Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Off the beaten track

Well....not really. These pics were taken on an excursion by horseback to some local caves where you can swim in the underwater pools, a fairly well known touristy trip. The title was more in reference to the style of photos. Compared to the shots below, they are slightly 'off the beaten track' in that they aren’t of conventional subject matter or conventionally composed etc. This is nothing ground breaking and the shots themselves aren’t anything too special but for me they are far more visually interesting than the shots below. This is one of my problems with photography is that, as in art, my tastes often differ from the norm. Without sounding patronizing to everyone else I’m sure photojournalists would prefer the shots above than those below because they don’t follows the ‘laws’ of photography whilst also posing questions rather than presenting facts. For me photography is a tool that is often dumbed down by magazines and publishers who have their own reasons for picking the pictures they do but which are often driven by sales targets and potential advertisers. Anyway, I try not to rant on this blog and want to try and leave the pictures to speak for themselves, on this occasion I have failed miserably. Nevertheless my intention was to raise the point and to see if anyone would be interested in adding their own opinions on the matter. Please therefore feel free to comment.

1 comment:

Lam Thuy Vo said...

I don't know how much this interests you, but I guess your encouragement to comment will be my excuse. Just to warn you, this has been on my mind lots, hence, i'll make a point of commenting...

The conventions in magazines that you describe are the hackneyed images, i guess, that we see in advertisement, even journalism. But besides the fact that they have to sell something, the image language has to be clear even for a visually 'uneducated' audience or an audience that has been 'underexposed' so to speak to the conventions of photography. Repetition is the key, i think, to understanding and how effective is journalism if pictures (and in many ways not only the object shown on the pics but the placement of it within the frame is imperative for its empathetic effect) seem 'chaotic' because of unconventional compositions and hence, unclear in their message?

There's approaches to pictures and then specifically photography that indicate a semiology/language-like system within images, which include two components: the cultural codification of it (which is dependent on individualised associations of the photographed obejcts) and of course the composition. The objects give the picture meaning, the composition (i guess, comparable with a grammar) order it to be intelligible.

In some ways the pictures of yours in this blog do fit into the "laws" of convention, the framework within the frame of the actual picture (boy jumping into water), the subjective camera angle on the horse that you added onto the construction of a path leading somewhere (the way you often have lines leading a way somewhere). Much more varied and therefore, more creative than what you see in print media. Yet to a neccessary extent composed by laws to be understood.

As for your wish for more 'artistic' approaches to photojournalism, i'd say the internet is doing miracles, molding spectatorship and artistship into one (anyone can post pics with their point and shoot in western soc) and 'overexposing' the audience with hackneyed images, educating an audience for free for them to acquire an individual and non-commercial taste. Alternative media is already blossoming (print, online, internetlabels (www.pentagonik.de - we're releasing something there soon, i hope!), etc.), the biggies are losing their monopoly and the anti-capitalist internet is empowering the masses, hehe. maybe there the future of photography will be a bit more varied, just look at www.flickr.com and you'll see what amazingly new stuff awaits us in the mags of tomorrow.

Anyhow, nuff said. Sorry, if I bored you. Hope all is well and you're travelling savely!