On Photography

Dear Readers,
we are sorry, due to a WordPress-problem some of you got this article twice. First it didn’t appear in the Reader and then twice. Nevertheless enjoy it!
With lots of love from the little village next the big sea
The Fab Four of Cley

***

On Photography
Über eine Fotografie

 

As the consciousness is getting conscious of itself and by doing so destroying the identity of man and nature the picture is getting more and more immaterial.

So wie das Bewusstsein sich seiner selbst bewusst wird und damit die Identität von Natur und Mensch schwindet, nimmt das Bild eine zunehmend immatrielle Bedeutung an.

Siri, Buchfee (after reading Siegfried Kracauer)

Icelandic Church, Snaefellsnes Peninsular

    Chillbrook’s  “Icelandic Church, Snaefellsnes Peninsular” @ Adrian Theze, Cornwall Photographic

We Bookfayries and Dina and our Master are so happy that Chillbrook gave us this photograph. We fluttered assiduously through our house looking for a place of honour. One wall only could do justice to this picture.

Wir Buchfeen und Dina und Masterchen sind sooo froh, dass uns Chillbrook diese Fotografie schenkte. Emsig flatterten wir durchs Haus, einen Ehrenplatz für das Bild zu finden; nur eine Wand wurde diesem Bild gerecht.

Why are we that fascinated by this photography?
It is this playing with reality following Friedrich Schiller’s belief “Man is an entire man only there where he plays“. Chillbrook uses the reality as a means of production and he alienates it twice by his intention when taking the shot and by the digital post processing. What forms this intention? We suppose it is the photographer’s consciousness which is formed by his history of reception, which shapes his idea from the ideal picture. This ideal picture is quite often the medium deviation from what is expected because this is seen as interesting. Thus the photographer lives and works in the world of pictures and uses reality as means of producing his art.

Was fasziniert uns an dieser Fotografie?
Für uns ist es das Spiel mit der Wirklichkeit. Ganz im Sinne Schillers “Der Mensch ist nur da ganz Mensch, wo er spielt” wird bei diesem Bild die Realität als Produktionsmittel genommen und sie gleich doppelt verfremdet durch die Intension des Fotografen bei der Aufnahme und bei der späteren Bildbearbeitung. Was prägt diese Intention? Wir meinen, es ist das Bewusstsein des Fotografen, das durch dessen Rezeptionsgeschichte geprägt ist, die seinen Erwartungshorizont und damit seine Idee vom idealen Bild prägt. Das ideale Bild bildet die mittlere Abweichung vom diesem Erwartungshorizont, denn diese wirkt interessant. Der Fotograf lebt und arbeitet also in der Welt der Bilder und nutzt die Realität als Produktionsmittel.

We are fascinated not only by the subtle shades of colours, a speciality of the art of photography, but also by the symbolic statement that culture is so small in comparison to mighty nature. At the same time the composition is restricted, only what’s important is reproduced, everything that doesn’t fit the intention is left out.  

Uns faszinieren an diesem Bild nicht nur die subtilen Farbnuancen, eine Spezialität der fotografischen Kunst, sondern auch die symbolische Aussage, dass die Kultur so winzig angesichts der mächtigen Natur ist. Zugleich beschränkt sich die Komposition auf das Wichtigste und unterdrückt, was der Idee nicht dienlich ist.

It seems to us that the difference between object (significat) and picture (significant) has grown with the increase of technique of the camera, the filters and lenses and the digital post-processing. Chillbrook as digital photographer uses this alienation to communicate a perplexing seeing. This is an honest photography as it doesn’t pretend to picture the outside world but presenting itself as an artefact.

Mit der Zunahme der Technik bei Kamera, Filter und Linse und der digitalen Bildbearbeitung scheint uns die Entfernung vom Objekt (Signifikat) und dem Bild (Signifikant) mächtig groß geworden ist. Chillbrook als digitaler Fotograf nutzt diese Entfremdung, um ein verblüffendes Sehen zu vermitteln. Das Bild ist ehrlich, da es weniger vorgibt, Abbild der Realität zu sein, sondern sich als Artefakt präsentiert.

The artistic character of this photograph is reflected in its complexity as being artefact and reflection of the essence of the North at the same time. This essence of the North is emptiness. We Bookfayries immediately associate tohuwabohu, the Hebrew word describing emptiness at the beginning of all times. This emptiness is archaic, before culture, or as it is expressed in this picture, it is far more powerful than the culture symbolised by the church and the houses. We understand this as an ecological statement and last not least as romantic.
Did you came across the notion horror vacui? This is the angst of the emptiness or nothingness, which the Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli evoked in the 17th c. This fear produced a horror up to our century. But no fear comes without fascination as we know since Romanticism.
At the same time this emptiness enables an overview, opening up our horizon and asks for being filled with the projections of the perceiver.

Die Kunstfertigkeit in diesem Bild sehen wir in seiner Vielschichtigkeit, dass es nämlich zugleich Artefakt als auch die Wiedergabe der Essenz des Nordens ist: nämlich der Leere. Gleich beim ersten Blick assoziierten wir Buchfeen das Hebräische tohuwabohu, das die Leere der Welt zu Beginn der Zeiten beschreibt. Diese Leere ist archaisch, vor der Kultur oder wie hier im Bild ausgedrückt, weitaus mächtiger als die Kultur symbolisiert durch Kirche und Haus. Darin sehen wir auch eine ökologische Aussage und nicht zuletzt eine romantische.
Habt ihr vom Horror Vacui gehört, dieser Angst vor der Leere, die der italienische Physiker Evangelista Torricelli im 17. Jh. beschwor? Diese Angst sollte bis hin zu Einstein den Menschen einen Schauer einjagen und genau dieses Schauerliche zelebrierten die Romantiker in ihrer Kunst. Jegliche künstlerische Aussage ist vieldeutig. So gibt diese Leere zudem einen Überblick und spricht unsere Weitsicht wie unsere Projektionen an.

Every photograph acts alienating not only concerning space but also concerning time. It makes time come to a standstill why it is blamed as ahistorical and non-ideological. But a picture like this rebels consciously against the constant passing away of pictures and remains in meditation. However the changing of all pictures is reflected in the dynamics of the clouds which produce in us a feeling like a movement in stillness.

Jede Fotografie wirkt nicht nur inbezug auf dem Raum, sondern ebenso inbezug auf die Zeit verfremdend. Sie friert die Zeit ein, weswegen man ihr Geschichts- und Ideologielosigkeit vorwarf. Eine Fotografie wie diese lehnt sich jedoch bewusst gegen das ständige Vergehen der Bilder auf und nimmt damit eine meditative Haltung ein. Außerdem entsteht der Wandel durch die Darstellung der Dynamik der Wolken, die Betrachter wie uns Bewegung in der Ruhe assoziieren lässt.

We find it understandable that this photograph became the picture of the day of the National Geographic magazine.

Nicht ohne Grund bekam dieses Foto die Auszeichnung “Foto des Tages” von National Geographic.

We are sooo happy
Wir freuen uns sooo sehr
Siri and Selma

 

© Text and illustrations, Hanne Siebers and Klausbernd Vollmar,  Cley next the Sea, 2016

123 thoughts

    • Good morning, dear Anneli,
      We think everybody can find something amazing in this photo as it has so many levels. Our Master was taken by its symbolism, Dina by the composition and colours and Siri & Selma by their imagening of the Trolls living in the mountains.
      Thank you very much and all the best
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Anneli
      Well, we would say only good pictures say a thousand words. Quite a lot of picture say nothing or something one has heard a thousand times before.
      Extraordinary good pictures say more than we are able to write.
      Thanks for your answer.
      All the best
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for sharing these interesting observations, and the beautiful photo of Chill Brook. The most important thing for my photography is my enthusiasm but your words have created a new reflection on me. Thank you🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Guten Morgen, liebe Pia,
      je länger wir dieses Bild etrachten, desto mehr Ebenen erkennen wir in ihm. Das scheint uns das Wesen großer Kunst zu sein.
      Wir wünschen dir ein wunderschäönes Wochenende
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • Danke, euch auch, am Sonntag gehe ich mit Trude, der 91 Jährigem Vorgängerin essen…sie hat viel zu erzählen, ihre Tochter leitet an der Cote Azur ein Hotel.
      Einmal habe ich die Abmeldung einer Schülerin der Tanzschule kassiert: Die Mutter fand es nicht gut, dass ich ihre Tochter darauf hinwies, dass sie den Namen einer Göttin auf ihrem Sport-T-Shirt trug…so empfindlich reagieren da manche…
      Ja, ich brauche dringend Erholung!

      Ihr habt natürlich auch einen supertollen Text zum Bild geschrieben, vergaß ich ganz zu loben…
      Eine Tanz-Familie reist nach Island, sie sollen mir einen kleinen Vulkanstein mitbringen, ich sagte: Bitte fragt aber vorher den Stein, ob er mit will…zum Glück verstehen die Spaß!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hallihallo, liebe Pia,
      ja, wir haben uns richtig Mühe gegeben und es hat uns Spaß gemacht, Fotografie auf einer tieferen Ebene zu verstehen. Aber wir müssen zugeben, unser kluges Masterchen half uns beim Schreiben.
      Ganz viel güldenen Feenhauch
      Siri 🙂 und 🙂 Selma

      Like

    • Ja ihr lieben Buchfeen, Pialein sitzt mal wieder tränenüberströmt am PC und schaut sich an , was in der Welt los ist…..
      Wir gehen jetzt mal was essen und dann mache ich wieder meine Singübungen…
      Vielleicht fällt mir auch ein schönes Liedchen ein, damit die Sonne wieder lacht!
      Gut, dass ihr euer Masterchen habt, drückt ihn mal von mir!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Super, Danke!
      Ihr seid die Besten!
      Einkaufen muss ich auch noch….
      Einmal hatten wir Hubbard Street Dance Chicago zu Besuch im Ballettsaal, das war wirklich auch eine interessante Begegnung, könnte ich euch erzählen, aber wir haben jetzt Hunger!
      Liebste Grüße an die Vogelküste!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Pia,
      schwitzend hereinkommend vom Garten wünschen wir dir flugs ein wunderbar leichtes Wochenende.
      Frohes Tanzen
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂🙂🙂🙂

      Like

  2. Congratulations, Adrian! That’s a great photo. And a very sophisticated text, Siri and Selma.❤

    I'm aware of the WordPress with this beautiful post. First it was not in the Reader, then after 6 hours it suddenly appeared twice and now the oriinal post is there, just as Hanne told me.

    Hugs from Spain, it's hot here!
    Tone and Jostein

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is breathtakingly good. I have never given a photo so much thoughts, but your reflections are interesting.
    What a WordPress-mess,
    I’m so sorry for you and the artist behind the award winnning photo!!
    Ha en god helg,🙂
    Hjerter❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good morning, dear Hjerter,
      we were sooo disappointed when this post didn’t appear in the Reader. WordPress sometimes is that unreliable!
      Thanks for loving the photo and our reflections🙂
      Wishing you a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Adrian, dear Fab Four,
    I’ve been to Iceland many times and what a bliss to see it like this. Empty and open, quiet and peaceful.
    The photographer has created a beautiful illusion of emptiness, a landscape almost free of people. On our last visit we had the impression Iceland had more tourists than residents.
    Greetings to you all from Tromsø,
    god helg!
    Per Magnus

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good morning, dear Per Magnus,
      indeed, Iceland is crowded with tourists nowadays. It’s a pity! Our dear Master has been there several times about 30 years ago and then the landscape presented itself like on Adrian’s photograph. Nowadays one has to get up horribly early for taking such an unpeopled photograph (too early for us!).
      Thanks and take care
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  5. My Fab Four of Cley,
    Not being a photographer, I can not completely comprehend what Chillbrook did with this scene, but I can fully appreciate the final effect. I keep scrolling back to view it and discover a different emotion within myself with each visit. It is understandable that you would wish to have this on a wall by itself. Thank you for sharing it with us all.
    GP Cox

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear GP Cox,
      especially our beloved Bookfayries Siri and Selma believe in sharing art and it’s a pleasure to share it 🙂
      Every layer of this picture triggers special emotions. We suppose that makes it that interesting.
      We wish you a very happy weekend and thanks for commenting
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Pete,
      we are collecting art – well, only on a very small and personal level – because we like to have art and books around us. And we are very happy to have Chillbrook’s photograph in our collection and that we can enjoy it every day.
      From sunny Cley warm greetings. Wishing you an easy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A magnificent photo which appeals both to the mind and the senses. I must say that the ‘space’ in the photo worries me a bit, so perhaps I have some horror of empty spaces. Interestlingly most of the colouring books which are so trendy at the moment seem to be of the horror vacui variety. The colouring of the intricate designs is supposed to be therapeutic and calming. Calming our fear of empty space, perhaps.😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Bryan,
      for us the whole atmosphere radiated by Adrian’s photography is so typical nordic, isn’t it?
      We envy you for having been for a couple of month on the Lofotens. We want to go in two years as well.
      We just saw – shame on us for not seeing it before – that you have your Gurdjieff connections as well.
      Wishing you a Great weekend and thanks for your commentary
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Adrian’s work is stunning and I especially enjoy looking at his Icelandic photography. He captures the raw beauty of that land so well.
    So, Dina and Bookfayries, when are YOU going to Iceland?😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh dear, dear Jude,
      we asked this our beloved Master as well. He is a bit hesitant beause he has been several time in Iceland and thinks it’s much too crowded with tourists nowadays. Well, you know he therefore prefers Greenland, Jan Mayen and Franz-Josef-Land. Poor us, so we will never see Iceland, we suppose. No, he isn’t that cruel, he promised on our next expedition we will go via Iceland. But our next Artic stop will be the Lofoten islands, other direction but quite similar to Iceland we were told and we will see.
      Please, please keep your fingers crossed that we soon will experience Iceland.
      With lots of love and wishing you a relaxing weekend and thanks for commenting
      Dina 🙂 , Siri🙂 & 🙂 Selma
      and, of course, warm greetings from our Master as well!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. It’s a gorgeous photograph. I tend to go through the medium to enjoy the essence of the art in, I guess, some kind of final, central way. I have not considered much how digital technology is part of both intention and challenge. A challenge to the age. The buildings next to the huge outcropping. The striking color of the land. These do speak to me in a way that is, yes, timeless and romantic. The sky is full of texture. A full vacuum, as it were, representing both emptiness and openness in nature.

    Thank you for sharing such a learned reflection! Thank you for sharing the image–yes, easily deserving of National Geographic’s attention!

    Delighted to hear of your happiness, I remain,
    your friend
    Christopher

    (from the MidAtlantic region of the USA, where we are having a relentless heat wave, meaning that your work is balm)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Our dear friend Christopher,
      thanks for commenting🙂
      You mention the interesting question how much is planned, how much is intuition, feeling and experience. We suppose that the digital photography is stressing the conscious part of photographing – especially the post production with programmes like Lightroom or Photoshop.
      We have confortable tempeatures right now, 25 C and quite sunny. Actually we don’t like temperatures above 25 C, well, we are nordic!
      Lots of love from the North Norfolk coast
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  9. It is indeed a gorgeous picture!! I see it as the gathering of man, and the faith of man, even when isolated from much. And the insignificance of man to the world God made around us. I love the broad plane as much as the magnificent mountains, or the gorgeous light-bearing clouds. Lovely

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jeff,
      thanks for commenting 🙂
      The world is presented here as the product evolution and culture like religion doesn’t matter, it’s insignificant. So I would read this picture. But, of course, every recipient projects his or her ideology on this work of art. We suppose one of the aims of art is making you aware of your ideological fixations.
      All the best from the sunny coast of North Norfolk
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Like

  10. Wow, that photo is stunning. The light is amazing.

    I remember following Chillbrook’s blog very early on when he started out blogging and even then, his seascapes had a beautiful quality, but now, his photographic work is remarkable. Of course it also helps to have the light and nature working in unison.

    I can well appreciate why Iceland has become Adrian’s favourite location.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Vicki,
      we mostly like Adrian’s minimalistic photographs taken in Iceland as well.
      Of course, it’s a great help when nature is co-creating with light and landscapes. But for us the most important point is how the photographer is using all this.
      Have a happy weekend and thanks for commenting
      Klausbernd and Dina

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Siri and Selma, Dina and Klausbernd, I am so honoured that you chose to use this photograph for your discourse on the photographic process. I am so very touched and glad that you are enjoying the picture so much.
    I was hugely interested reading your words. It got me thinking about how much of what you have said regarding composition and the impact this particular collection of elements would have and I must say in all honesty for my part at least, there wasn’t a huge amount of conscious thought in the process of taking the picture. It’s an instinctive thing for me. When we rounded a bend and I saw this scene with the church and the mountain I knew immediately I had a picture, no analysis.
    We drove on for a bit knowing there would be another picture around the next corner, such is Iceland but eventually I had to turn back. This was a picture I had to take. I found the spot where the elements in the composition were best balanced by driving down a farm track from the main road. It was a photography day, the sunshine and sleet showers were creating such drama but I had to wait. I had to wait for the light to be just right. That took about an hour. I wanted the sunshine on the church and the mountainside, I also wanted to capture a shower sweeping across the landscape. Thankfully the weather was very dynamic that day (as it so frequently is in Iceland) so the wait wasn’t too long but I think I would have waited all day.
    I heard a quote a little while back, unfortunately I now can’t find the source but it was a critic talking about photographs and to paraphrase he said he honestly didn’t know what made a good photograph only he knew a good photograph when he saw one. I think this is what we have to do as photographers. Whether it’s instinctive or learned we need to recognise the picture when we see it and be prepared to wait or even return for all the elements to come together to create the picture that, once we’ve seen it, we always have in our heads. In the lightroom just as photographers did in the darkroom before digital photography, we then make the photograph come to life and match the image in our heads by carefully processing the negative or RAW file.
    Thank you once again for giving me such an insight. This really was fascinating to read because what you say of course is all true only I didn’t know it at the time.. or did I? This is what interests me so much because on a conscious level all I had was an instinctive need to take this is a picture.
    I’d also like to thank everyone who has commented here for their very kind words.
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend all of you!
    Adrian🙂 x

    Liked by 4 people

    • Good morning, dear Adrian
      and what a great morning, 25 degrees already and sunshine🙂
      Sorry that we didn’t answer before, but we were busy busy in the garden.
      Thanks for your detailed reply 🙂
      As a dedicated photographer you don’t need to reflect consciously composition etc. of the picture you want to take. That’s an internalised part of your intuition. And your intuition is formed by your experience and seeing other photographer’s pictures. I would say all the know-how is stored in your pre-consciousness. W. Kandinsky once said that a good artist has to know a lot but when he is producing his/her art it’s not conscious, it’s there on this intuitive level. First knowledge and reflection, then experience and in the end the production of art.
      All the best and have a happy week🙂
      With lots of love xxx
      Klausbernd
      and warm greetings from Dina, Siri & Selma

      Like

    • It is indeed a glorious day Klausbernd. A real taste of summer at last. Enjoy and enjoy the week ahead all of you. How can you not on the beautiful north Norfolk coast!🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

    • Truly a wonderful photograph, Adrian. It sends chills!
      Whenever I see your work (and I’m a very poor follower- too easily distracted by running around) I think of Poppytump. Could you give her a hug from me, please? I haven’t seen her around the blogs in a while. Thank you in anticipation. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I have admired Adrian’s work for a long time now and it is so great that his work offers so much pleasure. A very instinctive photographer I would say, absorbs the scene to make the quick decision to photograph or not. This to me is the essence of photography, capturing the moment, mood atmosphere so that we can all experience it in so way , whether it be different to the photographers or not. It is experiencing an emotion of what we seen in front of us. Hope you are all well and have a great week.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for your commentary.
      We agree, the essence of photography is capturing the moment – although Roland Barthes critisized this idea with his argument that painting and in another subtle way writing does this as well. Capturing the moment has its disadvantages because every moment is a product of a process, but one photograph can hardly show any kind of development.
      As I wrote to Adrian a photographer intuitively sees where he can take his picture, but that’s not naive. It’s a “learned intuition”, I suppose.
      We Fab Four wishing you a Great week
      🙂🙂🙂🙂

      Like

  13. I am sitting in Starbucks at Simon Fraser University which is positioned on the top of a mountain. The architecture is based on the Parthenon concept where all come together to dialogue. I used my iPhone to take a video and photos, one of which is of “Freedom Square” so named in commemoration of the rallies held here March 17 – 20, 1967 and the students, teaching assistants and faculty who gave of themselves in the cause of academic freedom. I will be sending these photos out to my family. Your post was a reminder that photography defies time simply because it refuses to move on. It stands still as a monument to one moment – forgetting was has passed and what will be. Whether it has meaning to us, well that is another matter altogether. Over the past few years, I have become interested in studying photographers via their photography. The personalities are there behind the lens – and they are remarkable. Dina’s photography is a source of inspiration to me. Her joy of life and compassion for her viewer comes through in every photo. Many hugs and lots of love to my dear friends, the Fab Four of Cley.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good morning, dear Clanmother,
      actually I am not a photographer but I always wanted to shoot a series “photographing photogaphers”. When I watch Dina photographing it sometimes looks like yogic exercises. Siri, Selma and me can’t help laughing.
      When we think about photographers it seems to us that there are the naive ones and the more professional ones. The naive ones going back in history to the Romantics, the cult of the genius who just does, and they quite often believe that they reproduce the outside reality. The more professional ones know that the use reality as a means of producing their art. They have internalised a lot of knowledge – I wrote about it in my two comments above.
      The magic of photography is that it helps to remember a certain point of time – that’s its advantage and disadvantage at the same time. A picture cannot show development, therefore some photographers produce series.
      Our dear friend on the other side of the world, we wish you a GREAT and happy week, HUGs xxx
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • One of the best things about your blog is the dialogue that follows – enjoy every one of the comments and responses. There is so much to understand about art, reality and – more importantly how we engage and participate, whether we are professional or a naive photography. Thank you, my dear Fab Four of Cley for sharing your insights. Many hugs coming back your way.

      Like

    • Good morning, dear Brenda,
      fortunately there are still such romote places. Quite a lot of them, we know of, are in the Arctic: Greenland, Jan Mayen, Bear Island, Franz Josef Land but you can find them here in Norfolk as well and in the Alps and Siberia too.
      With warm greetings from the sunny sea
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, dear Sarah,
      it’s so hot here as well, too hot to think.
      Thanks for liking the picture and our ideas about it. Well, Siri and Selma are so clever Bookfayries!
      Wishing you a happy day
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂🙂🙂🙂

      Like

  14. As I remarked to Adrian, I am a very bad follower, who didn’t make it into the Reader to even see this once, let alone twice, but in this instance, twice would have been great. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, and for your thoughts. 🙂 My very best to you all.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: On Photography — The World according to Dina – The Best of the Bloggers

    • Good morning, dear Jane,
      thank you so much for your kind commentary. Great, that you like our post 🙂
      As I am an author living together with a photographer I like to think about the different worlds of words and pictures.
      Wishing you a happy day
      Klausbernd and the rest of TheFab Four of Cley

      Like

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