Sekulas System

1.   To me, “folk-myth” would probably be similar to folklore. Folklore, as I understand, generally means traditional customs, tales, art forms and the like, often common with certain groups of people. It also means to me a story or saying more or less unsupported, and also widely circulated. However, seeing how Allan Sekula mentions it, “folk-myth” is either “symbolic” or “realist.” Symbolic “folk-myth” would probably mean a story or work of art that has a metaphorical, moral or allegoric meaning (“The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” for example, means that if you lie too much, people stop believing you). “Realist” means more along the lines of “take it at face value” and don’t try to find hidden meaning.

2.   Historical would go with information and realist folk-myth. A-historical would go with theories of source/cause and symbolic folk-myth (also would be regardless of what actually happened). “A just image” would fit in pretty well with empirical truth and would do the situation/scene justice, depicting accurately what was going on. “Just an image” should go under realistic folk-myth, meaning just take it as is and don’t try to find meaning beyond what’s there. (It could also mean that “just an image” means it’s only one image from the entire scene, like 1 minute out of 60). Football’s instant replay images would probably go with art photography, information, and reportage. The “play of the day” would probably go under the realistic folk-myth and be (possibly) art photography (if it was memorable).

3.   Realistic folk-myth examples would be from the schoolgirl (“hasn’t any clothes”), the gardener (“…like it was her own baby”) and the factory worker (“…tries to take her doll away from her”). By way of contrast, symbolic folk-myth examples would be the one I mentioned in WebBoard (“maybe it symbolizes tragedies of war”), the one from the psychiatrist (“…something that shouldn’t be seen”) and the actress (“…identification between the doll and the child”). The first three go together well simply because they make no further examination attempts. The second three work well together because they look closely at the emotional “clues” in the picture.

4.  Here are three other types of photography, and the categories they’d probably fit into:

     a)    Portrait photography. It can either be realistic (what someone physically looks like or used to look like), or symbolic (depicting an emotion within).

     b)   Special-effects photography. It can be used symbolically because it is oftentimes a distortion of an image to convey a certain emotion or atmosphere.

     c)   Time-lapse photography. For example, a flower blooming over the course of a few days. It can usually be realistic, depicting nature taking its course. However, it can also be symbolic in some ways, reflecting how things change over time and the complex workings of nature.