Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nature?

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Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nature?

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:25 am

Millions broke down in tears seeing the image of a little girl Hudea in various media recently. It took some time for me to take my eyes and mind off that image staring at little angel's eyes and posture. Wish the world were better. Sigh..

Comparing images like this to the images of nature that we are used to seeing a few thoughts run in my mind. In past we did discuss some of the challenges of nature photography (in this thread and in this thread recently). Having seen hundreds of thousands of images of nature I must admit that nothing in nature photography looks as impact full as the image of Hudea (for my senses). I also think all those up close wide angle images of road kills with speeding blurred vehicle in the background are clichés. We keep seeing so many of them and seem to have developed some resistance to them (unfortunately).

Do you agree? If not please share your thoughts. If you do,

Surrendering to the fact that we understand only human pains do you think we stand some chance in creating high impact images in the cross section of human and nature context?

How do we retain the balance in such images leaving it more tilted towards nature (if we want to remain as nature photographers)
?

Your thoughts are welcome!
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Rajkumar » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:58 am

Thanks Ganesh. Interesting. Here is my take . There is a scientific and poetic angle to it. Let me explain.
Scientific.
One of the abilities of the brain is called " Mirror Neurons " In simple terms it means on seeing somebody else eating for example the same parts of my brain gets activated as if I am eating. Empathy is also based on this phenomenon. This is supposed to be the basis of even development of Language etc. This is a developing theory not yet fully established though. Now my point is we will never know on seeing a "frog" what it is feeling, thinking, fears, dreams etc. So we will never be able to empathize with a frog like we do for another human being . so in that sense pictures involving humans will always have a more direct connect and impact than translated emotions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron#Origin

Poetic
Now a poetic persons transcends this and gives a soul to a flower. Gives it dreams and emotions. Now the receiver of this information also needs to be sensitive and see this projected emotion and relate to it. This make the whole experience selective and abstract and the frequency connection may or may not happen. Sometimes connection is imagined just because I am seeing a Van Gogh. in the absence of this high order connection visual communication in this abstract field can become basic , raw and very quickly cliche like a sunset. Poem versus a limerick :)

Is that the reason why even today we can take sharp head shots of people and still hang it in art gallery and people will say the photographer has captured the soul. it should have been cliche for last 50 years now. Just saying. Where as very difficult to pass of a sharp butterfly as art. It is cliche .

( not a super well thought out theory or anything. Just engaging so I can learn :) )
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Vikas T R » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:45 pm

If we see the same image of Hudea without any description on the circumstances, will we have the same emotion?? In my opinion it is the image AND text that is making the impact here.

The 3rd image in this link http://www.emlii.com/1d70067/29-of-The- ... f-All-Time" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; where we see the scratches on the wall, do we see this as one of the powerful images? When we read the description, then the image makes lot of impact. This image had disturbed me a lot for a very long time. But just the image without any title or description would not have created the same impact.

I had read somewhere that "our imagination is limited by our experiences" so getting emotional by seeing a image or by reading a story or by seeing a painting (like dog looking at the ball) is depends on the experiences of individual. I showed the image of Hudea to few people who were seeing it for the first time and the general response of "cute kid" but when they read the description, respsonse was totally different and all of them were emotional.

If we are not exposed to any pain/fear/death in our life, whether a visual/story of a tragedy will make us emotional?? I believe it is same with Nature photography, only when we come across nature image which relates to some of our emotions, it will make a impact.

Just remembered this poem from Kanakadasa (i dont know how to translate this to English, sorry for that)

ಬಯಲು ಆಲಯದೊಳಗೊ, ಆಲಯ ಬಯಲೊಳಗೊ,
ಬಯಲು ಆಲಯಗಳೆರಡು ನಯನದೊಳಗೊ,
ನಯನ ಬುದ್ಧಿಯೊಳಗೊ, ಬುದ್ಧಿ ನಯನದೊಳಗೊ

ಸವಿಯು ಸಕ್ಕರೆಯೊಳಗೊ, ಸಕ್ಕರೆಯು ಸವಿಯೊಳಗೊ,
ಸವಿಯು ಸಕ್ಕರೆಗಳೆರದು ಜಿವ್ವೆಯೊಳಗೊ,
ಜಿವ್ವೆ ಮನಸಿನೊಳಗೊ, ಮನಸು ಜಿವ್ವೆಯೊಳಗೊ,

Here he talks about what we see/taste is intercepted by brain and not by eyes/tongue.

What i am trying to say is, it is difficult to convey the emotion/impact thru nature photography as everyone has got different level of exposure and respond differently to each emotion. Human emotions may or may not be mapped to what we see in nature and we respond only when we relate to it.
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:26 pm

Now the receiver of this information also needs to be sensitive and see this projected emotion and relate to it. This make the whole experience selective and abstract and the frequency connection may or may not happen.


Agree with you Raj, abstracts that we make can gently touch only those trained minds. The Hudea's image on the other hand can melt down a rock!

Vikas,

If we see the same image of Hudea without any description on the circumstances, will we have the same emotion?? In my opinion it is the image AND text that is making the impact here.


I agree with you, the text provided vital context for the image. However, I am not sure what text to add under an image of a nature which can make it as impactful? I had seen (non nature) images in the link you shared. Extremely powerful images indeed. Can you share such a page for images of nature (of course with descriptions below them)?! Which can hits us like a thunder and nothing less? Like The Last Jew of Vinnitsa? Or Hudea?

I did google for such images of nature in past. Needless to say the search was futile. I did it again, googled for "Powerful images of nature" and several variation of some of the keywords with an intention of finding most memorable images of nature. I stumbled upon pages like this and this and several others. Typical response to most of such images being, Oh, nice one! let me see the next image.

If we are not exposed to any pain/fear/death in our life, whether a visual/story of a tragedy will make us emotional?? I believe it is same with Nature photography, only when we come across nature image which relates to some of our emotions, it will make a impact.


Still searching for such images of nature. Here we deal with a language/expressions which we don't understand fully..

That said, I think we do have some hope, hence the question - will cross section of human-nature open up such possibilities? since part of such expressions can be related?

Closer example is an image like this one?

Can a mixed language help us? But then how do we still keep it tilted towards nature? Lots of questions in mind but no definite answers..
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Rajkumar » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:29 pm

hmmm. Possibly one of the most iconic photos in this line is the " Vulture Stalking the baby"


https://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009 ... g-a-child/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


The photograph created a lot of controversy and the photographer was called another "predator" adjusting his lens instead of helping the child

Sadly the photographer committed suicide three months after he took this picture saying he could not bear all that he had seen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Carter
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:38 pm

Raj, interestingly, (I think) Kevin's is non-nature image while the link I shared above (Gorilla & a boy) is an image of nature!! Both have a human element and an element of nature in them. The only difference is the balance! This is the other part of my question!
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby swapnil19 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:45 pm

The point made by raj sir about mirror neurons and the one made by vikas sir -"our imagination is limited by our experiences" boil it down to the Impact quotient in the photos.
i feel impact generally can be seen more where there are more cultural similarities and the connection between the viewer and the picture. Also as pointed out the description and story behind the image creates more impact. For instance ,hudea's image without any description being shown in another world may not create that Stir between other masses.
Another example worthwhile to mention is raghu rai sir's image of a dead child after the MIC tragedy in bhopal which actually summarised the pain and sufferings of people , reason of impact more being the calamity stuck there.

ganesh sir's quote "abstracts that we make can gently touch only those trained minds."
is a phenomenal revelation made by almost all painters who would have a hard time explaining their work of art to people who normally do no share the similar background to the artist.
When it comes to nature photography, generally natural history moments tend to create more visual impact as they simply find an easy connect and also to our emotions. Sadly a tiger killing a deer always makes an impact , but we always hear a wow instead of anguish as most of us find a relation to tiger more than a deer considering it a victorious moment.

to much of our dismay to find the emotional connect in nature only comes if there is a connection with mankind like the kevin carters pic , or suffering of animals due to human actions. like this here :-
gallery/image_page.php?album_id=16&image_id=9481

hope i made some sense with my two cents here
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Rajkumar » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:40 pm

good discussion

@ Ganesh : interesting point on the two images and their tilt towards nature and human element.

Was just thinking on a tangential note if we walk into a typical pooja room it is full of motifs, images and symbols of nature like : Shells, Fossils, Mice, Snake, Elephant, Trees, Flowers, Leaves, Rivers, mountains, Monkey ( negative connotation of Monkey is western to make fun of Drawin's theory ? ) Roots, Cow, Peacock, Eagle, Lotus, Horse ... (Writing in English like this makes it sound funny on the other hand it helped be detached and list it )

My question is does this in anyway help creating a better emotional impact ? Do we for example have a above average affection for the elephant ?

I am thinking on these lines based on 2 events
- Recently I saw a series by a western artist called " Krishna's mouth" he had done a series on how Yashoda saw the universe in Krishna's mouth.
- One top art photographer was strong in his opinion that western and other artists are making images based on their themes. We should strive to use our symbolisms and make " Indian" pictures
Any thoughts ?
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:21 pm

Raj, I think we had a similar question/discussion earlier about 'Indian pictures'. We all agreed that culture/context will definitely have an impact.
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Prashanth Sampagar » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:08 pm

nothing in nature photography looks as impact full as the image of Hudea

Ganesh, I agree with you on this but not completely. Here are my thoughts on this.
Images with human elements are easy to read/understand compared to images with nature elements.So we instantly connect to images with human subject. However with the nature images, the connection becomes difficult. May be we need to train our minds to read the emotional aspect in these images.

Abstract images need viewer's attention for few extra seconds/minutes/days, sometimes years compared to the images with human subject. Question is how to make a viewer connect to the image and make the viewer spend sometime thinking about the image. I think this is the biggest challenge for any photographer, we can't force the viewer to think in certain direction.

Perhaps, using series of images one can express such things. I have seen many examples here in CNP itself. RD's art of clutter, Nirlepji's human nature interaction series, Ganesh's Missed Monsoon series are very good examples of such things. In RD's art of clutter series, initially it was little difficult(for me) to connect to those images. But now we look for a hidden order in chaos, hidden meaning in the chaos, so basically we pause and spend sometime in reading the images because he has created a series of images. Same goes with Nirlepji's images as well as Ganesh's.

Below is one more such example.
If you see only this image http://www.nickbrandt.com/portfolio.cfm?nK=8877&nS=0&i=219112#image-3 one will feel this as a good nature image. And I think we enjoy the beauty of those elephants and stop there itself. But if you see this image
http://www.nickbrandt.com/portfolio.cfm?nK=14260&nS=0&i=219256#image-2 the perception completely changes. It makes lot more difference to the viewer, even a non-photographer will connect to these images instantly. I think, these two images together create lot more impact than any of these two individually can.

Would love to hear your views.

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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:09 pm

Prashanth, if I have to assign a number for the impact of the image (from my perspective) I would rate -

Hudea's image ~9.5/10
The Last Jew of Vinnitsa ~9.8/10
Kevin Carter's Vulture and Kid ~9.7/10
Nick's image/series you mentioned at 7.5/10
This one at 6.5/10.
and my own "Missed Monsoon" series which you mentioned at 4/10.

Does that make sense? Or will we see a large variance amoung us for such ratings?

I hope that positions my statement nothing in nature photography looks as impact full as the image of Hudea appropriately :)

More importantly the questions I have in my mind (and no answer) are:

Can a pure image of nature be so impactul? We don't understand and often can't relate to it a lot. However, is the difficulty is with us or the medium?
Can man-nature context help us create more powerful visuals?
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Hrishikesh N » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:03 pm

Very interesting discussion. Hudea indeed affects my mind strongly.
Specific to this image, it could be because i (or we as humans) have an option of surrender when faced with danger (by virtue of our nurture). It is quite impossible to create a similar kind of image in nature photography (showing surrender), because the subjects out there may not have that option... I mean.. its only flight or fight. I have never come across a surrender situation in nature, be it plants or animals.

@ Ganesh:
Can a pure image of nature be so impactul? We don't understand and often can't relate to it a lot.


That is a very tough question to answer, as there is always the desire deep inside to create one.

http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Some more historic images there.
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Re: Hudea, Nature Photography, Intersection of Human and Nat

Postby Vijay Mohan Raj » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:59 am

Ganesh and others,

I am sorry I am replying late on this. The whole pictorial world is tilted towards Humans. Nature as a segment is more about what we possess and what we are likely to loose. Nature photographs can never compete with human emotion related pictures because the audience in entirely human.

Infact many of the protected areas creation have been successful by projecting demise of the livelihoods of traditional people than wildlife alone.

I have seen the whole bunch of wildlife images becoming affected by making copies. Copies are now made like never before.

I think there is a growing niche segment of wildlife artists rather than photographers. The word fine art photography is also now abused

Depicting human tragedies is now the current flavour

I have never ever seen people moved significantly by nature catastrophes which concentrated on wildlife only. The Tsunami although depicted as a ecological disaster often shows people displaced but a scientist friend of mine who works in Andamans says the environmental and nature losses are huge.

There is a lot of emphasis for people centric and also nowadays very important is a photograph circulatea and impacts faster because of social media but unfortunately get forgotten easily as well.

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