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gre rc practice 1-Picture-taking is a technique both

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gre rc practice 1-Picture-taking is a technique both [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2014, 23:16

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Picture-taking is a technique both for annexing the objective world and for expressing the singular self.
Photographs depict objective realities that
already exist, though only the camera can disclose them. And they depict an
individual photographer’s temperament, discovering itself through the
5 camera’s cropping of reality. That is, photography has two antithetical ideals:
in the first, photography is about the world and the photographer is a mere
observer who counts for little; but in the second, photography is the
instrument of intrepid, questing subjectivity and the photographer is all.
These conflicting ideals arise from a fundamental uneasiness on the part
10 of both photographers and viewers of photographs toward the aggressive
component in “taking” a picture. Accordingly, the ideal of a photographer as
observer is attractive because it implicitly denies that picture-taking is an
aggressive act. The issue, of course, is not so clear-cut. What photographers
do cannot be characterized as simply predatory or as simply, and essentially,
15 benevolent. As a consequence, one ideal of picture-taking or the other is
always being rediscovered and championed.
An important result of the coexistence of these two ideals is a recurrent
ambivalence toward photography’s means. Whatever the claims that
photography might make to be a form of personal expression on a par with
20 painting, its originality is inextricably linked to the powers of a machine. The
steady growth of these powers has made possible the extraordinary
informativeness and imaginative formal beauty of many photographs, like
Harold Edgerton’s high-speed photographs of a bullet hitting its target or of the
swirls and eddies of a tennis stroke. But as cameras become more sophisticated
25 and more automated, some photographers are tempted to disarm themselves or
to suggest that they are not really armed, preferring to submit themselves to
the limits imposed by premodern camera technology because a cruder, less high
powered machine is thought to give more interesting or emotive results, to
leave more room for creative accident. For example, it has been virtually a
30 point of honor of many photographers, including Walker Evans and Cartier-
Bresson, to refuse to use modern equipment. These photographers have come
to doubt the value of the camera as an instrument of “fast seeing”. Cartier-
Bresson, in fact, claims that the modern camera may see too fast.
This ambivalence toward photographic means determines trends in
35 taste. The cult of the future (of faster and faster seeing) alternates over time
with the wish to return to a purer past - when images had a handmade quality.
This nostalgia for some pristine state of the photographic enterprise is
currently widespread and underlies the present-day enthusiasm for
daguerreotypes and the work of forgotten nineteenth century provincial
40 photographers. Photographers and viewers of photographs, it seems, need
periodically to resist their own knowingness.
1. According to the passage, interest among photographers in each of photography’s two ideals can be
described as
(A) rapidly changing
(B) cyclically recurring
(C) steadily growing
(D) unimportant to the viewers of photographs
(E) unrelated to changes in technology
2. The author is primarily concerned with
(A) establishing new technical standards for contemporary photography
(B) analyzing the influence of photographic ideals on picture-taking
(C) tracing the development of camera technology in the twentieth century
(D) describing how photographers’ individual temperaments are reflected in their work
(E) explaining how the technical limitations imposed by certain photographers on themselves affect
their work
American Education Aids - GRE - Reading Comprehension
3. The passage states all of the following about photographs EXCEPT:
(A) They can display a cropped reality
(B) They can convey information
(C) They can depict the photographer’s temperament
(D) They can possess great formal beauty
(E) They can change the viewer’s sensibilities
4. The author mentions the work of Harold Edgerton in order to provide an example of
(A) how a controlled ambivalence toward photography’s means can produce outstanding pictures
(B) how the content of photographs has changed from the nineteenth century to the twentieth
(C) the popularity of high-speed photography in the twentieth century
(D) the relationship between photographic originality and technology
(E) the primacy of formal beauty over emotional content
5. The passage suggests that photographers such as Walker Evans prefer old-fashioned techniques and
equipment because these photographers
(A) admire instruments of fast seeing
(B) need to feel armed by technology
(C) strive for intense formal beauty in their photographs
(D) like the discipline that comes from self-imposed limitations
(E) dislike the dependence of photographic effectiveness on the powers of a machine
gre rc practice 1-Picture-taking is a technique both   [#permalink] 21 Jun 2014, 23:16
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