‘There are two fundamentals in all picture taking – where to stand and when to release the shutter … so photography is very simple.’
(Jay & Hurn, 2001, p.37)
So photography is simply viewpoint and moment… but what about subject? The simplest subject is the moment. You can record the moment with a snapshot, but when you review the photograph later you find you didn’t actually record the moment, you just recorded the ‘event of photography’.
It might take a very long time to simplify the whole world and its infinite framings into a subject that makes sense to you. Robert Adams said, ‘Sooner or later one has to ask of all pictures what kind of life they promote’ (Grundberg, 1999, p.34). For now, though, you should just feel comfortable with your subject. It should say something about you and, in the end, you like it!
The final assignment is an open brief. Take a series of 10 photographs of any subject exploring the theme ‘Photography is Simple’. Each photograph should be a unique view; in other words, it should contain some new information, rather than repeat the information of the previous image.
In your assignment notes explore how you think you’ve answered the brief. This is a chance for a little philosophical reflection. EYV student Tor Burridge:
‘I have reconsidered my stand point that fundamentally photography is simple. When I shoot for the pure enjoyment of it photography does indeed feel simple. But really it is the product of layers of knowledge – on composition, on light, the technicalities of my camera. It is also inevitably influenced by the work of others, the subtle lessons that I have unknowingly committed to memory about angles and viewpoint. So taking into consideration the effects of context, the mind-set of the viewer and also the subtleties of what influences a photographer to make an image in a particular way, I think it can be concluded that photography is simple – until it isn’t.’
Make sure you word process and spellcheck your notes as QWE (the Quality of Written English) is an important part of presentation. Include a ‘Harvard’ bibliography to reference your reading and research for this assignment. The quality of your references and how deeply you’ve responded to them is more important than the quantity.
You may like to request a video tutorial for this assignment. As well as the opportunity to discuss the development and/or resolution of the assignment work, your tutor will be able to answer any questions you may have on assessment and progression to the next unit.
In 1886 George Eastman released a new camera (Eastman Kodak Camera) and an iconic advertising slogan ‘You press the button and we do the rest’. His business model was based on the idea that photography had the potential to go mass market if the process, of both taking and developing the film, was simplified. The claim ‘to do the rest’ took care of developing the film (and buying a new one) as both a new roll and the prints and negatives were sent back to the customer. The service was a huge success and Kodak became an iconic brand that spearheaded many of photography’s innovations for decades to come.
The ubiquitous notion that photography was simply about pressing the button has persisted throughout the history of photographic marketing and concepts-Polaroid was based on the same idea only this time speeding up the development of photographs and providing instant gratification. Mobile phone manufacturers soon included a camera on their phones and compete with eachother based on the quality of the phones with each model release. The combination of integrating a camera into a mobile phone gives people the means to broadcast their images to platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Flickr etc, sharing what they had for lunch to exposing police brutality or political strife-all with the click of a button.