ReviewingPhotography, Vision, and Representation
JoelSnyder, a renowned criticism teacher, writes the article onphotography where he gives different opinions concerning the art ofphotography. He openly criticizes other photographers based on theirbeliefs and statements on the various aspects of photography such asthe aspect of the real representation of the actual object or thesubjectivity of the photograph. Snyder also disagrees with the ideaof automatism in photography. Automatism is the artistic technique ofdeveloping images subconsciously or altering the actual image torepresent what the artist has in mind.
Snyder’sargument against automatism.
Inthe article, Snyder openly argues against automatism. He states thatthe very little on the functioning of photography is explained by thevisual and the mechanical models. He reasons out that they do not fitsober imageries of the processes of photography. As an art, aphotographer should always have the freedom of expressing theirfeeling and their interests. Snyder’s claims against automatism arefactual as he realizes that the production of a good photo or imageduring photography depends on the control that the photographer hasover the camera and the object or scene being photographed. Thephotographer should always have the freedom of using the variouselements and techniques to bring out an expression of what is intheir mind. With automation, the photographer has very little or nocontrol over the process, and this leads to the production of imagesthat have little or no artistic value.
Snyderalso agrees that a picture is not realistic and that it is not anactual representation of the picture but only represents the image atthe time the photo was taken. Even with automatism, an actualrepresentation of a picture cannot be achieved since the image keepschanging in form and appearance. Natural factors such as light alsohave a role to play in the development of an image. These factorsaffect the various elements such as contrast and value in thephotograph and later affect the general result of the photo produced.
Healso goes on to put that although photograph does not show the exactpicture of what the eyes would have seen they are an precise recordof the original act as it was during the shooting. This argument iscorrect as the photo is subject to different modifications to meetthe needs of the photographer. The photographer can distort or editthe image from the original appearance at the scene. Thesealterations aim at addressing the needs of the photographer but tosome level, they give the clue to the actual image. Snyder statesthat in photography, the photographer does not create the picturefrom imagination or otherwise but creates the photo from what exists.He put on that the alterations made are only done so on an image thatexists but not one derived from the photographer’s mind. Theontological distinctions of the photographs seem rather unpromising.Cameras are real and mechanical records of what is seen at aparticular time. This, however, stresses the rule that some picturesachieve significance because they are natural. The importance of thephotos can however not be accounted for by the mechanicalelaborations of natural occurrences.
Snyderdistinguishes photography from fine art. He states that photographyis non-manipulative, non-imaginative and non-inventive. He later saysthat fine art is the exact opposite of photography as it involvesinvention of ideas, manipulations and imaginations. Through thisstatement, he apparently agrees that there is automatism inphotography, where the mechanical use of the camera is utilized inthe production of images that already exist and can be seen or evenfelt. In other forms of art, a conscious and subconscious involvementof an artist is perceived in the work that they produce. Thepersonality of a photographer is not much represented in his work asit occurs with another artist in fine art and the photographer oftenlacks conscious intention son the work he or she does. The only pointwhere personality can be expressed is through the selection of theobject to be photographed. The works where automatism is not employedtotally represent what the artist think, imagines or has experiencedduring certain occurrences and these can easily be manipulated by theartist. Through the argument, Snyder brings sense to the fore it istruly known that the photographer bases his or her work on anexisting object and that they only have little control over itsmanipulation.
Inthe full article Photography,Vision, and Representation,Snyder criticizes the work of others on the different aspects ofphotography. One such argument which he poses in his critique is onthe automatism of photography. His stand on automatism doesn’t seemclear but in some of the texts and critics, he seems to argue againstautomatism as he states that both the mechanical and the visualmodels of photography explain a little on the working of photography.He appears to sway away from the fact that automatism is theavoidance of conscious aims in the production of work, mostly throughthe use of mechanical techniques.