THIS HAS BEEN CHANGED TO A MEET UP. WE WILL MEET AT THE SOUTH BUILDING, DOSS PARK AT 7PM ON FEBRUARY 12TH!
This is not a meet up. It is posted with a date because that is required. I am simply inquiring if there is enough interest in a group designed to discuss reading photographs.
Since August 2011, I have been writing a monthly book review for FOCUS, the club newsletter. Those reviews have more or less centered on the idea of reading photographs. I have included excerpts from the books along with frequent personal opinions. Most of the 2012 reviews are on David duChemin’s Photographically Speaking. But the last two months were on George Barr’s Taking Your Photography to the Next Level. The November review is specifically On Reading a Photograph, which I would propose as a beginning outline for the discussions.
I am curious if there is, within the club, enough interest to form a discussion group for learning to read photographs or at least to discuss photographs from that perspective. If there is I would consider starting a limited membership meet up expressly for that purpose. This would not be to teach the how-to of photography but to understand what a photograph can be and how to talk about photographs beyond technique, something more than “I like it” or “I hate it.” The book reviews from this last year will be used as a guide.
“Throughout most of the history of photography there seems to have been two main camps; one that exploits the medium’s verisimilitude (the largest camp), and another that believes a photograph can transcend the information it contains. One is no better than the other—both need the technical ability to produce the picture wanted, and both introduce other difficulties—they are just motivated by different attitudes and approaches. The more you find out about photography, the more you realize that the photographer has to grapple with philosophical, ethical and moral questions, as well as with technical problems.” –Paul Hill, Approaching Photography
Basically this will be a group for the second camp, those that believes a photograph can transcend the information it contains. It will require seeing a photograph as a photograph and not as the subject matter of the photograph. Out of full disclosure I have to mention that when reading photographs you are actually talking about yourself. That is not easy for many people; which is why photographs are almost always talked about as technique. Technique will be discussed as a method of communication, not as a goal to be attained. This will not be a group that everyone will be comfortable with. It is also likely to go into places that are seldom discussed in relation to photographs.
Anyway, check out the November Focus (click above on MORE and select FILES) book review On Reading a Photograph to determine if this is something that you would be interested in doing. If there is enough interest, I have some ideas on how to structure the group but for now the discussion is whether or not so start a discussion. Let me know what you think.