Reading Response #1

1. List of key words and definitions

  • Tendentiousness: having or showing a definite tendency, bias, or purpose.
  • Semantic: of, relating to, or arising from the different meanings of words or other symbols
  • Obstinate: stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so.
  • Heliography: is the photographic process invented by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce around 1822, which he used to make the earliest known surviving photograph from nature
  • Myriad: a great number
  • Polysemic: is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic field.
  • Proliferation: rapid increase in numbers
  • Metonomy: he substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant
  • Philanthropic: of a person or organization) seeking to promote the welfare of others, especially by donating money to good causes; generous and benevolent

2.  In bulleted or dashed (-) list form, include:

  • Three main points that you gleaned from the material

– a photograph carries some sort of message, a message that depends on some external matrix of conditions and presuppositions for its readability. The message is context determined and is a system of hidden linguistic propositions, a character of the semiotic system. A photographic ‘literacy’ is needed as a photograph ‘has its own language’.

– it is impossible to even conceive of an photograph in a “free-state”, with the invention of a neutral ground it activates a “tourist sensibility” as there is a denial of invention of the critics status as a social actor.

– photographs achieve semantic status as fetish objects and as documents. Depending on the context, they poses a power that is primarily affective or primarily informative; the truth of magic or the truth of science. The affective can reveal secrets of human character, while the informative can reveal the legal power of proof.

  • Two things that struck you as particularly important and/or interesting

– “Every photographic image is a sign, above all, of someone’s investment in the sending of a message” I found this interesting because I have never thought about it this way until now. As someone is taking a photo they are investing there time into capturing a moment to send a coded message.

– “Mass reproduction represents a qualitative as well as quantitative change in the status of the photographic message….The photograph, on one hand, is characterized by a reproducibility, an “exhibition value”… as it stands at the service of the class that controls the press” I found this particularly important, as the press controls the service of the photograph the press also controls its exhibition value. Representing how art is controlled by the ‘social actors’ taking apart in the criticism of the work, controlled by there own interpretations they receive.

  • One pertinent question that you have

– As the article has a focus on photographic discourse and the meaning behind photos, is there a way that photographic discourse cannot be produced in a photo?