Doubt (4)

While reading and thinking about photography questions come up. Questions I don’t have answers to yet. For now theorizing on photography equals doubt to me. The thoughts are random and incoherent.

Do All photographs need to be interpreted? Doesn’t it depend on the goal of the artist? Maybe if interpretation is needed the message isn’t clear enough?

Barbara Kruger. Seen more of her work (unfortunately only printed in books and on internet). She inspires me each time, in her work, her comments, the interpretations, clarity vs vagueness, the context. Have to do something with that. A project?

As much as she inspires me, what has her art work to do with photography?

Sometimes image is used as synonym for photo. For me there is a big difference.


Exercise 1.2

Below pictures are of white papers. As I turned the camera on auto and didn’t correct, the papers turn out mid-gray. The only obvious place I can think of would be precisely in the center. The point is easy to see: unobstructed, the background is plain, the point is dark and the background light. The point is always in relation to frame (and background). Which is logic. A position has to be measured from a constant. The further away from the frame, the less obvious the relation becomes.

The way my eyes scan the surface

Reflection 161127

Activities done

day 15. 21 November 2016

  • Post reflection wk2
  • Read politics of design p10-41
  • Research Post review Brassaï
  • Read Classic essays on photography edited by Alan Trachtenberg p237-244

day 16. 22 November 2016

  • Post review Brassaï
  • Contact Tutor
  • Read Classic essays on photography edited by Alan Trachtenberg p245-259

day 17. 23 November 2016

  • Research magnum controversies
  • Read Classic essays on photography edited by Alan Trachtenberg p260-269
  • Re-read Criticizing photographs by Terry Barrett p43-46

day 18. 24 November 2016

  • Post doubt (3)
  • Re-read Criticizing photographs by Terry Barrett p46-66

day 19. 25 November 2016

  • Re-read Criticizing photographs by Terry Barrett p67-

day 20. 26 November 2016

  • Photos exercise 1.1 & 1.2
  • Re-read ad Criticizing photographs by Terry Barrett
  • Watched De Kwis, a Dutch satirical programma in the form of a kwis.

day 21. 27 November 2016

  • Finalization assignement 1
  • Prepare exercise 1.1 & 1.2
  • Finalize exercise 1.1 on learning blog
  • Read Classic essays on photography edited by Alan Trachtenberg p269-294

Read Classic essays on photography edited by Alan Trachtenberg for the 1st time. It’s one of the best books on photography I’ve read so far. The first part about the invention is just a time killer, but the theorizing essays are amazing. I’ve to re-read the book a couple of times, but it’s a great starting point to develop my ideas and doubts about photography into my own theories about photography and photography as art.

Assignment 1 – Off the baby blanket

Thoughts to brief

 My thoughts developed as follows:

  • childhood memorabilia in square format. 
  • parental house.
  • put my father in situations I remember from childhood
  • visit a nature park and use unfamiliar techniques.
  • ‘Why i avoid nature in the Netherlands’.
  • my newly rented apartment in Antwerp

Off the baby blanket

First the baby only lies on a blanket, starts turning by itself, goes on hands and knees. The first steps are set and the baby goes off the blanket. The first discovery of the undiscovered is what I aim to capture in this assignment. 

‘From the first gesture of a child pointing to an object and simply naming it, but with a world of intended meaning, to developed mind that creates an image whose strangeness and reality stirs our subconscious to its inmost depths, the awakening of desire is the first step to participation and experience.’ (Ray, M. 1980:167)

I first photographed with a wide angle lens to capture up close, but see around it as well, then a 70-200mm zoom lens to focus on a subject and portray the surroundings vague. Both from the idea that the span of interest of a baby is short. I settled for macro shots. Babies can focus. I used a tripod, locked the mirror, set the camera at Av priority and shot with a remote shutter. 

I didn’t often use my macro lens or live view before, or stage scenes, shoot indoors, and the subject wasn’t nature.

Research recommended websites

Keith Arnett and Gawain Barnard don’t inspire me. I’m missing exhibition of the technical skills.

Tina Barney. The dividing line between art and snapshot is thin.

Tom Hunter, I like his way of thinking. Karen Knorr, I like her use of text.


The most difficult parts of the assignment were to make nice compositions of items that aren’t photogenic subject matter and unfavourable light. 

Implied and actual diagonals make a strong composition. Lighter part of the wood, is a little distracting.

Simple colour plains.

Diagonals give dynamic. Implied triangles and color contrast. Bottom part of picture a bit too dark.

Material contrast. Basic forms, lines, squares and quarter circles. I don’t like the imperfections in the wood.

Triangles. The grain of the wood gives a dynamic.

Circles. Contrast Black en Grey-white.

Colour composition. The light wasn’t perfect which can be seen in the shadow on the left.

Diagonal grain of the wood versus the quarter circle

I liked my the idea, but struggled a bit with the execution. I stayed true to my concept. I think the selected individual pictures demonstrate sufficient technical and visual skills. The quality of outcome is sufficient. The context is good. Adequate researched and prepared. My doubts are on the coherency of the selected pictures as a series and I’m not sure my creativity is seen enough, or even if I’m creative enough.

I can continue the project with everywhere I come to look for basic forms and color plains at maximum knee level. 


Ray, M. (1980) ‘The Age of Light’ In: Trachtenberg, A. (ed.) Classic Essays on Photography Sedgwick: Leete’s Island Books. pp. 167-168.

Doubt (3)

While reading and thinking about photography questions come up. Questions I don’t have answers to yet. For now theorizing on photography equals doubt to me. The thoughts are random and incoherent.

Artistic value vs curiousity

Art must have a goal. If an artist achieves that goal with his intended public it’s good art.

My interest lies in design not in Representation

Photographs are found beautiful because they fulfill a desire?

Terry Barrett says in his book Criticizing Photographs (McGraw-Hill Education; 5 edition, 2011) ‘all photographs demand interpretation….. they need to be recognized as pictures about something ……. why this tone of voice? Why make art bigger then it is? Sometimes people just wanna like something for what they see.


Link to criticized picture: Lovers in a café, Place d’Italie, Paris, 1932

‘He loved Paris by night, ……. It was there that he documented the secret lives of prostitutes and homosexuals, opium addicts and tramps. The City ….. gave up all its mysteries to this flâneur’ (Koch, R. 2009:18)

‘Brassaï had his subjects act out their concealed activities as he set up his small plate camera on a tripod, opened the shutter, and fired his flash, recording a theatrical version of a candid moment that demystified and humanised the people from the world of night’ (Hirsch, R. 2009:254)

All lines in the photo lead to the couple which emerges out of the shadows. A lot of dark tones in the bottom part of the picture and brighter ones at the top. Some small light objects emerge out of the shadows and dark tones on the table. Reflections of the couple are visible through the mirrors. The couple is romantically involved. The only thing distracting is the light spot on the table, but that must have been inevitable with the equipment used in this situation. I like the sensual feeling the picture breathes and how the reflected faces add to this feeling. The use of line and dark tones is something to try in my own pictures.

Feldschuh Gallery (2016)Brassaï At URL:ï/lovers-in-a-paris-cafe-a-D3cqKzsddqMWvFXs1uSYLg2 (Accessed on 22 November 2016)
Hirsch, R. (2009) Seizing the Light, a social history of photography. New York: Mc Graw Hill
Koch, R. (2009) Photo:box New York: Abrams