Reading Seminars Notes

At the beginning of the term we were put into small groups, in which we plit 3 different texts between roughly 7 of us. We would then go away and read the text that was given to us, and come back the following week to review to the rest of the group what each text talked about. The reason we were given these texts was so we could relate a piece of text to Assignment 1.

Over the few weeks I wrote up notes regarding each text I was given:

Sontag, S. (2002) Platos Cave in On photography Penguin England 3-­24 

  • Photographing allows us to change or show what we feel is worth looking at.
  • Movies and tv shows allow us to see a glimpse of the world for the duration of that program and then it dims and goes out. But a photograph is able to be an object, it is light in weight and cheaper to produce. A photograph becomes more of a keep sake and a precious object.
  • Photographs give people a lot of knowledge about the past and allows to see how things have changed over the years.
  • Paintings or a written statement about an event are more of a judgement/interpretation of how things looked but a photograph is not so much a statement but are like small moments of the real event taking place.
  • For decades photographs have been presented in books allowing them to last and take care of these fragile pieces of the world.
  • Photographs are things that can be ripped up but if you chose to you can put it back together.
  • Whilst photographers want to photograph as close to reality as possible they still are phased by taste and will continue to photograph a scene or object until they are satisfied they have gotten the right look. They want to make sure an expression is right for what they want to portray, or that the lighting is right to highlight key elements throughout the object/subject.
  • Due to us deciding the right exposure of an image or putting a standard on our subjects does that not mean we change and interpret just as much as a painter would?
  • Nowadays, photography is used more by people as a social rite, meaning photography doesn’t get practiced by people in an art form.
  • A camera is two times as likely to be found in a household with a family with children, this is so they are able to capture memories, as their children grow up.
  • If you were to see a situation in which you could prevent something bad happening or help a sick child would you chose to help them or photograph it? Would you photograph it and then help?

Levi Strauss D. (2003) The epiphany of the other in Between the eyes Essays on photography and Politics Aperture USA 42-­50

  • ‘Homage to the working class and the old ways of producing  that are disappearing’.
  • Wants to capture something before it changes drastically so there is a photographic reminder of how things used to be.
  • Photographs things that tend to be hidden or not known about ( lower class).
  • ‘You photograph with all your ideology’.
  • High use of contrast.
  • He did not go out to make sacred images, he goes out as a documentarian, to show us how the lower class slave away and to put a stop to it by pressuring the government.
  • Photographs were so strong, picture editors called them too disturbing to publish when they were made.
  • He can relate due to him having a bad background.
  • Documentary photography disappearing into the pixels of digital imaging.

Lister M. Photography in the age of electronic imaging in Photography a critical introduction (Ed) Wells L Routledge London and New York 305­‐312

  • As new technologies come around they take over and old methods begin to fade. Has digital Photography made stories in the papers and news fake? due to possible manipulation? When photographs were made via chemicals they were said to be more ‘truthful reports’ of the matters at hand.
  • New image technologies became ‘the dominant models of visualisation’
  • Older lens based images are now converted digitally or images are constructed straight away to give the appearance of a photograph.
  • Before technology was enhanced we were clear observers, we almost just scratched the surface of what we could see. But now due to how technology has developed we are able to see space/planets and even inside the human body.
  • The creative possibilities due to digital enhancements.
  • Originals are extremely rare these days due to the internet allowing us to find certain images so quickly.
  • An original can be saved from online, converted and re-edited if wanted and then could be shared once again via internet.

Other Groups Readings:

Barthes, R. (2000) Studium & Punctum in Camera Lucida: reflections on photography  Vintage books London 25­‐28

  • There is always that one image on a contact sheet, that will completely stand out from the rest. We may not know why this image stands out from such a large collection of photographs, but none the less it always happens.
  • Punctum? – This is where you will look at a selection of images and you will get emotionally drawn into one of them. This is the reason you would select this photograph over the others.
  • Stadium? – Instead of an emotional response, you are looking for what the photographer wanted to achieve, you try to think about what the photographers idea was.

Benjamin W (2008) The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction in The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction Penguin books London 1-­‐50 

  • How things have changed – and what we might lose due to these changes.
  • Due to mass reproduction through editing or online networking, an original image could lose its worth and meaning, it loses that preciousness it had when the image was original and unique.

Tagg J (1988) A. means of Surveillance – The burden of representation Macmillan press LTD 66-­‐102 

  • How photography is used as a means of surveillance i.e Police/News
  • The talk of power and how you are more likely to behave if you feel like your being watched by cameras/CCTV.
  • The camera allows us to record reality.
  • Can the camera lie? There mixed opinions for and against that statement.
  • Talked about prisons.
  • It is very factual based.

Levi Strauss D. (2003) The documentary debate: Aesthetic or anesthetic? In Between the eyes Essays on photography and Politics  Aperture USA 3-­11.

  • Constantly referencing other photographers.
  • Including Salgado’s work, where he debates on whether his work is ‘too beautiful’ that it loses its meaning  and seriousness?
  • The only opinion he gave was right at the end.

Tsinhnahjinnie H J. When is a photograph worth a thousand words? In Photographys Other histories (Ed) Pinney C & Peterson N duke University press London and Durham 40‐52.

  • There is always a part of the story missing from a photograph.
  • In most cases a caption is never enough to explain an image, a description allows more of the narrative to be told.
  • However in my opinion, should words be needed to explain an image? I feel if someone can’t understand why you have taken that specific photograph, you haven’t as a photographer captured what you were trying to make the viewer feel. A viewer should be able to get a hint of a story from your work. However I also believe in giving the viewer a background story of the subject in the frame as when they re-view the photograph they almost look at it differently, they may emote a lot more?  So I do personally see it from both points of view.

Fred Richen – In Our Own Image- Chapter (Pixelated Press)

  • Book made in 1999 meaning it is out of date.
  • At the beginning it talks about a movie called ‘Rain Man’ which had Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman as the lead actors.
  • You then later find out that the two actors were photographed as if they were in the same scene/room and interacting when in reality they were shot in completely different locations with seas separating them.
  • This was later used for promotional uses however Journalists would not allow something like that to be used when they were not actually together.
  • However things these days have changed.
  • Digital manipulation allows you to create scenes that wouldn’t happen.
  • You can take elements out and add elements in.
  • How can we tell if an image is real or not?
  • Commercials mostly contain enhancements especially make-up commercials.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s