Week 4 – Viewers make meaning

This was an insightful and productive exercise, post an image with no supporting text or context and see how your peers interpret it. I chose an image from a long-term series I have been building of cats I see standing in the middle of large open spaces. The theme of the series is ‘Solitary Hunters’ and the intention is to capture moments of stillness where the cat is intently focused on the hunt. The bigger and bleaker the surrounding area the better in order to create a sense of space and isolation in which to draw the viewer into questioning for what and why is there a cat in an open space. This is not their typical haunt being a creature that prefers to keep a low profile and avoid being seen.

Readings of the image were all surprisingly close to the intent and sometimes were an interpretation I had overlooked or was unintended, which was, all in all, a positive result. I intend to adjust future images of the series to take these observations into account to enrich the visual impression made by the images.

Overall, there were quite a few images posted and a lot of comments on each other’s work, this was the first time I had done such an exercise and I am surprised at how useful it is to have others read your work and make a note of their impressions. You can quickly discover if a concept or theme misses the mark or there are new insights into improving or building on the work.

Peer reviews

  • The wide open space with no one around other than the cat intrigues me to know more. Where does the cat stay? Where is this place? What is out-with the frame?
  • I took a double take at this initially. The darker patch of ground to the right looked like a shadow and gave the impression briefly that the cat was levitating.It reminds me of a scene in a film I once saw. The cat seems like a sentry, guarding entry to the woodland behind. What is he looking for? and what is he guarding? are the two questions in my head when I look at it.
  • Despite being a domesticated animal, the cat represents to me strong independence and resilience. The dark shadows of the forest are ominous: the direction the cat is facing suggests he has come from this dense mass of trees. I find this relates to the mysterious nature of cats, and their connotation to superstition/witchcraft. I love the split tones of the image: the light shades of the field interrupted by the horizontal boundary of the dark woods. I also really appreciate the eerie contrast of the tree-trunks, stretching up like veins or fingers ?
  • This picture makes me feel like loneliness in a vast open space, the dark trees/forest behind the cat and the clear line it defines in the middle of the picture really inspire me the feeling of being kind of imprisoned. 
  • The Hunt. 

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