Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shelby Lee Adams "The True Meaning of Pictures" Reflective Essay

"They accept me because I accept them." -Adams
I chose to start out with this quote because throughout the whole movie everyone criticizes Adams for the Appalachians he photographed, saying he was making fun of them. I think that, especially with these photos, people need a story to go with them. Not only the story of the people themselves, but also the story of Adams and his process in making the photos, and also his background too. Adams grew up in a similar way, so he has a totally different approach than most people do when looking at the photos. He wasn't just photographing the people, he was also photographing himself in a way.

I believe that a story is most necessary because one, like they said in the movie, we keep believing that the photograph gives us the thing itself, and I find that to be especially true for people who have not had the education that photographers or artists have. One photographer in the movie said, 'these photos call for a very sophisticated reading because they are very sophisticated photos done by a professional. One should have visual education before looking and judging the photos.' I totally agree with him, in relation to these specific group of photos because an uneducated persons views on the photo are so different. Artists/photographers look at more than just the dirt and grime of a photo, we look at the composition of an image and the light. Adams said in the photo of the little girl leaning through the screen door, that he wanted to capture and take advantage of the exciting lighting event occurring at that moment. He wasn't trying to make fun of her or the man in the image at all. Sometimes it might be more appropriate to have knkowledge of the intent of the photographer and what the photographer wants the viewer to look at or think about.

Some questions I have learned to ask myself when photographing in New Orleans are, are the photos subjective or objective? Are we not supposed to photograph someone or something because it has been portrayed in a different or stereotypical way before? What are you showing, how are you showing it, and it is set up or is it real?

Like the hog killing photo, that was set up. We as photographers must think about these things because the photos we make can be misinterpreted because Adams bought the pig and set up the shot. That photo is how everything appeared but it was not an everyday occurrence. 

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