Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Equivalence" a Perennial Trend ~ Minor White 1963

F 9 ISO 100 Shutter 1.6 sec Focal length 100 Lens 70-200 2.8 Nikon D4
In 1963 when Minor White wrote an article for the PSA Journal on "Equivalence", I was barley 11 years old and "equivalents" to me were measured in Quarts: Pints: Gallons...I still have to look them up when I want to know...except for the old adage a pints a pound the world around...but now as a "maturing" photographer the idea of "Equivalence" in photography theory as opposed to "equivalents" is more interesting. It really brings to the fore front of our image making the idea of ~ what we photograph, how we photograph and what is the connection to the photographer's inner self. I know myself, I move through many styles, techniques and subjects as I move through time in my personal image making. How about you? What do your images say? When thinking in Equivalence?

Here is a brief clip of the article Minor White authored on the subject of Equivalence.

Minor White ~ When any photograph functions for a given person as an Equivalent we can say that at that moment and for that person the photograph acts as a symbol or plays the role of a metaphor for something that is beyond the subject photographed. We can say this in another way; when a photograph functions as an Equivalent, the photograph is at once a record of something in front of the camera and simultaneously a spontaneous symbol......When the photographer shows us what he considers to be an Equivalent, he is showing us an expression of a feeling, but this feeling is not the feeling he had for the object that he photographed. What really happened is that he recognized an object or series of forms that, when photographed, would yield an image with specific suggestive powers that can direct the viewer into a specific and known feeling, state or place within himself.

For the complete article your can click here and read more of Minor White's article.

So, thinking "Equivalence" ~ and my image above:
On a recent photography/fall odyssey trip, I found myself in a quiet forest beside a small stream and delicate waterfall. I began photographing and used a neutral density filter to slow the water and made many attempts to find a composition or image that I really liked given the space I was working in and nothing seemed to be working for me, in other words I didn't like my images...until I found this pairing of two rocks strewn with fall leaves that had to me the appearance of a broken heart and  maybe the leaves were symbolic of what was left behind from a relationship and the water swirling the washing away, I really don't know but "Yes" I said, that is the scene and the image that I want to make work for on the clump of collected leaves with the dreamlike water surrounding them. Well OK... here is where the idea of "Equivalence" comes in: I had just had an 8 year relationship end with a big disappointment to me. I really believe the theory of Equivalence was at play this day so poignantly in my image making. We all recognize what the symbol of a broken heart image means. In the end, I loved the final image and find it beautiful! Life itself with the renewing flow of water...rock solid....plants the cycle of life...centered in the much to see in this little picture....what does it make you feel?
How does your imagery reflect the theory of "Equivalence"? (I hope you got a chance to read the full article, it is very heady) or are you just trying to get the next best shot, beat out the other photographer or are they inextricably woven together?? When you make images just for yourself how different are they than when you are trying to get the next best shot? or not? Just sayin!
I will be making two presentations at Nature Visions Photography Expo in Virginia on November 15 and 16.
Hope you can join me there!
Nature Visions  Click here for more information and registration.

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