17 April 2015

Resisting Nepalese Temptations

The science of semiotics is the study of meaning making on the basis of signs and symbols, and the semiotics of photography is the observation of those signs and symbols used within photography, or "reading the picture".

People communicate through the use of symbols all the time, both consciously and subconsciously. A symbol is anything that stands for something else. Usually, a symbol is a simplified image that, because of certain associations in the viewer’s mind, represents a more complex idea. Symbolism can be a powerful aid in photography; symbols are tools for sorting information and drawing inferences that can permit the communication of complex ideas with just a few simple elements.

Symbols keep the viewer’s mind busy; they seduce the viewer to complete the picture, to improve the picture, to add meaning to the picture, to emotionalize the picture, and to fantasize about the picture. According to Alfred Eisenstaedt, all the photographer has to do, is find and catch the story-telling moment; signs and symbols are powerful triggers for that.

© Matt Hahnewald, Facing the World, close up, street portrait, Bhaktapur, Nepal, Nepali lady, mature lady, ice cream, temptation, fun, symbol, travel, ice-cream bar, licking, mouth
© Matt Hahnewald, Facing the World, close up, street portrait, Bhaktapur, Nepal, Nepali lady, mature lady, ice cream, temptation, fun, symbol, travel, ice-cream bar, licking, mouth
© Matt Hahnewald, Facing the World, close up, street portrait, Bhaktapur, Nepal, Nepali lady, mature lady, ice cream, temptation, fun, symbol, travel, ice-cream bar, licking, mouth
© Matt Hahnewald, Facing the World, close up, street portrait, Bhaktapur, Nepal, Nepali lady, mature lady, ice cream, temptation, fun, symbol, travel, ice-cream bar, licking, mouth





Robert Hirsch's distinctive categories of symbols, such as (i) colours, (ii) commercial, cosmic and cultural symbols, (iii) magic, psychological and sexual symbols, and (iv) common symbols, can be photographed in order to get the viewer thinking about what they could represent. All these symbols are not absolute terms; they all have multiple readings based on factors such as one's cultural background, individual beliefs, economic status, gender identification, psychological state, political attitudes, religious convictions, and sexual preferences. Based on their set of experiences, different people give different readings, and one's own reading also can change as one has new life experiences...

© Matt Hahnewald, Facing the World, close up, street portrait, Bhaktapur, Nepal, Nepali lady, mature lady, ice cream, temptation, fun, symbol, travel, ice-cream bar, licking, mouth

























Street portraits with lekker ice-cream cones and other temptations in Matt Hahnewald's

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