a picture for today 09/08/2014

okay todays picture is one of those photographs that at first glance don’t seem to convey much, indeed you have to be quite an observant person who knows their history to be able to pick up on the few clues there is, many would probably not give it a second look yet i find this photograph makes me feel unsettled, it spooks me in a way and such is it depth it  to me is definitely a moment of history captured although not one many would immediately vote as any kind of iconic photograph as i am sure there are way too many such iconic photographs around and i am sure you have all seen many and those of you who know me will smile and say that i have never been one for the mainstream and surely you would be right so today here is a photo to make you think?

here ya go

looking beyond the boundaries of what makes a good photgraph

looking beyond the boundaries of what makes a good photograph?

so you see the photo now for some background;

(David E. Scherman, April 30th, 1945) Vogue photographer Lee Miller was snapped by her colleague, Scherman, sitting in Adolf Hitler’s Munich residence bathtub. Scherman, a LIFE magazine correspondent, and Miller teamed up on many assignments during this time period. This was the most iconic image from the partnership, and was taken on the very same day that Hitler and Eva Braun took their lives in Berlin. Said The New York Times of this photo, “A picture of the Führer balances on the lip of the tub; a classical statue of a woman sits opposite it on a dressing table; Lee, in the tub, inscrutable as ever, scrubs her shoulder. A woman caught between horror and beauty, between being seen and being the seer.”

so why do i include it ? because whether or not a picture is a good photo should extend beyond merely being aesthetically pleasing, sure there are many hundreds of beautiful photos out there and in fact we have gone from bemoaning the idea of photo’s taking the place of art if we want ‘correct’ pictures to now where we have art that is so good it looks like a photo and photos which are labelled fine art, so that category is done to extremes, no here i wish only to point out that a photo has many ‘layers’ it can shock us, teach us, make us think differently, make us reset our thoughts to such paradigm shifts that we are changed forever and never go back, a perfect example for me would be the photo f the man with a gun to his head moments before he is shot it is iconic and one of the most famous photos of the 21st century but it chilled me to the bone and i felt so horrific at seeing it  that part of me that first saw it changed forever that day.
So what am i getting at here well though this doesn’t place such violence in plain sight this photo has depths that on first glance are not revealed and to me when i looked closer i saw why i felt unsettled i felt worse than that i felt moved and offended and yes shocked as well this photo on second look managed to make me feel a whole range of emotions and it is because not only on inspection it shows hitler, and in such a way as to be ornamental? his picture placed in among the background and that for me was the first and biggest moment of horror to me to display a picture of hitler in such a common place as a bathroom was at odds with just about all my ethics, but also the idea of a woman taking a bath with hitler staring at her? i shuddered
when i read the description at first i was horrified, who thinks to set up a picture like this? who actually starts their day and thinks hmm i know what i will do today i will get some woman sit her in hitlers bathtub and take a picture that oughta kill some time.
then to read that as this woman who clearly agrees with this idea or maybe it was her idea? or the both of them at the same time? but to read that as they set up this picture it was taken at the same moment in history as the very day hitler and eva braun took their lives
now i imagine many people have many complex feelings about hitler in fact it is rather impossible to not have an opinion on him but to know any of the history at all to know of the atrocities to know of the carnage of the decimation to know of the sheer hell on earth this one man produced and all those feelings that go with that heinous knowledge yet here in one brief moment in time he ends his life as some woman sits in his bathtub and places her naked self between his portrait and some statuette thinking it was a good idea, it was to me shocking, offensive, vile, how  on earth could anyone put themselves in that position? and their only excuse is they thought it was a good idea at the time? the world is full of crap all resulting from what seemed like a good idea at the time,
so there you go this photo remained one of those that carved itself a little niche in my mind i didn’t want it to and i am sure there will be other times when a photo will leave me feeling a range of negative feelings but to me when a person any person goes t create any image whether in the name of art or education or any other reason they give i think they should first stop and think why are they putting this out there? and why on earth do they think it is something that is a good idea, what reasons do they use to justify the existence of that image because if an image is so strong and so able to produce a recoil in people then does it really need to exist? and though this is a subject for another time but i think using ‘art’ as some kind of reason is not always going to sit well with me and in this case the idea of just because will never sit well with me
love and peace to all

8 responses

  1. Wow! This speaks volumes to me! I it’s the classic phrase “you can’t judge a book (image) by it’s cover.” In life one never knows what another is going through just beneath the surface.

    1. glad you appreciated the idea and depth of such a picture there are times when i worry that i think too deeply about things so its good when i find others who see also, thank you for dropping by
      love and peace be with you

      1. Hmmmm …. can one think too deeply? I too am a deep thinker, always looking at life and events from a different perspective in the hopes of gaining understanding.

  2. A very thoughtful and insightful post. I saw the picture immediately and wondered who the woman was. Very strange but seemingly not contrived? Multi-layered indeed.

    1. hi thank you for such lovely comments i confess i tend to get my soapbox out when i am perturbed by something, then later i worry i have written a post that won’t be well received not that it changes anything i would still post such things but i am such a conundrum opposites live within me all the time so even though i stand up for my right to post anything i want and then i worry ^_^ i am glad though that you found this a post to make one think and that is all i can ask really, i love thought provoking material and i love having my boundaries tested, so i often expose myself to this experience and others just to see how it affects me and whether or not it changes or challenges my thought processes,
      i can see where you’re coming from in saying seemingly not contrived, and in a sense i agree with you but also i am saying that contrived or not i still question the motives and justification used for such an exercise to produce such an image,
      i imagine when those two people set off to visit hitlers home and set up the scene which in that very real and physical sense means it was contrived but in seeing what you’re saying i don’t agree with their motives; i do not think it is enough to put forward their excuse for doing this project, they chose to set up and produce a deliberately controversial image for the sake of controversy alone and that to me is weak and not justifiable for this product ,
      now don’t get me wrong as i pointed out there are many iconic pictures out there and often showing starkly violent images but their motives were more justifiable in that often they were taken by a journalist wishing to tell the rest of the world of the atrocities being wrought in countries suffering horrendous situations, and that to me is justifiable ;- they are fighting for and producing truth and in the hope of helping their fellow man,
      now these two had none of that they simply wanted to stoke the fires of controversy and to make money two, very base and not really justifiable in my book reasons, so it comes down what each person as an individual can live with; these two obviously have a different set of ethics to mine and that is their right, in my personal moral code i could not undertake nor produce this image, they could and that is basically what me mam always used to say as ‘it takes all sorts to make a world’ and she was right i am glad there are differences but
      there is always a but ^_^
      my point of this piece of the whole post was not how wrong or right it was but that it was thought provoking for very different reasons than the two photographers thought it would become famous for, in my eyes as artists as creators, as image producers, we all have a certain responsibility toward our projects, for every finished product we put out there in the big wide world we have to be able to justify its existence, to ourselves and for those who care, to others as well,
      now i know not everyone will agree with that and it is not as extreme as it sounds either, i do not agree with censorship within the adult world i do agree with it when exposing those under 16 and those who are deemed to have such mental problems as to not have the ability to understand it exists purely as an image – and that again is a subject for another time ^_^
      so hope you see where i am coming from and i hope you have had a lovely sunday peace and love be with you my friend ^_^

  3. I think the point/counter-point argument we have within ourselves makes us pretty interesting characters…I often find myself in conflict (i.e.) love/hate situations. As a photo, this is so much more than it appears, even without really thinking about it…as a story, whoa…i’m with you, yuck and no thanks but…again, the conflict is there. Devil on one shoulder (hitler’s photo), angel on the other (the nude)? Very interesting stuff Kizz. xo

    1. with you on that rhinda, and i like the differences between people it makes for a much more interesting life and i do like a good debate, in a good debate not only do we get to enjoy positive discussion, and conversation but i always find i learn something often just from learning the other persons point of view leads me directly to a new way of thinking not of their way but of a new way and i like that i will never consider myself too old to learn there is so much that i do not know!
      thank you for your lovely comment my dearest rhinda hope you are enjoying some relaxing time
      love and hugs to you always

      1. Great point of view. and yes…days on the beach just listening to the sounds inside and out! perfection. xo

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