Aesthetics and the photograph

Is this a nice photo? Is it a beautiful photo?

These are aesthetical questions regarding taste and the personal, social, and cultural values of what is regarded as ‘tasteful’.

The aesthetical ‘measuring stick’ changes shape from one culture to another.

It also changes from time to time depending on what fashion may be in vogue. Aesthetics is then highly subjective.

This must be recognised as a factor when appreciating a photo. We bring to the photo our own aesthetics ลาวสามัคคี วีไอพี.

There are no aesthetic universals, e.g. the so-called ‘rules of composition’, despite the many attempts to define them and use them.

The mathematician G D Birkhoff suggested an aesthetic measuring formula M = O/C as the ratio of order (O) to complexity or chaos (C).

 This implies that order alone is boring and not pretty, and that complete chaos is likewise ugly and not pretty,

 and that somewhere in between there is a combination of both that is pleasing to the eye. We may be familiar with the criticism of photos that lack a ‘focal point’ or a subject for our eye to rest on.

When appreciating a photograph, it’s important to be aware of our personal aesthetical perspective.

Much care should be taken if using it as ‘measuring stick’; less so perhaps if the photo is being measured for conformity to an external set of rules or aesthetics, e.g.

photo competitions. But even then, it’s a matter of personal interpretation! Conclusion I believe that recognising that “photographs are experiences captured”,

and that there are three levels of experience to this, is the primary way to appreciate any photograph. Aesthetical considerations are secondary.

And last and least of all, are considerations about the techniques and tools used making the photograph.

 Having said that, in photography the medium (how the photo is presented) is part of the experience.

The problem with ‘evaluating’ or ‘judging’ images is that this necessarily involves some use of ‘measuring sticks’,

when the fundamental nature of photographs is that they are experiential. You just can’t measure or score an experience.

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