Jide Alakija

04 Mar 2008 1,746 views
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photoblog image The Power of CONTEXT
The Power of CONTEXT|

The Power of CONTEXT

Thanks for all the great comments in my last post. Your comments really are very encouraging. I could almost say that I learn a lot more about my photos from them. It's interesting how a photograph can be translated into so many expressions. It bears a lot more meaning based on the spectators background. Almost like a socket looking for a plug to complete the circuit, each 'different' appliance behaves differently with the same current going through it.

Today this shot is about something else. It's about the area of 'Context'. Remember in my post before last I expressed my own views on the pointlessness of ART. Now this shot is somewhere along that line but a bit more explicit. Everytime one looks at a photograph (and I have noticed this on my photoblog a lot) one has an expectation of what they are expecting to feel or think. This feeling or thought is very much influenced by the knowledge of the photographed surroundings or photographer. This is what I am referring to when I talk about 'Context'.

So often I see a lot of blog posts and photography exhibitions and spectators who haven't a clue how to critique an image talk about the most pointless things relating to the image. They talk about how it should have been photographed, what focal lenght they should have used, how to tone the image, what they should have photographed firstly. This can be very annoying and if anything frustrating. Not because they are wrong in what they are saying but really they've omitted the most important thing you do when criticising an image, making judgements in CONTEXT! There are many reasons why people photograph what they do and it all starts from the CONTEXT.

Let's take this photograph for instance. Jide what are you trying to say? Well you tell me, what does it look like? What do you see? Yes you don't just see hands, you don't just see a black and white photo, you see a blurred shot of a man waving an envelope. Ok now, you must ask yourself what is this scene about. What is the artist trying to say? Now you're building your story, you're starting with CONTEXT. That's how you view the image. Sometimes one image cannot tell the full story in which case the work is incomplete.

At which point you SHUT the F*** UP!!!

comments (8)

  • mal
  • 4 Mar 2008, 01:06
all images are about context Jide and those images that have no motif or context are dead full stop. You can take a straight shot of the most beautiful woman in the world if that woman is not giving the camera a motif or reason to be there then the shot is doomed. Or a landscaper can go out on a nice sunny day and take a photo of the best scene on the planet but if the light or mood is not correct then that photographer would have been better served staying in bed!

So - context regarding your image. This is a scene of an audience following a leader! I do not know if this image has a religeous context (it is my impression that it is) but that does not matter, I see a leader with an arm raised and a few select members in the audience who have chosen to follow suit. There is a wonderful connection and tension between leader and follower in this scene, four hands raised of which 3 are clear, upon which partial silhouettes exist against a background that is understandable but partially blurry, therefore the hands stand out stand out.

The context of this image exists only in the eye of the viewer should he or she choose to see it.

all the best
  • Shakara
  • Neptune
  • 4 Mar 2008, 08:30
Deep but true ..keep up the good work mate ..
Had to smile at this, Yes one image cannot always tell the full story but sometimes you want it to, don't forget that.

We love the fact that the world of photography has grown with so many enthusiasts over the last 5 years, but the number of people who produce inspiring work (in our opinion) seems to be declining. The power of context is so understated nowadays, be it a picture of a building, child, event, flower, etc, one always wants it to pack a little oomph.

We say, let the image tell a story, let it stop you in your track, infact let it hold your attention without you knowing why it held it, thats good enough smile
The man simply wants to know who'd like to have the money in his envelope grin

Perception sometimes is reality. What you see in a photograph is the end result of a lot of filtering in your mind - a highly subjective process.

I believe a photographer should simply present his work in the best light and leave others to form their opinion. Add a few words and you can help guide or shape that opinion.

Ultimately, it's "To each His own"
  • Adaoha
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 7 Mar 2008, 14:23
Wow, the way your view was put across and the way it was narrated got me thinking. Thinking that the views are that of yours but the narration? - just something I've noticed with respect to the others.

I like this new way of narration, and if you feel it expresses you, then good.
  • dotun
  • Maryland, US
  • 9 Mar 2008, 00:54
a very nice point of view, I really like this. If this was mine I would probably do a 4.0 on my f-stop and this will mean to shoot at 1/60 or 1/80 but I think that should be enough to avoid blur. This is so I can see a bit of the man waving the envelope - he is too blurred for me.
show of hands
I really love the way you title your photographs. It brings out the beauty in the photo...more grease...smile

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