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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Old 02-24-2014   #121
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I thought he was an Anarchist!
I am a little disappointed.
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Old 02-24-2014   #122
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worst thread ever.
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Old 02-24-2014   #123
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worst thread ever.
Hi,

But very surreal, don't you agree. OK, not everyone's cup of tea...

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Old 02-24-2014   #124
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worst thread ever.
How can you say that? There are more bakery products than a branch of Greggs!
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Old 02-24-2014   #125
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I think that there is a whole new genre there: socialist bakery, decisive moment photography. Perhaps the Leica marketing people should investigate this?
Of all the half-baked ideas, this one takes the biscuit.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the thread is the way some people have thrown a wobbly when they saw the word "communist".

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-24-2014   #126
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Personally I find both communism and capitalism surreal!
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Old 02-24-2014   #127
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Gosh Tom, I find anarchy is surreal as well. Just look at places in the world people are trying to change things but (have/need) to get destructive to get the message across.
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Old 02-24-2014   #128
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His political beliefs are moot. Unless one of his photos contains an explicit statement of politicality, then the people that worry about these things are only quibbling over visual implication. Moreover, worrying about Cartier-Bresson's intentions (for the meaning of his photos) is plainly an intentional fallacy.

Little definition for that last phrase right here:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/...tional-fallacy
The "intentional fallacy" is certainly well-motivated; but it's far from clear that it doesn't require modifications of a sort that go against the nature of its pure, unadulterated version. It seems right to say that a work should be judged outside the intentions of the artist; it should work or fail on its own merit. But, curiously, the intentional "fallacy" doesn't seem to be much of a fallacy, formally speaking. (At least the formulation I am aware of.) It's a methodological precept, the admission or rejection of which is optional upon various considerations, rather than born in grave logical sin. Also, there are cases where it seems to be just false. Sometimes we evaluate aesthetically work precisely in ways that enmesh it with the life of the author. The intentional fallacy says that that is wrong, yet our appreciation of the work would seem to be seriously diminished without those aspects. Examples could be Van Gogh's last paintings, or, to give a photographic example, Fukase's 'Solitude of the Ravens'. Come to think of it, photography is a rather recalcitrant domain to be tackled by the intentional fallacy because it carries with it (or at least some strands of it do) a kind of autobiographical burden which other art forms are not saddled with. That's not to say red flags shouldn't go up when artistic intentions are inappropriately mentioned. But some maintentance/moderation work is probably needed if one wants to bring interpretations more in line with our intuitions and everyday aesthetic experience.

As an aside, this thread is totally surreal, what with posts going equally off the tangent. (This post being no exception.) Comrade Henri would be so proud. And, yes, I prefer scones over croissants. Mine with clotted cream and strawberry jam, please.

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Old 02-25-2014   #129
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I give you Anton Giulio Bragaglia.
enough said
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Old 02-25-2014   #130
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Of all the half-baked ideas, this one takes the biscuit.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the thread is the way some people have thrown a wobbly when they saw the word "communist".

Cheers,

R.
Hi,

I think most people confuse Stalinism with communism. These forums, f'instance, are pure communism in that knowledge is freely distributed according to needs. And this thread is surreal which a few people don't like (or, perhaps, don't get) in its linear text form.

Sometimes I think people define surreal as weird, but there you are; which is Stoicism - I hope you liked that example of Stoic ataraxia.

Regards, David

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Old 02-25-2014   #131
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Of all the half-baked ideas, this one takes the biscuit.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the thread is the way some people have thrown a wobbly when they saw the word "communist".

Cheers,

R.
Quite. I think some people mistake hole for doughnut.
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Old 02-25-2014   #132
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David Hughes - so good they named him twice!
No, it's all the croissants on this thread plus the ones I had for breakfast; as mother said, too many and they'll repeat on you...

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Old 02-25-2014   #133
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Politically speaking, Surrealism was ultra-leftist, communist, or anarchist. To quote from the wikipedia entry:

The group aimed to revolutionize human experience, in its personal, cultural, social, and political aspects. They wanted to free people from false rationality, and restrictive customs and structures. Breton proclaimed that the true aim of Surrealism was "long live the social revolution, and it alone!" To this goal, at various times Surrealists aligned with communism and anarchism.

It seems that surrealism, and its disciples like Cartier Bresson were always aligned with the values of the left.
Hmmm... Not sure. Yes, surrealism often does reject pomposity and formality, and these are perhaps more often associated with the right than with the left.

But pretty much by definition there are even more flavours of anarchy than of communism: one of my favourite cartoon shows an anarchists' meeting, with the man at the head of the table banging his gavel and saying "Gentlemen! Disorder, please!"

My suspicion is that the Wikipedia entry was by someone who didn't quite understand any of what he thought he was talking about: not surrealism, nor communism, nor anarchy, nor social revolution. Of course, such ignorance is hardly imaginable on Wikipedia.

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R.
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Old 02-25-2014   #134
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If you want to know about surrealism, read the Surrealist Manifesto and Nadja, by André Breton. Then read why Brassai and Picasso, who were close friends of many surrealists, never affiliated themselves with the group.

I recall being struck by lightning at the Cartier-Bresson show at MOMA a couple years ago. Suddenly I realized that most of the photographs looked the same, taken from the same height, same angle, same point-of-view. I mentioned it to the stranger standing next to me and he looked at me as if I had just been cast, simultaneously, into and out of Hell.
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Old 02-25-2014   #135
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If you want to know about surrealism, read the Surrealist Manifesto and Nadja, by André Breton. Then read why Brassai and Picasso, who were close friends of many surrealists, never affiliated themselves with the group.

I recall being struck by lightning at the Cartier-Bresson show at MOMA a couple years ago. Suddenly I realized that most of the photographs looked the same, taken from the same height, same angle, same point-of-view. I mentioned it to the stranger standing next to me and he looked at me as if I had just been cast, simultaneously, into and out of Hell.
But as with all religious texts, it is hard to take the Surrealist Manifesto literally. For that matter, to do so would be unfaithful to the precepts of surrealism.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-25-2014   #136
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... I thought it was the Futurists that swung to the right ... perhaps we should have a Surrealism vs Futurism thread and argue it out eh?
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Old 02-25-2014   #137
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No, it's all the croissants on this thread plus the ones I had for breakfast; as mother said, too many and they'll repeat on you...
You'll be up all night, clapping hands!

(Now that's surreal)
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Old 02-25-2014   #138
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Well, as they always say, if you think the Wikipedia entry is wrong, fix it; I just don't envy you or anyone else who tries to do so.

I spent a bit of effort on the Surrealists at one time and found out that, for every pair of writers on the subject, there were an indeterminately large number of descriptions. At the end of the day, I think that the best definition of Surrealism I've come accross, or at least, the only vaguely understandable one, is Philippe Halsman's photo of Salvadore Dali
Quite. As for Wikipedia, well, why would I bother to try to fix it? If you know anything at all about a subject, you can usually gauge the reliability of the entry in seconds. If you don't already have some basic knowledge, stay well clear of it.

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R.
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Old 02-25-2014   #139
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Well that suspicion would seem to be unfounded. Good article on Politics of Surrealism and its relationship with the left here :

https://libcom.org/history/1919-1950...-of-surrealism
The link was off line, unfortunately. But as Sejanus.Aelianus says, there is not widespread agreement.

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Old 02-25-2014   #140
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Quite. As for Wikipedia, well, why would I bother to try to fix it? If you know anything at all about a subject, you can usually gauge the reliability of the entry in seconds. If you don't already have some basic knowledge, stay well clear of it.

Cheers,

R.

That would also be my experience with newspaper reporting. We once did a comparison of the way a single story was written up, even the weather at the time was reported varying from fine and dry but cold to pouring with rain. We were there, it drizzled, which I suppose makes poor copy
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Old 02-26-2014   #141
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The link was off line, unfortunately. But as Sejanus.Aelianus says, there is not widespread agreement.

Cheers,

R.
I thought that was part of it...

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Old 02-26-2014   #142
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Try as I may I cannot see a link between a photograph and politics. Taking a picture of our dear leader does not mean I went to Eton, etc, etc.

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Old 02-26-2014   #143
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Sorry, but link is definitely online. The relationship between the surrealists and communists/anarchists is a well supported; if you do any reading on the subject you will soon see.
No, it was off line when I tried. It said "try again later". This happens sometimes on the internet.

And, it may surprise you, I have "done some reading" on the subject. I can see how you might mistake what I wrote, though. I do not deny that there was a lot of overlap between surrealism and communism. I merely meant that there is considerable disagreement about how much, and the extent to which the overlap is actually inherent.

Conflating "communists/anarchists" does not increase my confidence in your arguments.

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Old 02-26-2014   #144
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Oh dear. It's hard not to put politics into a photograph. Whether we read that correctly or not is another matter.
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Old 02-26-2014   #145
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Whatever Wikipedia says Bob Holness did play saxophone on Baker St ... and was the first Bond, James Bond :nods-head-looking-sincere-face:
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Old 02-26-2014   #146
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Hi,

Thinking about it you can't bring politics into photography because the camera cannot lie...

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Old 02-26-2014   #147
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Oh. I didn't know that Bucks Fizz were surrealists, but, given what they say about The Land Of Make Believe, I may need to reassess.
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Old 02-27-2014   #148
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Cameras might not lie but photographs do.
"What the photographer taking the picture and the historian viewing it must understand is that while the camera deals with recording factual things and events that form the subject of the photograph, it only produces a perceived reality that is remembered after the thing or event has passed. While people believe that photographs do not lie, this is an illusion caused by the mistaken belief that the subject and the picture of the subject is the same thing." -John Szarkowski

"Because we see reality in different ways, we must understand that we are looking at different truths rather than the truth and that, therefore, all photographs lie in one way or another. Today's technological advances in digital manipulation of images that the public sees regularly in photographs and films now only makes it easier to understand what has always been true". John Szarkowski

"All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth." - Richard Avedon

"The minute you relate this thing (a photograph) to what was photographed it's a lie. It's two dimensional, it's an illusion of a literal description." -Garry Winogrand
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Old 02-27-2014   #149
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Where did Szarkowski stand on patisserie products?

Hold on - that would be messy.
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Old 02-28-2014   #150
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Interesting that we've no digressed into the usual half full or half empty mode only as half true and half lies.

Remember the half truth is like the half brick it goes further and can be aimed more accurately.

Of course, surrealists never do anything by halves...

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Old 02-28-2014   #151
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Half a loaf is better than none.

Especially pain de campagne
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Old 02-28-2014   #152
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Interesting that we've no digressed into the usual half full or half empty mode only as half true and half lies.

Remember the half truth is like the half brick it goes further and can be aimed more accurately.

Of course, surrealists never do anything by halves...

Regards, David


... by Vladimir Kush
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Old 02-28-2014   #153
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. . . Remember the half truth is like the half brick it goes further and can be aimed more accurately. . .
Dear David,

I'd never heard that before. Brilliant! Thanks.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-28-2014   #154
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Bourgeois patisserie. Not a croissant in sight.


P2283540 by TJ Clarion, on Flickr
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Old 02-28-2014   #155
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Bourgeois patisserie. Not a croissant in sight.
P2283540 by TJ Clarion, on Flickr
... is that really a patisserie? ... I don't think so, it looks like a confectioners to me
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Old 02-28-2014   #156
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http://www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk/
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Old 03-01-2014   #157
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The Sean O'Hagan piece makes a bit more sense if you take into account the fact that the Cartier-Bresson retrospective runs parallel to "Surrealism and the Object", another exhibition in Centre Pompidou. That exhibition highlights a rift in surrealism between an earlier, somewhat apolitical period and a later one, where surrealists tried to get in line with the communist aesthetic prerogatives, which up to that point were incompatible with their own. For all that, I agree with Roger, the relation between surrealism and communism is tenuous. (It was possible to be a surrealist and yet not be a communist after all.) But that's just commenting from our point of view: it's debatable whether any of this mattered to the surrealists at all, as they were often inviting inconsistencies and self-serving controversies.

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Old 03-01-2014   #158
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ζαχαροπλαστείο


page 49 par Sparrow ... Stewart Mcbride, on ipernity

... all Greek to me eh?
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Old 03-01-2014   #159
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It depends where you look, what period and country.

The relationship and alignment between the surrealists (led by Andre Breton) and the communists/anarchists is a historical fact. Yes, it did not last forever but they were aligned for a period in history none the less.
It's not the historical facts that are contended (let's say we all agree to what is publicly available to us), rather the alleged necessary connection between surrealism and communism. (If such an allegation is indeed made?) Compare that with particular strands of psychoanalytic theory. Take these away from surrealism and what is it that you are left with? Arguably, nothing.

But yes, a lot depends on period, milieu, even national context. Surrealism came in many flavours, shapes and forms.

As for the curatorial position on Cartier-Bresson, forgive me, but I don't see it as particularly enlightening in a new way. It's common knowledge that Cartier-Bresson transitioned to a more intensely politically informed photography in his later phase. As is true that he never quite relinquished his earlier aesthetic allegiances. So, on my view, there is an underlying unity in his work that is not really incompatible, either to the possibility of his evolution, or his expanding range.

Don't take me wrong though. I also welcome the opportunity for a (massive) retrospective.

PS. Stewart, you are killing me, and I am on diet you know.
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Old 03-01-2014   #160
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Hmmm, so when the USSR's copy of the Leica II, meaning the FED 1, was commissioned by Stalin was that surrealism or communism or a fusion?

I wonder what HCB thought of the FED; surely he would have used one...

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