Monday, February 11, 2008

Why Critiquing is Subjective?

This is one of the things that I have been wanting to find an answer to since long.
Being a photographer and designer is all about subjectivity.

When we view an art / design we start with an impression of it. Over a time we start to develop an opinion about it. And these opinions over a period turn into judgments.
These judgments are what we call critiques. Thus if we analyze, any judgment is therefore ultimately what is what the judge thinks about it. And these jugdments are subjective. Thus criticism is a subjective act.
A critic is a judge of a piece of art, who gives his or her subjective judgments based on the opinions formulated after the impression of the artwork.
A peep into adolescence

Any design we do, any photograph we take is all about "one's own" ideas. Thus we have the option to believe these subjective opinions for getting an idea of the showcased piece.
So from the above example and from the comments over time that I have received on it, an impression would be "beautiful shot!".
An opinion would be, "great shot!! a little dark but very nice"
A judgment (critic) would be something like "An over all brightening of the shadows would bring this boy out from the shadows, isolating him and transforming this from a cute picture to a WOW picture. He is hard to focus on because of the aforementioned darkness."

Over a long period of time a debate has been going on in my mind about, we as designers having to create for objectivity. However, I understand that, there is subjectivity all around. As discussed in one of my class, a critique is an entirely subjective opinion.
When the judgment is passed, by these critics or rather subject experts, (which again are subjective) we tend to believe them more than we would to a classmate or any other person (not a subject expert).

So ultimately we are designing for a subjective opinion, with the hope that the critic’s subjective opinion matches ours. This would lead to a larger audience believing the subjective opinions of the critics (as they are the subject exerts) and over a period of time, spanning across many people, the design becomes objective.

Similarly for a photograph. There will always be difference in an opinion if different people are to see one same photograph. No photograph will appeal to all. Or in other words, everyone WILL NOT agree on the same points.
Being a designer and a photographer enables one to take criticism positively. This is one thing I have really tried to learn.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Inspiration de' Henri.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 --2004) was a French photographer considered to be the father of modern photojournalism.

He is one of my idols !

Friday, February 01, 2008

Rhythmic Dance of Aesthetic Expression

Reflections from McCarthy and Wright: Technology as Experience.
Have you ever felt the adrenaline rushing through you in a movie.. or the sound of silence falling into the valley.. onto to rise into a crescendo, only to fall back into an inquisitiveness... that slowly slowly catches you.. comforts you.. and then .. then there is the sudden jerk of emotion again .. and the cycle keeps repeating itself again and again... You keep moving from one an experiences to another... In the end you say .. What an amazing Experience! Movies after movies , roller coaster rides after rides... and photo exhibitions after exhibitions..

Here we talk about the Rhythmic Dance of an aesthetic expression. Dewey previously mentions about the rhythms of life, tensions and releases of engagement, and feelings of vulnerability in the face of our own needs and desires. Thus "rhythmic flow of life is the basis of our experience of meaning and value in the world."
Basically there are four components to it. It has an internal, dynamic structure. Its called the Cumulation, the Conservation, the Tension and the Anticipation.

Roughly Cumulation is the build up of the experience in the absence of a priori information about the experience. This is a build up over time. The human capacity of deriving meanings over things increases in a temporal flow. Cumulation is a thing of the past, leading to the present. Without such a build-up there is no fulfillment and without fulfillment there is no aesthetic experience.

Conservation is the tendency to hold onto the some of what one has gone through before, in-order to make sense and a better experience of what is in present. Conservation is in the present. This takes cues from the past and is creating the experience along the present. An example for this could be you enjoy a particular kind of music more, if you have listened to that music before. Like say Jazz music.

Tension is where the fun begins! This is where movie makers make most of their money! Music invariably plays an important role in the tension. Tension refers to both the opposition of energies within the experience and between the people involved in the experience. Any resistance prevents immediate discharge and accumulates tension that renders energy intense.
Thus tension appears from this compressed energy that is seeking release. And when they try to do it, another form tries to block it. This struggle is the cause of tension. Analyze it this way, say in a movie, you are in a state of conservation.. enjoying the experience of the plot, and suddenly there is a gun shot. For a moment, you freeze.... its may be instantaneous, that time may be in milliseconds, but for that instant the hard pounds an extra beat. This creates that struggle within the energies that were already there with the experience you were having.

Then comes the anticipation. As one would guess, this is for the future with the knowledge of the present and the future. This thus occurs in two temporal phases. The first one occurs before the aesthetic experience is taken pace, and the other during the aesthetic experience taking place. Thus there is an expectation build up in this. When that expectation is met, the past is conserved as if the anticipation is molded into the experience itself. When it is not met, the conservation is breached. Often this would also lead to tension and then further lead back to conservation.

Thus, as Dewey says, a rhythmic dance connects aesthetic experience to its history and circumstances. This dance involves a continuous interplay between the past, present and future, each shaping and renewing the others.