intentional meaning

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The title of the picture gives the intention of the photographer. But how can we detect precisely what the photographer intended? All we have is this image and a link to the photographer's Flickr stream and two words that refer to art history.

Gary Sauer-Thompson, subverting modernism  

The intentional fallacy in aesthetics questions the assumption often made that the meaning intended by the author of a visual  work is of primary importance. It is argued that the meaning of the image does  not belong to its producer, but rather, once it is published,  it is detached from the picture maker, and is beyond  their power to control its meaning. 

As each picture contains multiple layers and meanings, with  the context of the picture being crucial to the interpretation of the image, the intention of the photographer is neither available nor desirable as a criteria for judging image whether a photograph is a  good work of art. 


I like to use several approaches to attempt to determine the intention of the creator, on flickr, however, a glance through their stream, and a look at their bio can give enough information t clarify concerns I may have.

I should add that a longer version of this post can be foundhere on junk for code.

Stuart, that is true, for you as curator. Curators do lots of research for an exhibition. It is part of the job description in the art institution. They write an essay or catalogue to spell out what lay behind their curatorial decisions which provides the context for the pictures.

But if I --or others---look at the first cut of the pictures you have selected from the concrete canvas group on Flickr, then what we have is a set of images whose significance and meaning is given by their interrelationships. I look at them, and judge them, in terms of these relationships. I know nothing about their intended meaning other than the title of the picture.

That is my starting point. These pictures are taken from the concrete canvas group which is about exploring form, tone and light. I place the context of modernism around this body of work in order to understand what the pictures mean.

Ok Gary, what about the body of work representing a series of responses to the idea of the form or function of concrete? As a somewhat utilitarian material it can be used as a canvas, to suggest many levels of ideas about concrete's function, or simply produce pleasing images.

In actual fact I was hoping we could write a collaborative piece, about the inaugural issue involving concrete canvas? We both have little to go on in terms of each artist's intentions, my own intentions, were about light, surface, greyness, colour, with perhaps some though about a kind of hunter gatherer approach to modern day image making, and I wanted to see if and how people responded in the social environment that is flickr to those ideas.

Yeah we can write a collaborative piece about the inaugural issue involving concrete canvas. But the starting point has to be from you--as you are both the creator of the concrete canvas Flickr group and the curator of the exhibition. We take can your ideas re your

intentions ... about light, surface, greyness, colour, with perhaps some thought about a kind of hunter gatherer approach to modern day image making, and I wanted to see if and how people responded in the social environment that is flickr to those ideas.

and relate your judgments about the work selected to the modernist art institution and the critique thereof coming out of October magazine. I'm not quite sure how we can jell them together but we need to the galleries job for them.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Sauer-Thompson published on January 11, 2009 2:19 AM.

First Edit. was the previous entry in this blog.

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