- Jun 26, 2013
- Oregon USA
- Real Name
- Andrew Lossing
Hmm. I really like the topic of studium versus punctum, but I feel the blog post misses the mark, in that the two aren't mutually exclusive, in fact I'd go so far as to say that the most successful photographs have both. Photos which only have a punctum, i.e. a single sensational detail which draws the attention quickly, are kind of lesser photographs. They can be like "tricks" or gimmicks. Photos which are wholly on the studium end are often boring (but how much art of the past several centuries lies firmly in the studium camp? Should I need to take multiple undergraduate classes just to "get" a piece of art? C'mon.) but may have greater staying power if there is some punctum also involved.https://georgepowell.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/studium-and-punctum/
" Punctum is an object or image that jumps out at the viewer within a photograph- ‘that accident which pricks, bruises me.’ Punctum can exist alongside studium, but disturbs it, creating an ‘element which rises from the scene’ and unitentially fills the whole image. Punctum is the rare detail that attracts you to an image, Barthes says ‘its mere presense changes my reading, that I am looking at a new photograph, marked in my eyes with a higher value.’ "
One comparison that I've seen made before, and it's pretty enlightening (partly because the photos are all so excellent) is between Walker Evans' American Photographs and Robert Frank's The Americans. There are even a few photos where Frank included the same subjects as Evans. Evans' photos rely much more on studium, but they're so artfully made that they do reward a longer look. Frank's photos often have a hook, or a punctum. But I would say both collections have photos with both, in varying degrees, and that's where the bulk of their interest lies. I need to buy Evans' book, as I haven't looked at it in a while.