Paul Seawright

I found what he had to say quite interesting and it also resonated with me since I teach literature to high school students and we just so happen to be working on implicit and explicit information via the IGCSE program.  The IGCSE exam board makes it very clear that a student who can extrapolate the implicit meaning will get higher marks than the one who can just see the explicit information.

In this vein, Seawright says that photographic work that is too explicit is journalistic and too implicit it loses meaning.  He also says he likes to engage the viewer but give away the meaning slowly.  This is the same, for me at least, with good literature.  If everything is handed to you, it isn’t as good as a piece with more implicit information, which is also harder to get. And like literature and non-fiction writing (newspapers for example) if you put an art photograph in a newspaper article people won’t spend the time deconstructing it so what is needed there is a journalistic shot where the information is handed to you.

If we were to look at a journalistic piece as art, I think that yes, the meaning would change simply by the fact that the context will have changed.  When something is ‘art’ I personally tend to contemplate more on the meaning or read the blurb that goes with it trying to see what the artist was trying to do which is not the process I go through with a journalistic piece.  We all read and decipher images and text with our own guise and have different contexts and reading of things, but once something enters the art world, I think it takes one a new layer and one needs to look more closely at context, purpose, and audience to make deeper sense of it.


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