Thursday, March 15, 2007

What's wrong with this picture?

I’m curious to see if anyone else is bothered by this ad or if it’s just me.


Need a hint? I’ve written about photography (and blogging) before. It’s an old post (my 2nd post ever!) so if you feel like checking it out, watch out for dust. And sentence fragments.

13 comments:

Radioactive Jam said...

Nice to see you've polished those fragments since post #2.

And while I think I see what's "wrong" with respect to your earlier post, I don't believe I'd have noticed. Which isn't to say I disagree; I don't. Disagree. Unfortunately I've lost myself - and my point - in that last series of nested negations, so - yeah.

An Ordinary Mom said...

At least I now have an intelligent excuse for why I don't take so many pictures :)?!?

I try to find a good balance in documenting life. I like to experience things with my friends and family, but if I want to pull out the camera for a few shots, I click and then put it away ... although I think it is more out of laziness from not wanting to hold the camera than always wanting to enjoy every moment!

bubandpie said...

Okay - let me take a stab at this one. In the excerpt you quoted, Sontag suggests that snapping a photo can be a substitute for real engagement - in this case, the pose, the photo-op, seems to function as a substitute for awe.

I have felt that at Niagara Falls: I've tried to imagine what it would be like to step out of the trees and see that thundering waterfall in its natural state - and I can never quite do it. Instead, the photo becomes a kind of status symbol: evidence that you were there, that you could afford to make the trip to see something famous.

I've also been thinking about the distinction Sontag draws between photography as art vs. photography as social rite. The hallmark of the non-art photo is the stiff pose - the clicheed artificiality of it. Art photography makes, in some ways, a greater pretense of naturalness - it disguises its own artfulness, appears to capture the thing-in-itself. Does that mean that art is, somehow, less honest than a grinning family posing together at a tourist attraction?

The same dilemma seems to apply to blogging. If blogging is, or aspires to be, art, does that rob it of authenticity? Blogging feels raw and uncensored, especially in comparison to the overdetermined presentations of motherhood we may be used to from parenting magazines - is that a carefully sustained illusion? Can blogging be art AND social rite?

allysha said...

This isn't what you're looking for, but from what I can tell, I don't think the picture in the viewfinder is the same picture we're seeing in the add...

Em said...

Well, my instinctive response is to say that they're not even looking at the geyser (is that what it is?!)

I like your second ever post (it is pretty fantastic for a second post). I've often had similar thoughts - esp. when riding on a bus through London and seeing janpanese tourists filming the entire trip... seeing everything through the view finder and nothing with fresh eyes.

Jenni said...

Haha!! Those nice folks look like they're really enjoying that amazing display of the force of nature. Behind them.

Sandra Tayler said...

Whats wrong? well, not only are they reducing a natural miracle into a backdrop for cheesy smiles, but they managed to take a picture with the camera actually IN it. Wierd.

Klutzmom said...

(An eruption can shoot 3,700–8,400 gallons (14,000–32,000 l) of boiling water to a height of 106–184 feet (30–55 m) lasting from 1.5–5 minutes. The intervals range from 65–92 minutes with 91 minutes being the average)
If this is "Old Faithful" why did they wait for this fantastic show and then turn their backs on it. Oh well, the whole thing is probably super-imposed: the mom, the kids the camera and the view finder. Now I have to go find my pictures of Old Faithful to see if anyone was looking at it.

The Daring One said...

I have such a big issue about this. How do we document and preserve our memories without turning our backs on them while they happen? I struggle with this all the time and it was a big subject of angst-filled essays when I majored in documentary film.

Julie P said...

My answer was going to be the same as allyshas, but my oh my the rest of the comments have given me food for thought!

eve said...

There's a son by John Mayer, it's called 3x5 talking about this photography issue. I actually was a photography major...but that doesn't mean I go around hiding behind my lense! I promise!

Kate said...

I take an unreasonable amount of photos, but I try to remember to take the mundane ones, too. The unattractive ones. The tantrums, the glares, the goofy faces, the traffic lights in between myself and my target, the noise. My memory is not independently good enough for me to want to travel without a camera, but my sense of reality doesn't allow me to only take pretty, planned, posed pictures.

And other times I force my husband to hold the camera for a while.

Anonymous said...

I thought they were in front of a desert nuclear test.