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88. The King Is Dead, Long Live The King

  • Posted March 29, 2010 by Jon Laysell Viewed 4585 times

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I read in a library book recently that it is in the nature of photography that only the photographer really knows the meaning of a photograph. To explain this point the author (sorry, I can't remember who) included two very similar photos of their own. One which was taken on the hoof and contained no meaning other than that they liked the scene. The other which had been contrived to convey some particular emotion. To see them side by side without any prior knowledge, you'd have never have known which was which.

To be honest when I took this shot yesterday morning, it had no particular meaning. It was just a little macro shot to be used as a filler in case I had nothing else to post. Before I had got it into the house though (it was shot in the garden), I had invented a meaning for it. Before the year is out we face the prospect of a general election and it is likely that that we will have a new Prime Minister. This shot, I thought, could be put by to serve as a goodbye to the old one.

Then yesterday afternoon, I changed my mind. It could be used to signify something far more personal and important to me than a change of political leadership. You see, whilst out with the family yesterday afternoon, my old camera developed a fault (ridiculously long shutter lag). I've tried changing lenses, batteries and CF cards. All to no avail. The problem has just got worse, and now sometimes it refuses to fire at all. To be fair, it's been around the clock more often than a 1970s Volvo, so I can't complain. Egged on by a very understanding family who have promised to eat nothing but bread and scrape for a month, there's a new body coming in the post. Can't wait.

You can play Jarvo's Meanings Game too: All you have to do as take a random shot - something that holds no meaning whatsoever. Then before posting it, invent a situation, emotion or story that this is supposed to represent. Let us know the results here on PB.

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    There are 12 comments, add yours!

    • # Dorothe

      LOL, great idea. Sorry for your old camera, but it is such a good reason to buy a new one. :-))

      2010.03.30 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Thebronzebow

      I notice the feeling of some pic but haven't really tried to tell a story... at least not with just one pic.I'll have to think about that. Nice pic BTW... :)

      2010.03.30 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Larry Nelson

      My sympathy to your starving family, but I fully understand, and you are fortunate that they do, also.
      I love the multiple meaning idea; sometimes explaining a photo takes away some other personal meaning the viewer may have enjoyed in it - and sometimes if we look at it again, it may have new meaning for us.
      Great post, Jon!

      2010.03.30 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Marsha

      Love chess shots....looks like a nice set you have there! I like your idea of a meanings game....

      2010.03.30 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Gerd Korts

      That´s a challenge, I will think about, no I shouldn´t, first the shot and then........got it

      2010.03.29 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Mariez

      Good shot. And I like the comment too. I had a hard time with the concept of sharing emotion through pictures. For me it was more the beauty of it that was talking to me until March 18 where I felt I had to share my emotions through a picture. And I was surprise when I read the interpretation of one Photoblogger because she almost got everything I wanted to share...I will sure try again to communicate trough pictures.

      2010.03.29 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Stefan Fletcher

      Oh dear. Sorry to hear of demise of old camera. What's coming through the mail, then?

      Pity there is a "prime minister" piece in chess, although judging by the behaviour of possible candidates at present, the knight would suffice or the bishop, if you appreciate the fact that in French, that piece is known as "le fou".

      2010.03.29 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Eiram

      you really cannot know ...but exactly the same thing happened to me this morning, when I heard about the terrorist attacks in Moscow, I was looking for a photo that might express how I felt...I do not know if I succeeded, but the photo of an old church window was the closest to my emotion...

      2010.03.29 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Jet28

      Interesting challenge :-) Not sure if it's possible to take a shot that holds no meaning at all ...

      2010.03.29 Edited Reply Cancel