Project 2 Photography as information

szr-at-night

From the coursework

Photographers… are in pursuit of possibilities that are still unexplored in the camera’s programme, in pursuit of informative, improbable images that have not been seen before

(Flusser,2000.p37)

For me this quote is referring to perspective and the forever search to show something different that hasn’t been seen yet.

The quotation above refers to photography as ‘information’, which is an important term in media theory. Light is the carrier of information which is collected by the camera, then stored and transmitted in order to communicate something. A well-exposed photograph would generally seem to contain more, or better quality, information than an under- or – over-exposed image. But then what kind of information is included in the photograph on the front cover of Rinko Kawauchi’s book Illuminance, shortlisted for the Deutsch Borse Prize in 2012?

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/dec/07/deutsche-borse-prize-photography-2012

[accessed 10/11/2016]

I found a few other websites which show more images from the book Illuminaunce and refer to Rino Kawauchi.

http://www.rinkokawauchi.com/main/Illuminance_eg.html [accessed 12/11/2016]

http://aperture.org/shop/illuminance-rinko-kawauchi/ [accessed 12/11/2016]

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-8-female-photographers-you-should-know-at-unseen-Amsterdam [12/11/2016]

http://davidcampany.com/rinko-kawauchi/ [accessed 12/11/2016]

I looked through some of Rino Kawauchi’s images .  To be honest I thought the image that was shortlisted for the Deutsch Borse Prize was too simple I get the concept but there where better images to use and the image below is my favourite one. This is such a beautiful capture, the light is radiant . I might have to get this book so I can just sit and look at this picture when I need to remind myself of a simple existence. I like the lines of light and the softness of the image. The blur suggests movement and the legs look like children’s legs which for me adds innocence and reminders of the past. The green is subtle and reminds me of clean, clear seawater.

image by Rino Kawauchi
Image by Rino Kawauchi

more course work notes

The word ‘Photography’ means ‘light writing’. In Towards a Philosophy of Photography (2000, chapter1 p8ff). Vilem Flusser makes an interesting distinction between photography and writing as information systems. He points out that when you read a sentence you read from the beginning to the end in a linear way; you don’t repeatedly return to different words in the sentence and read them again. But when you look at a photograph your eye returns to a certain elements again and again, almost as if to re-experience them. Perhaps there is a kind of ‘eternal return’ within an image, a magical aspect that doesn’t function within the normal flow of time. Time is repeated,  looped, closed in a circle . Maybe this is why if you live with a photograph you love on the wall you never get bored of it.

Research links

http://cmuems.com/excap/readings/flusser-towards-a-philosophy-of-photography.pdf

 

I printed off the PDF, read it and have made notes in my written log.

John Berger discussed a similar idea- seeing the whole of the image in a single glance- within the context of painting:

In a painting all its elements are there to be seen simultaneously. The spectator may need time to examine each element of the painting but whenever he reaches a conclusion the whole painting is there to qualify or reverse his conclusion.

(Berger 1972,p26)

I found this episode on You tube. This is the first of four. I recommend watching them.

Walter Benjamin expressed a similar idea in his essay ‘The Storyteller’:

The value of information does not survive the moment in which it was new. It lives only at that moment; it has to surrender to it completely and explain itself to it without losing any time. a story is different. It does not expend itself. It preserves and concentrates its strength and is capable of releasing it even after a long time.

(Benjamin, [1936] 1999,pp89-90)

So a photograph even a digital one is more than just information- it can contain a story. And the photographer is more than just a recorder of information- she’s a storyteller.

of course pictures tell stories but only the good ones are interesting stories.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/01/walter-benjamin-the-storyteller-review-fiction [accessed 13/11/2016]

https://modernism.research.yale.edu/wiki/index.php/The_Storyteller  [accessed 13/11/2016]

I read the interpretation by the Yale student and it was interesting, it made sense and helped me understand where the idea behind the quote in the coursework was coming from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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