Abstraction vs. Reality

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Ganesh H Shankar
Abstraction vs. Reality
This month's theme "Abstracts in Nature" is very interesting to me. Philosophically, Kant has told us "a thing in itself" is not knowable fully since it has to pass through our limited senses. Probably it is not knowable fully beyond the fact that it exists. In that sense, if we rely on the definition: "All those which are not real" for defining an "abstract" then we are stuck forever! In Kantian sense "everything" in Nature is "abstract"!!

Back to this image, I know this post defies our general notion of "beauty". I think our notion of beauty also stems from the inherent limitation on how our mind operates on the inputs that comes to it from our our sensory system and its limitations to see an "order" from "chaos" (our definitions of them). To what extent our perception of "beauty" may match the "beauty" perceived other creations in Nature? Is that an hypothetical question? Does that matter to us?! I really don't know.

Does the notion of "abstraction" has its roots in failure of our intent to "see" the "reality" (whatever that means) in some way only? Or in a way we normally don't "see" them?!
Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:15 am
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Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

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Ganesh H Shankar  Joined CNP On 24 Apr 2008    Total Image posts 638    -   Total Image Comments 5867    -   Image Post to Comment Ratio 1:9    -   Image Comment Density 39     -     Total Forum Posts 921

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Commentby Rajkumar on Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:07 pm

Hmm interesting. My thought is "reality" as perceived by the senses is a survival instinct. Like the reality of a stone that is thrown and directly coming towards one . One can ignore this reality at their own peril. On the other hand any representation of experience "reality" is an Abstraction. This type of abstraction mankind has been doing for more than. 30000 years . Your image does raise questions ...what is reality ? What is beauty ?

--
Art is about what is inside rather than what is outside


» Last edited by Rajkumar on Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:42 am; edited 1 time in total

Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:10 am

My thought is "reality" as perceived by the senses is a survival instinct.


Raj, that is an interesting view tying "survival instinct" with "reality".

Like the reality of a stone that is thrown and directly coming towards one . One can ignore this reality at their own peril.


I think Kant was prudent enough to state, "thing in itself" exist though we can't say more about it. In that sense it is better to avoid the stone hurled at us :)

How important Anthropic principle,Copernican principle and Mediocrity principle are for our own life/work is a philosophic and *may be an* artistic decision for us to pursue! At the end, I think our life span completes with these never ending confusions about our own life. After a point, saying anything beyond "I don't know" appears very pretentious to me! Of course that should not limit us from thinking and innovating!

--
Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Image
Personal Websites Fine Art Nature Photography
Facebook Pages Ganesh H. Shankar | Fine Art Nature Photography | Art Of Life



» Last edited by Ganesh H Shankar on Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:56 am; edited 3 times in total

Commentby Adithya Biloor on Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:24 am

"All those which are not real" for defining an "abstract"

If this is true , how can nature be abstract? Isn't nature real?

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Regards,
Adithya Biloor
www.lensandtales.com



» Last edited by Adithya Biloor on Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:26 am; edited 1 time in total

Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:55 am

If this is true , how can nature be abstract? Isn't nature real?


That’s the point I was trying to make, Nature is not real!! Our perceived reality is only partial. Every image I made during last 25 years is an abstract in that sense! That said it may sound very uninteresting. But then it not very different than,

“ogate eanee srishti
Balinarthavadeno..”

as described in “Kagga”...

--
Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Image
Personal Websites Fine Art Nature Photography
Facebook Pages Ganesh H. Shankar | Fine Art Nature Photography | Art Of Life



» Last edited by Ganesh H Shankar on Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:04 am; edited 1 time in total

Commentby Nevil Zaveri on Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:17 pm

Very interesting compo, pushing reality to abstractness!
Btw, I am finding all philosophies, abstract!
Regards.

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Nevil Zaveri
http://www.flickr.com/people/nevilzaveri/

Commentby nirlep on Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:38 pm

Abstraction for me is that part of the real for which meaning is yet to arrive. It is also used to put things in broad categories. A bird, animal, flower, human kind, God …. are all abstractions till we start knowing about them, their particularities, peculiarities or uniformities, significances so that we can tell them apart from ourselves and the world. For example the entire family of birds with all their diversity are abstracted as "bird" for the layperson. And how about a day in our lives? A day which we define as the time between two consecutive sunrises. Imagine a person in one such day. Though we might know his basic attributes but for what duration of time do we actually interact with the real him/her. These would probably be the moments when reality is present before us. But what of the time when the person turns his back and disappears for us. Does S'he cease to exist? While it might be an abstraction for us with the person retiring to His/her quarters but factual presence appears elsewhere for some else of which we have no idea. James Joyce captures one such day the 16th of June in the life of the protagonist Leopold bloom in his Novel Ulysses; an immensely unreadable text ;) spanning 730 pages!!! One day and 730 pages and I'm sure the author must've been constrained by time otherwise he would find more activities in the day still left to be de-constructed. However out of these activities very few eventuate into significances that ping us.

In the interregnum of events, activities happen out of definite volition or chance but they become noticeable only in their extra-ordinariness in the sense that they concern us in some way. Rest is all business as usual. So, we ask how was your day? “Exceptional, if we did something exciting or met an old friend or pick up a fight and just okay if it involved just going through the motions. Likewise, in photo making too. We pick up significances and ignore the things in-between, or going further, we try to pick up significances within the in-between things. Coming to the picture here, about something which often does not attract our attention and in that it is part of an abstracted day. Here, we see a man and a woman, probably a couple, carrying out their daily chores. The man lifts what looks like a protective lid of a cock-put to let out the hens for the day. The woman to the right appears engrossed in examining some piece of cloth. Some pieces of tarpaulin coverings await deployment for designated purposes. Birds roosting on top of the tree just keep sitting there- soaking up the sun unspectacularly. There is no sign of an alarm in the birds due to approaching man. They seem to cohabit the space and used to each other’s presence. Everything is in a state of passing. We are able to see it all because somebody has photographed it. For a moment, if we look away, it would make up for a slice from an abstracted day. Things are themselves as they appear. Has the photographer by his arrival altered the very sovereign domain of things in themselves? Looking inside once again into the picture we see man and woman looking in different directions, each engrossed in their own selves. In that sense their individual presences have not yet coalescd for each other yet. From the ease with which they handle their chores we can make out that they are not new to the work at hand. Pelicans on top of the Imli? Tree are set against an equally unspectacular sky. The foliage of trees runs into each other uncharacteristically. In fact the whole scene is one of assimilated presence. The photographer has tried to downplay human presence by aiming higher, including only their torsos. But even with that some gender markers are noticeable; ie. Type of work being performed by man involves lifting unwieldly stuff requiring force and gait, while the woman, fully clad (contrasted to the man wearing a vest) looks intently at something requiring tending. But are these markers not self-evident through our fore-knowledge and thus not of photographer’s making? For me the only question which remains is “Has the photographer tried to interpret the scene while attempting a “things in themselves”? Not really.
The only nit could be that he has tried to compose the scene ;) Rule of thirds at the sky and the trees, white of pelicans offset by the white vest and the entire scene appearing to be balanced by the posture of man carrying his stuff. With this exception
We do see here "things in themselves".
Thanks for sharing Ganesh!

Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:52 pm

Dear Nirlep, thanks taking time to write to share your thoughts in detail.

Coming to first part of your reply, if I understood it right, you relied on not being able to attach a "meaning". This I think is more abstract compared to attempting at defining abstract in terms of "not-real" or "not physical". Many years ago I had downloaded Kindle version of the book Ulysses. Yet to read a page though :( Now I am interested in opening it some day!

Coming to the other part of your reply,

In the interregnum of events, activities happen out of definite volition or chance but they become noticeable only in their extra-ordinariness in the sense that they concern us in some way.
"Likewise, in photo making too. We pick up significances and ignore the things in-between, or going further, we try to pick up significances within the in-between things.


How much we miss just because we don't understand them!

For a moment, if we look away, it would make up for a slice from an abstracted day.


I had a similar feeling which made the whole thing "abstract". The dominant blue tarpaulin seem to disconnect everything further. Many things are happening in the frame where "nothing" is happening!! Is that an abstract? That is what I thought.

The only nit could be that he has tried to compose the scene ;) Rule of thirds at the sky and the trees, white of pelicans offset by the white vest and the entire scene appearing to be balanced by the posture of man carrying his stuff. With this exception
We do see here "things in themselves".


I agree, Nirlep, that is a nit, albeit an unintended one! I think this is where your compositions score!!

--
Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Image
Personal Websites Fine Art Nature Photography
Facebook Pages Ganesh H. Shankar | Fine Art Nature Photography | Art Of Life


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