Are Instagram & Photography Aesthetically Pointless? | Philosophy Tube ft. PBS Idea Channel | Summary and Q&A

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February 24, 2016
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Are Instagram & Photography Aesthetically Pointless? | Philosophy Tube ft. PBS Idea Channel

TL;DR

The philosophy of photography explores whether we can have an aesthetic interest in a photo itself or if our interest lies solely in its subject.

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Key Insights

  • 📷 Some philosophers argue that photography should not be considered in aesthetics, as the photo's appearance is solely dependent on its subject.
  • 🗯️ Others believe that a good photographer can shape a photo to be aesthetically appreciated in its own right, beyond just being a visual record.
  • 💨 The transparency thesis suggests that we can have an aesthetic interest in the way something has been photographed, as the photo itself becomes part of the aesthetic experience.
  • ⚡ The internet and tags like "aesthetic" can influence our perception and appreciation of photos.
  • ❓ Photography can represent fictional subjects or objects that don't exist, while paintings can intentionally represent something or someone that may not resemble reality.
  • ❓ Aesthetics in photography can extend beyond just the subject and include elements like color, lighting, and composition.
  • 😃 Photography can allow us to see things that are not visible to the naked eye, such as infrared photos of celestial bodies.

Transcript

the philosophy of photography is a really interesting topic in aesthetics and maybe it's more relevant now than ever because everyone's got a camera in their pockets there are hundreds of billions of photos on Facebook Instagram is one of the most popular social networks in the world the photograph has exploded in cultural significance since smartp... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Can we have an aesthetic interest in a photograph?

According to Roger Scruton, photography is aesthetically pointless as our interest lies in the subject, not the photo itself. However, other philosophers argue that a good photographer can shape the photo to be aesthetically appreciated in its own right.

Q: How does a photographer determine if a photo is meant to be admired as a photo?

Ken Van Sickle believes that a photographer must consider elements like color, lighting, and composition, allowing the photo to have its own aesthetic value beyond just being a visual record.

Q: Can photography represent something that doesn't exist?

Yes, photography can represent fictional subjects or objects that don't exist. Paintings, on the other hand, can intentionally represent something or someone that may not resemble reality.

Q: Can the internet affect our aesthetic experience of photos?

The internet, as a surface laid additionally over photos, can enhance or alter our aesthetic experience. Tags like "aesthetic" on social platforms may contribute to our perception and appreciation of photos.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Some philosophers argue that aesthetics should not consider photography, as the photo's appearance is solely dependent on its subject.

  • Others argue that photography can be art if the photographer intentionally shapes the photo, allowing it to represent and be aesthetically appreciated.

  • The transparency thesis suggests that while the subject can be seen through the photo, our aesthetic interest can also lie in the filter or the photo itself.

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