Saturday, August 22, 2015
August 22, 2015
Time is an illusion if we are not aware of its passing. When you are totally involved in making images with purpose then you have reached a different level of time. Time seems to stop, as you build your repore with your subject and explore the infinite choices present to create an image with meaning and purpose. The true photographic experience for me is finding a powerful connection with a subject I didn't know very well before I began making images of it. And then being able to say after the shoot where did the time go!
There has to be a link between you and the environment to create visually exciting images. Without that link the image becomes a broken down recording of the same old same old.
Susan Sontag, "The photographer was thought to be an acute but non-interfering observer- a scribe, not a poet. But as people quickly discovered that nobody takes the same picture of the same thing, the supposition that cameras furnish an impersonal, objective images yielded to the fact that photographs are evidence not only of what's there but of what and individual sees, not just a record but an evaluation of the world."
With social media we have the opposite evaluation of image taking. We have the ignoring of our environment, our surroundings. Our only goal is to put us in the scene as an impostor to to the visual stimulus that possible attracted us to the scene in the first place. Our being, our human nature revolves around the herd instincts. Social media loves to corral us into the pen of ego.
In meaningful photography the image creator is looking out from himself toward his subject of interest and not the reverse. Looking at himself( poser rock) in the environment to be exploited for likes on a media site.
Our moments in time are now realized through snap shot of our lives. Life now it seems is to close your eyes to first hand experiences. We live our time through second had jpegs held on a small screen for milliseconds. We are closing our eyes to living in our world. We are creating a chimera of our world, a show that supports our growing egos.
We have replaced first hand experience with a buffer between us and the real world. This buffer (the snap shot selfie) allows us a feeling of control and also gives us something to do when we feel awkward in a social situation. It is a prop we exploit to build an ego of celebrity. After all just like chimps we love to imitate.
Photography's common language is memory. We use photographs now to remember second hand our life experiences. Experiencing something first hand, being in the moment of passing time, has been replaced with stopping the flow of time to get out your phone or camera and then taking snap shots of the experience, a picture of the experience becomes your manifested life. However, the true experience was cut short so you could interrupt the flow of time and take a few pics of the moments that now represent your forced experience. But the image is a memory of a fragmented time line and doesn't represent the total scene.
You are the only one that needs to be tuned in to your relationship with your environment and to be able to catch the full force of living through experiences. Not stopping your flow of time for trivial moments of selfish neurotic narcissistic behavior.
These pockets of moments make up your life history. These seconds in time are not worth much when broken up into a picture outline of your life. Separating your moments of life through photography reduces your life to a fragmented series of dislocated events that add up to a random and homogenized snap shot of your world. Life is continuous motion and change. In order to experience it fully we must be aware of times limits and gifts.
Frederick Jameson, " We are in the 3rd phase now in multinational consumer capitalism. With emphasis placed on marketing, selling and consuming commodities not on producing them."
These new technologies make it easier than ever to exploit the masses for selling products. The use of social media is not real and should not be considered authentic. It is a means to sell products and ourselves (as commodities) in the corporate media market place.
We never fully grasp the inherent dislocation of self through image taking. These seconds recorded are spirits that have been preserved for an analytical review. Never to be touched or comforted on a personal level.
But now we are inundated with so much personal fragments of people's moments in their time line that it can be depressing thinking about all the minds vying for attention. All the meandering away from living your lives and not broadcasting it for the masses. The only thing in mind that social media does for you is get you a direct Ad from corporate media to buy their products.
Friday, August 14, 2015
August 14, 2015
Pressure of time. To little when your are intrigued by your subject and fully involved in creating a meaningful photograph. To much time on your hands when you are bored with your subject and you want to move on but something is there that you are not getting. Why this scene, what has it got that I need to make an image of, I feel compelled to stand and search the details that are trying to form that will be an image made not taken. Sometimes you can, other times you can't find the stimulus that forges you ahead to see the subject clearly. That Aha! moment when the details gestalt and what was invisible to your senses now is manifested.
We are afraid of losing time. We don't have much left as we get older and contemplate our moments rushing past in our own time line. Loss of time means we can't do all we want therefore we rush through our life making half hearted attempts at success and then settle for the little gifts of pleasure created to sooth the savage beast in all of us.
Photography shouldn't be easy. It shouldn't be quick. John Ashbury said, "a poem is a hymn to possibilities." So is photography.
We search for experiences that fulfill our inner needs. But how do we really know what are inner needs are. Those inner needs we succumb to might just be desires dominating our personality in the present moment but soon will be replaced with something else that gives us pleasure. Trained through our lives to accept things as they are we lose our energy for uniqueness.
Photography can be fickle. There is so many details in the world, that it is hard to focus on your subject through your inner landscape. Without reflecting on who you are and what you are trying to attain through your images then you will be adding to the tsunami of redundant imitations of lives frozen with their own ego of importance. If everything is important to take a pic of then everything is reduced to a level of neutral grey. We must have in our lives images that mean more than a social media post. We need images with substance and power that forces the viewer to look deeper at the subject present and think about the artist's purpose.
To change direction in your photography is always hard. To go from clicking the shutter at anything that moves is the beginners quest for meaning in his image creation. When you begin to try new techniques, when you begin to feel a connection with new subjects that you seem to be drawn to then you are becoming a photographer and not a snapper.
You will find as you explore more of your relationships with the external world more subjects will become visible that intrigue you.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
July 26, 2015
Authenticity is letting go of time just being in the moment without effort. You don't need to pick up your cell phone camera to take a picture of something that is happening spontaneously. Once you interrupt the flow of time to capture a moment in time then you have altered its authenticity. You have imposed your will to capture not the whole scene but a portion of the scene. This manipulates the scene through your viewpoint and might not capture the true moment that was present.
What we have now in photography are passing moments of interest. These images represent little moments of stimulus, whether the pictures are of beauty, violence, anger, happiness etc... These moments captured make us feel alive. They represent our lives in this hectic fast paced extreme sport called living. They are our moments of still silence on a two dimensional plane. We now live through our photographic experiences.
These moments posted represent our overwhelming pressure to be seen by others. They are an outlet for our lives to say, I did this and this is who I think I am. Photographs give an illusion of life manifested. But this is not a true life lived. They are our promises kept, secret but now easily exposed. They are ourselves reflected in others eyes. The power of photography is that it claims to be authentic because I have a picture of it, therefore it is real. But having a picture of something that has already happened doesn't make the content of that snap shot authentic. Yes, the people are there and they are smiling for the camera because they have been trained since childhood to know the correct response when a camera rises to someones eye. Just like models in ads.
We learn quickly not to show our true emotions when interacting with others. Put the facade on your face and say with a smile as you wish. Another words a shallow existence.
We all feel the collective force on our behavior. We are taught through our early lives the right from wrong, good and bad behavior, moral and ethical responsibilities. This learning process was the responsibility of our parents, our family. Without the family none of us would be citizens of our communities. If we don't have a base of common sense and altruism then we would be accepting of behaviors that are damaging ourselves and our society as a whole.
But now we are allowing an outside force, the social media collective, to be our our moral compass.
We are being bread to consume. We are being manipulated to believe social media allows us freedom of expression but all it allows is a mechanical mimicry which interferes with living a deeper personal life.
Business are exploiting these sites that have been created, by gather personal information and using this personal info gathered to sell stuff back to those consumers sharing their lives openly. What a gold mind of information given away without a dime spent on paying for the content.
Instagram claims "that 63% use it to document their lives, making photographs no longer a part time hobby rather an important function of their daily routine, like eating and sleeping. They don't take images to pursue a passion but rather as an integral part of every day life."
But they will not be photographers but followers. Herded by social media into thinking they are experiencing a life when in fact they are living a life through other peoples imagery, (and of course some of these authentic images will just by chance have the latest and greatest trends in fashion, imagine the coincidence), hoping to connect with a real live person but actually connecting with a screen with pics and limited words that express an impression and not a life. A vaporous experience of fleeting moments, time ripped from its moorings to be presented on a social site as real and to be exploited by corporations.
Susan Sontag, "There is a rancorous suspicion in America of whatever seems literary, not to mention a growing reluctance on the part of young people to read anything, even subtitles in foreign movies and copy on a record sleeve, which partly accounts for the new appetite for books of few words and many photographs." Also she wrote," Photography expresses the American impatience with reality, the taste for activities whose instrumentality is a machine."
Words take time to understand, images have almost instant recognition. And instant gratification. Pictures are easier to make quick judgements on with no need for long analysis. Words can fool you with misinterpretation. Words can be used to manipulate you into believing in the opposite of what is good for you. Words are symbols and sentences are concrete lanes to deception. But mostly words take time and effort to understand. You have to do your research and analysis in order to get to the root truth of words.
People would like to believe pics are real but they are not real. We are a scattered brain society that jumps from image to image, from tweet to tweet as if this documents our reality. Yes, the youth are more in tune to the visual. They have grown up with camera phones. But these new ways to communicate only give the user a surface representation of the world they live in, a surface reality intended to keep the young eyes following the bouncing ball of consumerism.
People want to live forever. They have posited religion as a means for eternal life but god is subjective and others don't see my god and I don't seek theirs. Photography manifests our lives and gives us the ability to pass our lives through pictures into a future without us having to be present. Photography is now the new religion. In this reality we seek immorality through pictures of our lives for generations to come, to view us and think of us after we have past. Which is appropriate since snap shots only capture a past moment not lived.
We are being duped and pulled from our lives by the drug of social media. Photography is more than a click of a shutter without feeling. Good photography comes to those who search and experience their subjects through feeling of connection. Taking images with purpose slows down your need to take a scatter gunned approach to shooting anything that moves.