Reading an image

I’ve used this image to practice reading and deconstructing an image.

I was at a wedding during the summer and although I was taking a lot of photographs, this one appeared in front of me as I took a break. I was looking at the group for a couple of minutes when I realised it was an almost perfect unintentional tableau-I couldn’t have arranged it better if I was trying. Somehow its almost like a movie still.

Taking what I learned from the course I played with its potential meanings and specifically the interplay between caption, image and viewer.

If I caption it ‘Wedding group in garden’, it pretty much describes what it is and anchors its meaning. If, however I give it an ambiguous caption, say ‘Argument’, then it adds a degree of uncertainty and forces the viewer to search for the source of the argument-is it the chap second from the right standing? Is the chap sitting in the middle uncomfortable with whats being said? The lady standing second from left doesn’t seem too pleased. Or are they discussing something and don’t want any one top hear and the chap standing on the right has spotted the photographer?

I could go on, but what it tells me is that photographic language, like written language is malleable and this enriches the experience but it also reduces its reliability as an exact depiction of reality.

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