refer to as a field of visual energy*.

iMo, it is the field of visual energy to be seen / experienced in a picture which stirs / stimulates the mind and soul / intellect and emotion of a viewer and it does so in a sensuous subconcsious / thoughtless manner ...

... Susan Sontage wrote that interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. That interpretation-an overabundance of importance placed upon the content or meaning of an artwork-interferes with (or even negates) a viewer's ability to be keenly alert to the sensuous aspects of a given work.

All of that written, in my experience I have found that most "serious" picture makers' first impression upon viewing a picture (their own and those made by others) are focused upon: 1.) the referent, and 2.) the technical qualities of the picture's presentation. For the most part, they have never learned how to see the sensorial beauty that lies beyond the depicted obvious.

More's the pity inasmuch as, if a picture maker is oblivous to the unthought known hidden beneath the surface of a picture, he/she will never be able to let go of the intellect employed in the making of their own pictures and learn how to "feel it" when making / viewing pictures. Consequently, they will make pictures using the "rules" of composition in mind rather than finding a vantage point from which they can "arrange"-more by "feel" than thought-the visual elements of their 3D referent into a 2D sensual field of visual energy.

To close, 2 ideas expressed by Garry Winogrand:

A photograph is not what was photographed, it’s something else. and The photograph should be more interesting or more beautiful than what was photographed.
*that field of visual energy can induce in a viewer a sense of serenity or, conversely, discordance.