Photo Shoot in Pakistan -or- Picturing Ourselves Surprised
Collage of Visual Images -or- Understanding Photography
In Mark Twain's "Notebook", he tells the reader; "Waking, I cannot create in my mind a picture of a room...but my dream self can do...this with the accuracy and vividness of a camera." Linda Haverty Rugg "Picturing Ourselves: Photography and Autobiography" asks; "Did the invention of photography transform the way we picture ourselves?". Using the voyeuristic camera Rugg explores the autobiographies and visual images of Mark Twain, August Strindberg, Walter Benjamin and Christa Wolf.
For Marshall McLuhan "Understanding Media"; "The power of the camera to be everywhere and to interrelate things is well indicated in the Vogue magazine boast (March 15, 1953): ‘A woman now, and without having to leave the country, can have the best five (or more) nations hanging in her closet-beautiful and as compatible as a statesman's dream.' That is why in the photographic age, fashions have come to be like the collage style in painting."
Here is a dream that matches McLuhan's "photographic" description perfectly. Here is the dream;
I saw my large, full size portrait, dressed in peach orange shade, looking pretty & stylish. It was like a photo shoot, but in the dream when I saw my portrait I was surprised by seeing it; is it me?
The Surprise of Dora Maar -or- On Photography: Feminism, Vision, and Love
Surprise is an emotion that usually signals a discrepancy between what a person expects and how reality presents itself. Said differently, often it is the feeling experienced when our expectations are in error, fail or are defeated. Charles Darwin "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals" discussing the feeling of surprise, finds its facial features emotionally engraved in photographs. Your portrait when you see it does not match your expectation and you are surprised. You ask; "is it me?"
A photo shoot is used in a variety of industries including the fashion industry, where "models" display the cultural goods of the "culture industry". From a feminist perspective, Rugg tells her readers, that; "The photographic image has been a contested site in feminist practice, for feminists have recognized in photographs the objectification of the body, the creation of the body as a passive image that cannot resist construction from the viewing subject. Feminist cinematic studies in particular have construed the viewer as male and the objectified body as female." Such "objectification" can be found in "glamour photography".
From an artistic perspective, (as stated earlier), McLuhan believes that; "in the photographic age, fashions have come to be like the collage style in painting." The modern art technique of collage was introduced by the likes of Pablo Picasso. Picasso's lover and muse Dora Maar (see Picasso's "portrait" painting and real life photograph in the theatre above) was seen by him as "The Weeping Woman". Are you surprised?
- Susan Sonntag, "On Photography"
- Laura Mulvey's essay, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"
- Marjorie Rosen, "Popcorn Venus: Women, Movies, and the American Dream"
- Molly Haskell’s "From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in Movies"