Killing Joke…or Sonny Boy Williamson?

In 1916 Ferdinand De Saussure first postulated the existence of a general science of signs, or semiology. In viewing language as a social phenomenon, he considered it as a structured system that may be viewed both synchronically and diachronically . In his own work he focussed on the synchronic relations, (the structure created by like and differing signs, or signifiers). This idea was further developed by Roland Barthes in 1964, in Elements Of Semiology.Nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted as a sign’, declares C.S. Pierce. Anything can be a sign as long as someone interprets it as ‘signifying’ something – referring to or standing for something other than itself.

In his work, the Rhetoric Of The Image, Barthes considers an image of pasta used in an advertising campaign. He posits three orders of meaning in this image:

:a linguistic message
:a coded iconic message
:a non-coded iconic message

In ‘reading’ the image, consideration of these three discontinuous meanings is required. It is the interplay of these three message-types (signifying orders) which conveys the intention behind the image.

Killing Joke... John Callaway [2016]

Killing Joke… John Callaway [2016]

Came across the above the other day, and thought that the cross and the graffiti ‘Killing Joke’ made for an interesting juxtaposition, and (maybe) was illustrative of what Barthes was referring to. It was taken with an i-phone at Titchfield Abbey in Hampshire.

Whatever…like Sonny Boy Williamson sang…

“Don’t start me talkin’
I’ll tell everything I know
I’m gonna break up this signifyin’
’cause somebody’s got to go…”

 

 

 

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Exercise 1.3 : Review & Observations

In the photographs of the jetty used in 1.3 (1) , (below) there is a clear line for the viewer to follow which naturally leads them out of the frame. The choice of the jetty was an attempt (of sorts) to provide a metaphor. In the same way as the jetty directs the viewers eye along its structure, so too does the jetty itself mirror the journey from land out to sea.

The use of the lines informed by the architecture of the forts in 1.3 (2) below seeks to give the sense that the picture is only part of a much bigger whole.  Although I clearly had choice over what was contained within each of the photographs , the jetty images were dependent upon me ensuring that the entire seaward end of the structure remained in view. With the brickwork I was able to select aspects of the wall which could form a complete image in their own right, without needing to show the entirety of the fort.

Cropping vs framing:

Framing is the act of using the parameters of the lens as an indicator of what will appear in the final image. Naturally there are still creative choices to be made by the photographer as they compose the image.

Cropping is the act of removing elements of the photograph which detract from the overall image, in order to strengthen the final image. (The creative choice still rests with the photographer, as final arbiter of the editing process).

Kite. Ijmuiden aan Zee , NL. John Callaway [2016]

Kite. Ijmuiden aan Zee , NL. John Callaway [2016]

Beached... John Callaway [2016]

Beached… John Callaway [2016]

As an illustration, the two images above are cropped versions of the original photographs (below) taken in response to the brief for 1.3(1). I think that the image of the beach huts is much stronger in the cropped version, although I think the kite flyer on the beach image works equally as well both cropped and un-cropped because of the  windblown sand in the foreground.

 

 

 

Exercise 1.3 (2) Line

“Take a number of shots using lines to flatten the pictorial space. To avoid the effects of perspective, the sensor/film plane should be parallel to the subject and you may like to try a high viewpoint (i.e. looking down). Modern architecture offers strong lines and dynamic diagonals, and zooming in can help to create simpler, more abstract compositions.”

Early evening walk around a couple of the Palmerston Forts built during the Victorian period on the recommendations of the 1860 Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom.

The works were also known as Palmerston’s Follies, partly because the first ones, around Portsmouth, had their main armament facing inland to protect Portsmouth from a land-based attack, which gave the impression that they faced the wrong way to defend from a French attack. Also because they were considered of questionable military value. The images above are from the inward facing walls of Forts Widley and Fort Purbrook.

I like the  abstract quality of the brickwork and slowly decaying windows and iron work and thought it would be a good source of a flattened image because of the large expanse of brickwork.

Wasn’t expecting the dog, but quite liked its juxtaposition with the CCTV camera!