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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 02 Jul 2014 (Wednesday) 21:06
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Thoughts on people using a cut off animals head in photos?

 
OhLook
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Jul 04, 2014 19:07 |  #31

Clean Gene wrote in post #17011476 (external link)
What's mindboggling is how a bunch of photographers are discussing the subject and purpose of a photo that hasn't even been shown. Until we see the image, how can anyone know what the image is saying? People here are posting comments expressing that such photographs are tasteless or disrespectful, and that the photographers are being shocking in order to compensate for a lack of talent, but I genuinely want to know how anyone can have a basis for making these claims without seeing the photographs.

I don't know about those claims particularly. My claim is that taking delight in the grotesque is a warning sign about a person. The OP described the photos well enough that I can make that claim without seeing them.

1Tanker wrote in post #17011881 (external link)
We all (well mostly) love eating chicken, and certainly know they are "slaughtered", but how many want to see a picture of one running around after it's head had just been chopped off?

I saw the real thing as a child; we kept chickens and ate them. It's an educational sight if you're interested in the functioning of nervous systems that differ that much from human ones. But I'd be suspicious of people who sought out such scenes because they found blood and gore amusing.


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Jul 04, 2014 21:28 |  #32

OhLook wrote in post #17011981 (external link)
I don't know about those claims particularly. My claim is that taking delight in the grotesque is a warning sign about a person. The OP described the photos well enough that I can make that claim without seeing them.

I saw the real thing as a child; we kept chickens and ate them. It's an educational sight if you're interested in the functioning of nervous systems that differ that much from human ones. But I'd be suspicious of people who sought out such scenes because they found blood and gore amusing.

I was raised a farmboy as well, and my eyes and stomach can take just about anything. That doesn't mean that i want them too, though.

I've watched 100's, if not 1000's of gore/death/accident-videos on the web, as i find it mildly interesting(and yes..some have bothered me for a while), and hope it hardens my emotions a little.. should i see such a real-life event.

I chose to watch those though, on sites i knew delivered such content, or via YouTube and searches....my searches. I don't think it would be right to display these to unsuspecting "followers/fans"....at least without some warning.


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Jul 04, 2014 21:57 |  #33

Given how much food gets thrown away, how is that any more disrespectful than buying a pig head and using it as a prop? Food in movies and commercials is not consumed. It's put in the mouth for the scene and generally spit into the trash afterwards. Complete waste. And a farm is not the same as a factory farm, and definitely not the same as the actual slaughter house. The meat we eat is the most viscous act of animal cruelty there is, and yet if you did the same to a dog or cat you would be arrested....and I am not even talking about killing them, just the process of raising a calf for veal or this "free range" chicken BS... Make it so a dog can not ever stand up or have a room with cats packed so tight they are on top of each other... People would think you are the devil.
But don't play with your food and waste it for a photo op, that's just wrong and disrespectful.


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Clean ­ Gene
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Jul 05, 2014 01:43 |  #34

Apricane wrote in post #17011547 (external link)
Although I'd also like to see the photograph, I don't know how it is necessary to do so in this case, as what is being discussed are principles regarding the acceptable use/representation of dead animals in photographs, in general.

Yes, the specific photo the OP is mentioning may be interesting, but it does not detract from the more general discussion not to see it. It may make it easier, if anything.

Seeing as how the use/representation relies on the actual image, yes it is necessary to see the image. You don't know how it is used until you see the image. You don't know how it is represented until you see the image. You don't know the statement which the image makes until you see the image, and you don't know what (if any) photographic merit it has until you see the image. There are any number of reasons a dead animal may be in a photograph, there are any number of ideas or statements or feelings that that image might convey. I'd like to know how you can make blanket statements before seeing the image. Someone above opined that the difference between a photo of someone eating bacon and a photo of someone manipulating animal body parts is that in the latter it's about the animal. Well, what does the image say ABOUT the animal or ABOUT death, and how can anyone claim to know that without seeing the image?




  
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Clean ­ Gene
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Jul 05, 2014 01:49 |  #35

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17011917 (external link)
Well I agree there, I don't see the humor or aesthetic value either. Kind of stupid and kind of sick.

Aesthetic value? I'm sorry, but have you seen the images? Does the use of a severed animal head mean that the image wasnn't well composed? Does that mean it wasn't well lit? Can someone please explain to me how we can talk about an image's aesthetic value without seeing the image?

And...was it even a humorous image? Was the intent to be funny? How is it even possible to know that without seeing the image?




  
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Jul 05, 2014 02:11 |  #36

OhLook wrote in post #17011981 (external link)
I don't know about those claims particularly. My claim is that taking delight in the grotesque is a warning sign about a person. The OP described the photos well enough that I can make that claim without seeing them.

I saw the real thing as a child; we kept chickens and ate them. It's an educational sight if you're interested in the functioning of nervous systems that differ that much from human ones. But I'd be suspicious of people who sought out such scenes because they found blood and gore amusing.

Isn't that being a bit presumptuous? Saving Private Ryan was gory as hell, and so was Saw. But can we agree that the mere act of being gory doesn't mean that both movies were catered for people who find gore AMUSING?

Taking delight? Can we state that as an objective fact? Does something being gory necessarily entail that it is also sadistic? Isn't that a bit of a stretch? The fact is that violence and death have very often been portrayed in popular culture, and there are a LOT of cases in which it wasn't meant to be "amusing" (for either the artist or the audience).

Thirdly, focusing on the grotesque is at least potentially a worthy endeavor. A lot of stuff in life is not pretty, it is ugly or grotesque. To categorically say that people shouldn't make images about such things, and while not knowing what those images say about such things, aren't we belittling the living hell out of photography as a means of expression? That's coming dangerously close to saying "people should only photograph pretty things, like flowers and butterflies and weddings." The ugly and the grotesque are ABSOLUTELY important, and it is a damn shame to see so many artists categorically saying that the ugly and the grotesque should be off-limits without even seeing what is being said ABOUT the ugly and the grotesque.

And I have to add, this isn't even a photography thing. This is just general stuff. I know that some people will say, "but yeah, even though I didn't see the image, someone described it for me and that's enough information." Hogwash. If someone makes a claim about some insidious or f-ed up thing the president said, we don't accept paraphrasing as evidence. We want to see an actual quote, in the proper context, from another source.




  
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Jul 05, 2014 10:00 |  #37

Clean Gene wrote in post #17012389 (external link)
Isn't that being a bit presumptuous? Saving Private Ryan was gory as hell, and so was Saw. But can we agree that the mere act of being gory doesn't mean that both movies were catered for people who find gore AMUSING?

I didn't see either of them, but I do agree on that point.

The OP said one photo showed a person pretending the pig's head was his. I inferred that the image was intended as humor. I can't view Facebook, as I'm not a member. OP, could you step in here and say whether that photo looked more like a joke or more like an artwork? Did text accompany the images to tell us about any artistic merit that was intended?

It's barely possible that the series is the work of vegans who want the audience to gain empathy with our prey animals and stop eating them. Pig's head in front of human subject's head: "Imagine that you were this murdered creature."

I'd also like to know how old these photographers are and what other kinds of pictures they post.


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Jul 05, 2014 12:22 |  #38

Was a link to the photo in question ever actually provided?

The description given in the original post is far too vague and lacking in details of minor elements for anyone to make a fair and honest judgement on the value or merit of the photo in question.

Three women I met in university did a photo shoot together several years ago, and in all photos they are naked, covered in fake gore (blood'n'bits), and using a number of poses and minor props. Several are absolutely crude and obscene, simply did not work and most who see those photos would probably agree that many of those photos in the set were down right offensive.

However an image in the same set has two of them standing, covered head to toe in the gore, holding bundles of knives as if they were a bouquet while looking slightly upwards towards the camera. The elements that really made the image was it was done in a method to what is commonly called a Brenizer, which makes them appear smaller in the scene than they really are, they are smiling with a very sweet and innocent expression. The photo deliberately mimics another photo of them from over a decade before when they were flower girls at a relative's wedding. And the real powerful aspect to the photo is that it is a representation of the pain and abuse they went through as teens... However they are still smiling, and showing that they are stronger than it, and have moved on.

But if I were to simply describe it as "Two naked women holding bundles of knives while covered in blood", then there is no way someone who has never seen the photo can really understand what it is. Even from my more detailed description you won't get the full impact and power of the photo. The whole "A picture is worth a thousand words" is kind of an important saying in this case, and I would argue that it isn't even close to the truth. A mere thousand words simply isn't enough space to convey the entire range of detail and emotion in good photography. Often isn't even enough to adequately describe bad photography.


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Jul 05, 2014 14:33 |  #39

Luckless wrote in post #17012997 (external link)
Was a link to the photo in question ever actually provided?

The description given in the original post is far too vague and lacking in details of minor elements for anyone to make a fair and honest judgement on the value or merit of the photo in question.

Three women I met in university did a photo shoot together several years ago, and in all photos they are naked, covered in fake gore (blood'n'bits), and using a number of poses and minor props. Several are absolutely crude and obscene, simply did not work and most who see those photos would probably agree that many of those photos in the set were down right offensive.

However an image in the same set has two of them standing, covered head to toe in the gore, holding bundles of knives as if they were a bouquet while looking slightly upwards towards the camera. The elements that really made the image was it was done in a method to what is commonly called a Brenizer, which makes them appear smaller in the scene than they really are, they are smiling with a very sweet and innocent expression. The photo deliberately mimics another photo of them from over a decade before when they were flower girls at a relative's wedding. And the real powerful aspect to the photo is that it is a representation of the pain and abuse they went through as teens... However they are still smiling, and showing that they are stronger than it, and have moved on.

But if I were to simply describe it as "Two naked women holding bundles of knives while covered in blood", then there is no way someone who has never seen the photo can really understand what it is. Even from my more detailed description you won't get the full impact and power of the photo. The whole "A picture is worth a thousand words" is kind of an important saying in this case, and I would argue that it isn't even close to the truth. A mere thousand words simply isn't enough space to convey the entire range of detail and emotion in good photography. Often isn't even enough to adequately describe bad photography.

I've stayed out of this discussion...my first impression from the original post was that the photos were just people goofing off in a gross way, why waste time even thinking about it or discussing it...

But I think the above comment by Luckless is pretty insightful!


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Jul 05, 2014 14:52 |  #40

Clean Gene wrote in post #17012360 (external link)
Aesthetic value? I'm sorry, but have you seen the images? Does the use of a severed animal head mean that the image wasnn't well composed? Does that mean it wasn't well lit? Can someone please explain to me how we can talk about an image's aesthetic value without seeing the image?

And...was it even a humorous image? Was the intent to be funny? How is it even possible to know that without seeing the image?

Your point is well taken. On the same note, having not seen the image, can you really be so sure you should be defending it so forcefully? How you can be so strident in challenging our opinions, (which after all our only our own, and thus not likely to be easily quantified) when you too have nothing to base it on?

Me, I'm taking the OPs words at face value. I'm believing him, as I have no reason not to. That's just a choice I made. I could be wrong, happens all the time.

I suppose we could all just not comment, in essence that's what many of us did, with nothing to go on, instead we posted jokes.
Empathy is what made me post my latest post. Empathy with the OP and Tanker. After all the jokes, it occurred to me that some people were being affected by this, even if they had not seen the image. Although hearing about this did not affect me, I could understand that it could have an affect on people, and felt bad for just posting jokes.

I hope this explains to you how some people could comment without seeing the image.

Just saying.


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Jul 06, 2014 02:20 |  #41

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #17013238 (external link)
Your point is well taken. On the same note, having not seen the image, can you really be so sure you should be defending it so forcefully? How you can be so strident in challenging our opinions, (which after all our only our own, and thus not likely to be easily quantified) when you too have nothing to base it on?

Me, I'm taking the OPs words at face value. I'm believing him, as I have no reason not to. That's just a choice I made. I could be wrong, happens all the time.

I suppose we could all just not comment, in essence that's what many of us did, with nothing to go on, instead we posted jokes.
Empathy is what made me post my latest post. Empathy with the OP and Tanker. After all the jokes, it occurred to me that some people were being affected by this, even if they had not seen the image. Although hearing about this did not affect me, I could understand that it could have an affect on people, and felt bad for just posting jokes.

I hope this explains to you how some people could comment without seeing the image.

Just saying.


Well, my intent isn't really to defend the images at all. After all, I haven't seen them so for all I know they could be complete crap. Basically the thing about this topic that is really grinding my gears is the implicit notion of reductionism. That we can take a photo, compress it into a 100 word description, then determine it to be tasteless because it contains x (in this case, the use of dead animal parts). It's not that way. It can't be that way, because if it were, then what the hell are we all doing? We can't reduce art into a mathematical formula and then say that it must have this element or must not have that element. That is a dangerous line of thought, and we're all playing into it when we make these kinds of assumptions. Regardless of whether or not the image is garbage, we have to see it or else we don't know a damn thing about it.

Me? I don't take ANYONE'S words at face value when regarding a photograph or a movie or a painting or a song or anything else that doesn't solely operate by word. If the source material wasn't solely words, then you can't adequately describe it based on someone's typed description. That's just how it works. A written description necessarily leaves information out. I don't trust ANYONE to be so good with words that they adequately represent a photograph with a typed description. You can talk all day about how good an image is, but you don;'t really know how good it is until you see it. You can talk all day about how bad an image is, but you don;t know how bad it is unless you've seen it.

But hey...let's suppose that the images are garbage. That still doesn't answer the question of WHY they are garbage. There are a lot of people who can photograph a pile of guts or feces and make it look good, and there are also people who can't make a good photograph to save their lives and only photograph guts and gore because that's the only way they know to get attention. With that in mind, I'm not entirely clear what the topic is about. Even if the images suck, why do they suck? Do they suck because of the gore, or do they suck simply because they have no photographic merit? That is a big issue. Is a stunningly well shot photograph of gore still bad because of the gore? On the other hand, is a snapshot of gore bad because of the gore, or is it bad because it's just a simple careless snapshot? These actually are inrtesting things to discuss, but what basis is there for discussion without examples to reference to?




  
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Jul 06, 2014 02:36 |  #42

Clean Gene wrote in post #17014101 (external link)
Well, my intent isn't really to defend the images at all. After all, I haven't seen them so for all I know they could be complete crap. Basically the thing about this topic that is really grinding my gears is the implicit notion of reductionism. That we can take a photo, compress it into a 100 word description, then determine it to be tasteless because it contains x (in this case, the use of dead animal parts). It's not that way. It can't be that way, because if it were, then what the hell are we all doing? We can't reduce art into a mathematical formula and then say that it must have this element or must not have that element. That is a dangerous line of thought, and we're all playing into it when we make these kinds of assumptions. Regardless of whether or not the image is garbage, we have to see it or else we don't know a damn thing about it.

Me? I don't take ANYONE'S words at face value when regarding a photograph or a movie or a painting or a song or anything else that doesn't solely operate by word. If the source material wasn't solely words, then you can't adequately describe it based on someone's typed description. That's just how it works. A written description necessarily leaves information out. I don't trust ANYONE to be so good with words that they adequately represent a photograph with a typed description. You can talk all day about how good an image is, but you don;'t really know how good it is until you see it. You can talk all day about how bad an image is, but you don;t know how bad it is unless you've seen it.

But hey...let's suppose that the images are garbage. That still doesn't answer the question of WHY they are garbage. There are a lot of people who can photograph a pile of guts or feces and make it look good, and there are also people who can't make a good photograph to save their lives and only photograph guts and gore because that's the only way they know to get attention. With that in mind, I'm not entirely clear what the topic is about. Even if the images suck, why do they suck? Do they suck because of the gore, or do they suck simply because they have no photographic merit? That is a big issue. Is a stunningly well shot photograph of gore still bad because of the gore? On the other hand, is a snapshot of gore bad because of the gore, or is it bad because it's just a simple careless snapshot? These actually are inrtesting things to discuss, but what basis is there for discussion without examples to reference to?

Please take the blinders off!

If you actually read the OP, he/she isn't really asking if it's/they are "good" photos... just what you think of the subject matter, or the idea. I can tell you right now, without actually seeing such a picture, that a shot of a (minor) boy/girl in a sexual context/act, can be guaranteed to NOT interest me.. no matter how great the lighting/composition, etc. See what we're talking about now??

Do you really need a photo, to know what offends you?


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Jul 06, 2014 03:26 |  #43

1Tanker wrote in post #17014106 (external link)
Please take the blinders off!

If you actually read the OP, he/she isn't really asking if it's/they are "good" photos... just what you think of the subject matter, or the idea. I can tell you right now, without actually seeing such a picture, that a shot of a (minor) boy/girl in a sexual context/act, can be guaranteed to NOT interest me.. no matter how great the lighting/composition, etc. See what we're talking about now??

Do you really need a photo, to know what offends you?

What does the photo say ABOUT that sexual act? is it promoting the act? Condemning it? Is the overall sentiment about a call to action, or is it more pessimistic and more about dealing with an unavoidable pain? Is it a joke? Is it meant to be taken seriously? And furthermore, do any of those questions even matter? Does it suddenly not matter in the least what is being said about that object, simply because that object is present?

How do you know what the "idea" is without seeing the photograph? This is still an extreme reduction of a work. All it';s doing is picking and choosing a select few elements, while ignoring all other elements. So...did those other elements not matter? How would I know? Was this shot in front of a black backdrop? Was it shot in front of a butcher shop or a factory farm? Information is getting lost simply by translating an actual photograph into a brief typed description, so how the hell are we supposed to know what information got cut out of the description and how it relates to the information that was left in?

And more to the point...there's nothing wrong with saying that you tend to avoid certain things. I tend to avoid pet photos because they usually don't interest me. However, keep in mind that there is a difference between me saying "pet photos usually don't interest me", and determining a photo to be boring or cliche just because someone gave me a secondhand description about it that described it as being a pet photo. Saying "I don't care to see this work" is not making a statement about any qualities of that work. That's a statement about myself, not about the work, and it doesn't need to be validated. However, this is VERY different than stating something to be "tasteless" or "boring" or "brilliant" or "cliched" without ever having seen it. Now you ARE talking about the work, you're making judgements about something that you've never seen. And I have a HUGE problem with that.




  
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Jul 06, 2014 11:55 as a reply to  @ Clean Gene's post |  #44

This thread is so Shakespearian. It's much ado about nothing.




  
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Jul 06, 2014 12:00 |  #45
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This is a new one....lets defend an image without having seeing it to attract as much attention as possible. People never cease to impress me. :rolleyes:


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Thoughts on people using a cut off animals head in photos?
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