Sunday, April 14, 2013

Photography


The use of photography in the novel is interesting to me. Some people say that photographs are objective and simply mirror your surroundings, however I don’t think photography is purely an objective art form.  Photo journalists and artistic photographers all have a message or objective, if you will, when they take a picture. In Tereza’s case, she documented the Russian invasion because that was important to her and she photographed Sabina in the nude probably to satisfy some sexual/emotional need. Photography is an art form because the person behind the camera chooses the subject of the picture and they have to arrange the subjects, time it correctly, consider lighting and so forth. Tereza probably didn’t want to photograph the cacti because they didn’t mean anything to her, she felt she was doing something important with her pictures of the Russian army since she was capturing the anxiety and emotions of the occupiers and the occupied. she was trying to provoke emotions or enlighten the rest of the world that the situation in Czechoslovakia, especially in Prague, had not calmed down. It might be the most realistic portrayal of the world we have but it is not purely objective. 

2 comments:

Cassidy George said...

It's funny you brought this up because I just watched a documentary on the history of american photography. In the late 19th century, as we have discussed previously in class, art critics denied that photography was an art form. They defined it as a machine strictly used to reflect reality. But I agree that it is so much more than that. The documentary focused a lot on the evolution of the society's use for the camera. People have found ways to manipulate images (obviously we can manipulate them physically) in emotional ways. We can frame pictures to provoke associations in the viewers mind. The documentary showed many examples of photographs of politicians, most of whom were captured with beaming smiles and in front of american flags. Cameras do capture reality; that moment did occur, however the photographer has power over the composition of the image in order to communicate a particular message. When people see these images, they feel that the president is trustworthy, patriotic and loyal, regardless of whether or not this a reflection of reality.

Austin Falk said...

I completely agree with this. Photography is used to express better and help people understand the inner feelings of the photographer. It is well known that Tereza has a genuine dislike of the body. Perhaps this is the reason she takes pictures the body and of other women trying to seduce Russian soldiers. She does not like the fact that the soul and body are connected. She yearns to love someone without it having to do with the body. Her pictures display this and provide a better understanding of her hatred of the body.