10:00 am discussion: Reality v. Ideology

10:00 am section:
(I’ll do a new post for 11:30 and 1:00)

Starting at 10:00 and continuing to 10:50, carry on a discussion about the ideas in Burke, Eyewitnessing, chs. 5, 6,  & 7:

Do you think visual materials from the past tell us more about the material realities of the past (e.g., the people or things depicted in the images) or more about the ideology (ideas, values, assumptions, perspectives) of the people who created those images?

Do not create new Posts. Just enter comments for this post. (Click LEAVE A COMMENT, which is either above or below the post.) Read all prior comments (click the post title to show comments; you may need to refresh if it doesn’t show new comments  automatically).

Add to the discussion. Carry it forward. Say something new. Make specific references to Burke (cite page numbers so we can follow). Make specific references to any of the artifacts you saw on Wednesday. Play devil’s advocate. Try out ideas you may or may not believe. Challenge your peers to think, maybe even to change their minds.

Everyone must post more than once and continue to follow and contribute for the 50-minute session (this counts as your sketch). I’ll stay out of it the first 15 minutes, then enter selectively, but you all should keep it going regardless.


80 thoughts on “10:00 am discussion: Reality v. Ideology”

  1. @trout well there in lies the difficulty for historians. In order to separate fact from fiction we would have to compare artistic depictions and perhaps refer to written documents as well. However, it would inevitably be challenging because something like cannibalism would have shocked Europeans and any hint of its existence would have led to widespread (and possibly false) depictions

  2. @jsalvia2 brings up a good point about the situational circumstances that a photographer may have had to deal with, and in wartime, for example, there may not have been extraordinary opportunities for a photographer to recreate to send a message. Therefore, in many cases the photographers were simply those who were there to document not necessarily create. The limitation of that is how exactly are we supposed to tell the difference?

  3. @trout
    Rearranged photographs to achieve a certain amount of accuracy should be treated as such: they are modified, perhaps for the better, but should be taken with a grain of skepticism.

  4. To try to be more realistic we definitely have to know something about the photographer. In terms of pure composition, you can analyze the photographer and determine how it was made. What you are referencing is called High Dynamic Range Imaging, and it captures prolonged shutter speed images (very light), and ultra fast shutter speeds (very dark) to create an image that can be any gradient between glistening and grungy.

  5. I like all this back and forth. Some of you have been silent for a while–let’s hear from you in the next 2 minutes: What have we NOT been talking about? What have we NOT considered yet?

  6. With Zacks comment, it’s a bit difficult to get an unbiased picture. Seeing as the photographer chooses what to capture even though unconsciously. With that said i believe there is an undertone of bias in every visual depiction.

  7. @trout A photographer might leave a warning or caption for his viewers. I remember seeing a daguerreotype from Paris in the early 1840s and there was no street traffic. I only later learned it was because the camera could not capture it. So, a photographer might do good on hismelf or herself by leave a caption reminding his or her audience that street traffic exists in a city like Paris.

  8. @trout Well… Isn’t “truth” an opinion? Truth can be factual (Today is January 24th), but truth can also be opinionated (MSNBC is more accurate). And that begs the question you ask, does the truth in fact exist somewhere in between or does it exist at every end of the spectrum depending on who is asking?

  9. @deledina, can you think of counter-examples, where it MIGHT be possible for a certain visual depiction to be only factual? Can anyone else think of examples?

  10. Last 60 seconds everyone: How was this discussion? Did it accomplish what we could have in class together in person? Or did it fall short? Did it do anything BETTER than class could have?

  11. Well the refreshing made it a bit difficult to keep a flowing conversation but I think we covered a lot of the material. I like class better though (even if it’s on the Vern)

  12. I’d say it accomplished what we could have done in class together, but also allowed people to think out their responses before speaking. To me, everyone sounded more composed and prepared to speak.

  13. @trout I found the online discussion very effective. We were able to discuss in detail a select number of topics from the chapters and argue points that some may not have felt comfortable doing in the classroom. The blog also gave everyone time to think and formulate their ideas before posting them.

  14. @trout
    MSNBC+FOXNews does not necessarily = truth, it just equals, as @zackjudin said, a more rounded picture. The more sources, hopefully the more rounded and ideally, the less biased.

  15. I liked the discussion and the casual format, but it felt like as soon as I went to hit “comment”, the conversation had already moved past what I just spent a minute or two typing out

  16. @nataliehall2014, so maybe (MSNBC+FOXNews) / (Jon Stewart + Stephen Colbert) x (skepticism, logic, and a thousand other source) = some more reasonable idea about what happened?

  17. I enjoyed today’s discussion. Everyone had well-formulated ideas which can be better expressed through writing than speaking. I think I can take more away from this session than most classes I have because it offered a great deal of differing opinions/lenses that I would not ordinarily hear.

  18. Chapter five really focused on the concept that certain historical items can disappear, or become damaged, and that images of those items are a great way to better understand the missing part of the past, which has been damaged. Images can tell a story themselves, sometimes a better-depicted story than any text can provide. Sometimes seeing really is believing. For example ancient Chinese and Greek chariots can be reconstructed using surviving models and tomb paintings. The chapter outlines how images of cities in the past can be compared to cities today. Chapter six focuses on the social historian, and how through his art, he depicts social history. Social history can be anything from everyday things like cleaning up the house, or more important days, which include festival celebrations etc. The seventh chapter I found to be the most interesting, because it seemed to explain the similarities within cultures and their interaction with other cultures. It explained how some images in religion have been misinterpreted by other cultures, and what that meant to both cultures. All three chapters however share the want to express assimilation of cultures in the world and how images have helped to shape the history of human kind.

  19. With what deledina said I agree that there is a bias to almost every photograph we see, simply because someone took that photograph thinking it would leave an impression on somebody, which lead me to think that all photographs have a purpose. However, with @trout’s reaction to this post I also believe photographs can be interpreted to have a strictly factual meaning. Some people at the beginning were talking about people documenting war, and I think that is a perfect example. When you are in war you usually aren’t just thinking about getting a good perspective for your photograph, but you are thinking about how to best depict what is actually happening! It just goes to show the vast amount of images there are out there can be interpreted to have a bias undertone, or interpreted to be a depiction of facts.

  20. And finally, I like the idea of an online discussion quite a lot, now that i see how everyone actually talks online. However, I just wish I knew about it sooner, technology can be difficult for me, I am much more of a personal up close kind of thinker and speaker than a writer. But I guess that is why I am in this class, to learn how to write well, and interpret images from multiple viewpoints, so ultimately I can choose the best interpretation for myself.

  21. Adrian yes I’m glad you’re thinking of this forum as yet another form of writing. You are correct. And this is a good place to practice thinking through lighting.I mean writing.

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