350MC – Original Proposal and Revised Proposal

I found this first stage rather difficult as trying to choose a specific area to research was challenging. I decided to focus on whether documentary photography itself can make a change to the situation at hand. My Proposal can be seen below:

SYMPOSIUM PROJECT PROPOSAL

NAME: Jade Alexander

TITLE OF RESEARCH PROJECT: Can documentary photography change the world?

MODE OF PRESENTATION SELECTED: Symposium Presentation

I feel giving a presentation in person will not only allow the audience to feel more engrossed in my chosen topic but also allow me to develop my communication and presentation skills this then allowing for a more satisfying outcome overall. It will also allow me to answer any questions the audience may have in regards to anything I have discussed, this will then mean I have to be extremely prepared and push to have a high knowledge of my chosen topic to be able to answer these questions.

DESCRIPTION OF SUBJECT TO BE INVESTIGATED:

Can Documentary Photography make a change to the situations that they are witnessing? If it does how do they make a change? But if they don’t does this mean Documentary Photography is a pointless practice considering that this is the key motivation for them to create their work. What power does a photograph hold; does it evoke action from the viewer and thereby create change?

SOURCES TO BE UTILISED:

I will be using a wide variety of sources to support my chosen topic. This will range from going to a library to find documentary photography books to gain a more historical background to develop a higher knowledge. As well as using online achieves to find audio interviews to hear the photographers point of view (Fred Richen and Stephen Mayes) and any films that relate to photographs making an impact, whether this being on society to make a change, the viewers, or the photographers. I will also be looking into newspaper articles and whether seeing a certain photograph caused some form of movement or if it instigated change (such as Kevin Carter) . My aim is to stay away from online resources, as unless they are ‘referenced’ I will not know whether it was a ‘true’ article, which is key for a presentation on documentary photography as they are representing the truth.

METHODS TO BE USED IN ACQUISITION OF SOURCES:

I will be making full use of the library and the ‘LOCATE’ system and to also discuss my chosen topic with a librarian, as they could possibly point me to certain articles that may be of interest. I will also ask advice from my peers if they feel I should see a certain article or book to help me develop my topic further or the even question my thoughts. I would also really like to attempt to get in touch with any documentary photographers to see if they feel they made a change or whether they brought a certain situation to light. Having a primary source of information will be a great aspect to add to my presentation.

METHODS/FORMS OF INTERPRETATION/ANALYSIS TO BE USED WITH THE INFORMATION AND SOURCES:

I will be looking at certain topic areas:

  • Documentary Photography and whether it can make a change
  • Controversy that the photographs can cause
  • How it affected the viewers
  • How it affected the photographer

This will make it easier to keep my information organized, as certain information I find will relate to a specific element within my presentation. I will also be looking for information that argues against certain views so my presentation is not one sided.

PLAN/SCHEDULE OF WORK

Week 1 (7th October 2014) to week 6 – I will be gathering my research from a variety of sources. I hope to also start the writing of my presentation.

Week 6-8 – I will continue with more focus to writing my presentation and giving it a structure.

Week 9 – Have a rough draft of my presentation ready for the practice run.

Week 10 – Receive formative feedback on my presentation and then adjust my presentation accordingly.

Christmas Holiday – Week 14 Continue with in depth research and blog posts to support my presentation. Keep ‘re-writing’ my presentation to make it the best it can be. Start practicing the way I will present to the audience and learn my presentation of by heart so that I will be comfortable when presenting.

Week 15-18 – REHEARSE, REHEARSE, REHEARSE. – Possibly making minor adjustments on the way.

24th February – SYMPOSIUM!!

Week 18 – 19 –Evaluate my symposium presentation and Submit

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

My starting point:

Wells, L. (2009). ‘Surveyors and surveyed’ in: Photography – A Critical Introduction. ed. by Wells, L. Fourth Edition. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd. p65-115.

FURTHER READINGS:

In, Around, and after thoughts (on documentary photography) by Martha Rosler.

How to make a refugee – Phil Collins

Dismantling modernism, Reinventing Documentary by Allan Sekula

Inside Out by Abigail Solomon Godeau

Rich and Poor by Jim Goldberg

https://archive.org/details/MayesRitchinWorthFull – Audio Interview with Stephen Mayes, Fred Ritchin and Jonathan Worth.

The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club – A Film by Dan Krauss

My feedback in terms of presenting this to the class was that it was a very broad topic to research meaning I had to be much more precise in what it is that I am really interested in. Essentially this original proposal was a deconstruction of Documentary itself in which it could be researched for years like many other practitioners are doing currently as well as in the past. This really started making me think about specific things that really interest me. The things within documentary that makes me question what I am seeing. I decided to go away and really take time to rewrite my proposal.

Revised Proposal

SYMPOSIUM PROJECT PROPOSAL

NAME: Jade Alexander

TITLE OF RESEARCH PROJECT: DOES PHOTOGRAPHY GIVE AN AESTHTIC GLOSS TO ANGUISH?

MODE OF PRESENTATION SELECTED: Symposium Presentation – I feel giving a presentation in person will not only allow the audience to feel more engrossed in my chosen topic but also allow me to develop my communication and presentation skills this then allowing for a more satisfying outcome overall. It will also allow me to answer any questions the audience may have in regards to anything I have discussed, this will then mean I have to be extremely prepared and push to have a high knowledge of my chosen topic to be able to answer these questions.

DESCRIPTION OF SUBJECT TO BE INVESTIGATED:

Throughout my symposium I will be discussing whether photography gives an aesthetic gloss to anguish and whether the image becomes less valuable and less authentic if it is aesthetically pleasing. I will be looking at whether the photographer can become subjective in which the artistic pretenses can divert the viewers attention from the realities that they have captured. I will also be seeing with the image itself can desensitize the viewer when they are looking at images that depict suffering rather than the people being over exposed in terms of seeing too many images through the media.

SOURCES TO BE UTILISED:

I will be using a wide variety of sources to support my chosen topic. This will range from going to a library to find documentary photography books to gain a more historical background to develop a higher knowledge. As well as using online achieves to find audio interviews to hear the photographers point of view (Fred Richen and Stephen Mayes) and any films that relate to photographs making an impact, whether this being on society to make a change, the viewers, or the photographers. I will also be looking into newspaper articles and whether seeing a certain photograph caused some form of movement or if it instigated change (such as Kevin Carter). My aim is to stay away from online resources, as unless they are ‘referenced’ I will not know whether it was a ‘true’ article, which is key for a presentation on documentary photography as they are representing the truth.

METHODS TO BE USED IN ACQUISITION OF SOURCES:

I will be making full use of the library and the ‘LOCATE’ system and to also discuss my chosen topic with a librarian, as they could possibly point me to certain articles that may be of interest. I will also ask advice from my peers if they feel I should see a certain article or book to help me develop my topic further or the even question my thoughts. I would also really like to attempt to get in touch with any documentary photographers to see if they feel they made a change or whether they brought a certain situation to light. Having a primary source of information will be a great aspect to add to my presentation.

METHODS/FORMS OF INTERPRETATION/ANALYSIS TO BE USED WITH THE INFORMATION AND SOURCES:

I will be looking at certain topic areas:

  • Documentary Photography and whether it can make a change
  • Controversy that the photographs can cause
  • How it affected the viewers
  • How it affected the photographer

This will make it easier to keep my information organized, as certain information I find will relate to a specific element within my presentation. I will also be looking for information that argues against certain views so my presentation is not one sided.

PLAN/SCHEDULE OF WORK

Week 1 (7th October 2014) to week 6 – I will be gathering my research from a variety of sources. I hope to also start the writing of my presentation.

Week 6-8 – I will continue with more focus to writing my presentation and giving it a structure.

Week 9 – Have a rough draft of my presentation ready for the practice run.

Week 10 – Receive formative feedback on my presentation and then adjust my presentation accordingly.

Christmas Holiday – Week 14 Continue with in depth research and blog posts to support my presentation. Keep ‘re-writing’ my presentation to make it the best it can be. Start practicing the way I will present to the audience and learn my presentation of by heart so that I will be comfortable when presenting.

Week 15-18 – REHEARSE, REHEARSE, REHEARSE. – Possibly making minor adjustments on the way.

24th February – SYMPOSIUM!!

Week 18 – 19 –Evaluate my symposium presentation and Submit

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

My starting point:

Wells, L. (2009). ‘Surveyors and surveyed’ in: Photography – A Critical Introduction. ed. by Wells, L. Fourth Edition. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd. p65-115.

This was my revised research proposal. The reason for my chosen topic was the fact that for a very long time I caught myself admiring the work of Documentary photographers. Even though the subjects that they were photographing were suffering, I was first drawn into the image by the way in which the photographer had photographed and represented their subjects. The photographs looked ‘beautiful’ to me and actually felt guilty for feeling that way. I realised I was then desensitised to what I was seeing and started questioning whether this also affected others in the same way. I knew this was a topic I would be extremely interested in. The first quote I found that enforced my chosen area of research was from David Levi Strauss in Liz Wells book Photography – A Critical Introduction. In which said “The idea that the more transformed or ‘ aestheticised’ an image is, the less ‘authentic’ or politically valuable it becomes, is one that needs to be seriously questioned… To represent is to aestheticise : that is, to transform. It presents a vast field of choices but it does not include the choice not to transform, not to change or alter whatever is being represented. It cannot be a pure process in practice. This goes for photography as well as for any other means of representation.” Even though I have looked at Documentary Photographs and thought they were ‘beautiful’ I knew nothing in regards to the theory behind this statement. So I knew I would have to start from ‘scratch’ in terms of the aesthetics within Documentary.

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