The first paradigm shift was when photography broke away from paintings. The second one is now in which photographs and images are separating. The difference between the two are that a photograph is a physical object whereas an image is visual data on a digital device. I had never thought an image or photograph to be so different. This made me realise that there are so many image makers due to advanced digital technology such as phones and point and shoot cameras. However, as a professional photographer we have to remember we are so much more than ‘image makers’. Image makers tend to photograph things such as a Starbucks cup or what they are having for dinner. But why? They use there cameras as a way of communicating and producing images as a form of ‘proof’. If you just said I am having a Starbucks coffee…where is the proof? An image can clear this doubt instantly. It is scary to think how much information is stored within the meta data when you take a photograph especially on a phone the scariest of all?? GPS location!!!
Something that really stood out to me was the difference between a proactive and reactive photographer. A reactive photographer waits for something bad to happen and records it, a proactive photographer is knowing something is going to happen and trying to make a change. This made me think of my own intentions within photography. My aim is to be a proactive photographer especially as I am wanting to become a documentary photographer. I also think much more about what I am aiming to say with my photography.
This session made me realise there are limitations to a photograph as there are no words and it is a slice of what has happened, there is no before or after so being able to chose the decisive moment is crucial to the story you are trying to tell. When you are also sharing your story whether it is via book, exhibition or over the internet, the story is never complete you have to connect the dots between each of the platforms. The idea that there is no longer a front page is an interesting statement as a front page in no longer a starting point of a conversation as the front page is not guaranteed to be read. Tim Hetherington was the first journalist to step outside of the norms of documentary and he did this to try and find a better way of doing it. This made me realise you do not have to limit yourself to photographic norms. You have to push yourself in new and exciting directions to try and make a difference.
“If your photographs are not good enough you are not close enough”- Robert Capa
This quote by Robert Capa was a quote I have known for a long time and I used to take on board within my own photography. However during this lecture another quote came up that was very similar but had such a different meaning.
“If your photographs are not good enough you are not reading enough” – Tod Papageorge
I actually find this so interesting as you would think if your photographs aren’t good enough you would need to do something physically within in your photographic practice, not to read more. However I now realise that there needs to be context behind the work you are producing, so to read more will help develop your understanding of what it is you are trying to say. Narrative and context is extremely important so we have to be better researchers to produce a stronger in-depth narrative. When i thought of narratives I always expected a beginning, middle and end but that does not have to be the case however there is always a sense of time within linear and non-linear narratives. It is a good idea to have the context and the story you are trying to tell before you produce your project. However, this could also be questioned as if you turned up and new everything you wanted to photograph you slightly limit yourself to different ideas and experiences. So I also believe in open mindedness whilst creating projects in order to extend and develop your narrative further.
I learnt that it is very important to be able to tell the persons story the way they want it to be told not the way the photographer wants to portray it. The photographer has a massive sense of responsibility when telling other stories especially when it is a very sensitive subject matter. I found Mansour very interesting as she gave a lot of power to the participant allowing them to be apart of every process of the image making. I believe you have to build a relationship with the participant as it is important to know who they are and develop that trusting bond between photographer and participant. The interesting thing with Mansour’s work was that she produced 3 images per participant, 1. The Person 2. Still Life of their rooms 3. A Package. Out of all of the photographs the package was the most successful. It was a photograph of the women’s veils in a bag. However, Khamissey was different in the fact that she was not telling the story of the women and the families but those who were missing.
Extending on last weeks idea of building a relationship between photographer and participant Sarah Davidmann took that one step further whilst developing some of her work. When photographing nudes she felt an imbalance of power, so she put herself in the position of her participants by also working nude. She also (like Mansour) gave a lot of power to her participants by allowing them to look at the photographs and allowed them to delete any they did not like. This may have stop her from producing work that she wanted however she believes it is very important to allow the participant to tell their stories the way they wish. I always aim to make my participants comfortable even if it means putting myself out there to make them laugh and feel comfortable in front of the camera.
It is important to figure out how you work should be presented in order to reach a particular audience. An interesting part of mark Bleasdale was that ‘ If you buy the guardian, you already believe what is in there’. I have realised in order to make my work interesting and intriguing I must challenge others views and take my work to the streets.
I found this interview with Fred Richen very engaging. It is important how the reader perceives the image and if they don’t believe what they are seeing the meta data of the image becomes irrelevant. At the beginning of the skype interview Jonathan said how he couldnt believe Fred Richen was here right now, however Richen responded in a very interesting way by saying well im not actually there. This then got even more intriguing when the skype connection was lost and then Richen eventually came back. In which he then said ‘I can see you through a screen , i’m present but i’m not present, I can’t feel you or smell you, there are many physical senses that can not be determined through a screen.’ I had never thought about the physical aspect of a person vs the pixel version of yourself through a screen. The next thing he said would inspire my idea for my final piece. ‘I would be able to imagine you more if I couldn’t see you but I could just hear your voice’. This inspired me to go back to my spoken narrative and produce an audio piece with no visuals. This was so I could question Richen on his statement on whether it was true or false. I personally believe we give up so many senses for seeing and that we become isolated by the digital screen.