Where does that leave the photographer? As storyteller or history writer? Do you tend towards fact or fiction? How could you blend your approach? Where is your departure from wanting/needing to depict reality. Make some notes on these questions in your learning log. A photographer can be both a storyteller and a history writer and sometimes both (at the same time), depending on the context and intent of their work. Storyteller: Photography has a unique ability to tell stories through visual imagery. It can capture moments, emotions, and narratives in a single shot, effectively conveying a story or message without the need for words. Photojournalism, documentary photography, street photography, or fine art photography, photographers use their images to narrate stories and often evoke emotions, amplifying the power of images. History Writer: Photography plays a crucial role in documenting and as a witness to historical events, cultural shifts, and societal changes. Historical photographs offer a visual representation of moments, people, and places from the past, providing valuable insights into the history of a region, a community, or the world. In some cases, a photographer may deliberately set out to document historical events or capture images that become significant historical records. […]
Your journey may not involve travelling the world or an excursion across Russia, but you might see your journey to the post office every Monday as particularly relevant – or the journey from your bed to the kitchen in the morning. Note the journeys you go on regularly and reflect upon them. Now photograph them. Remember to aim for consistency in your pictures. If you choose to photograph all the charity shops you’ve visited in a week, try to photograph them all using the same camera, lens, standing position, lighting, etc. This will help keep your project honed to the subject matter rather than you, the photographer.
Elina Brotherus works in photography and moving image. Her work has been alternating between autobiographical and art-historical approaches. Photographs dealing with the human figure and the landscape, the relation of the artist and the model, gave way to images on subjective experiences in her recent bodies of work Annonciation and Carpe Fucking Diem. In her current work she is revisiting Fluxus event scores and other written instructions for performance-oriented art of the 1950s-70s. Elina Brotherus lives and works in Helsinki, Finland and Avallon, France. She has an MA degree in Photography from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (now Aalto University) and an MSc in Chemistry from the University of Helsinki. She started exhibiting internationally in 1997. Her works are in public collections including the Pompidou Centre, Paris, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Museum Folkwang, Essen, and MAXXI, Rome, to name a few. Her work has been given prominence in numerous art and photography books and magazines. She has published eleven monographs, most recently ‘Seabound. A Logbook’ with AKO Kunststiftelse and Kehrer Verlag. She has been awarded, among others, Carte blanche PMU, France, in 2017, the Finnish State Prize for Photography in 2008, and the […]
Harry Morey Callahan Harry Morey Callahan was an American photographer and educator. He taught at both the Institute of Design in Chicago and the Rhode Island School of Design. Callahan’s first solo exhibition was at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1951. He had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1976/1977. Wikipedia ‘Callahan was widely respected in the photography community for his open mind and experimental attitude, qualities reinforced by his association with Moholy-Nagy and the principles of Bauhaus design. He produced work in both formalist and more documentary modes, and worked in both black-and-white and color.’ https://www.icp.org/browse/archive/constituents/harry-callahan?all/all/all/all/0 Callaghan didn’t leave much notes or documentation about his methods but what is known is that he would go out daily and photograph his neighbourhood, the streets, buildings, and city scenes. He also photographed his wife and daughter, and much of his work was a response to his own life. He experimented with double and triple exposures and pushed the possibilities of photography. WeeGee Arthur Fellig Arthur (Usher) Fellig (June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968), known by his pseudonym Weegee, was a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography in […]
Typologies are a useful tool for photographers to use for visual classification in both a stoic and detached manner (Hilla and Bernd Becher-industrial architecture) or creatively (Steve Tyler-Typologies of Mass Consumption) Key elements of typologies include: Uniformity of presentation Ability to see similarities as well as differences Provide historical record (August Sander / Bechers) Exercise of attribution within a category re-present archives (Arwed Messmer und Annett Gröschner) plural noun: typologies 1.a classification according to general type, especially in archaeology, psychology, or the social sciences. “a typology of Saxon cremation vessels” study or analysis using a classification according to a general type. 2.the study and interpretation of types and symbols, originally especially in the Bible. https://www.google.com/search?q=typologies+definition&oq=typologies+definition&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i22i30l2j0i15i22i30l2j0i22i30l5.5964j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 Britannica Dictionary definition of TYPOLOGY. [count, noncount] formal. : a system used for putting things into groups according to how they are similar : the study of how things can be divided into different types. (https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/typology) ‘Photography has been employed as tool for visual classification. The camera’s ability to make an accurate record of particular visual phenomena has meant that artists and photographers, seeking to make a systematic document of aspects of the world, have been repeatedly drawn to photography. In their hands, the camera […]
‘at every level,and within every context the portrait photgraphy is fraught with ambiguity’-Graham clarke The Portrait in Photgraphy The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt.-Henri Cartier-Bresson “A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he is being photographed.” – Richard Avedon “A portrait isn’t a fact but an opinion – an occasion rather than a truth.”-Richard Avedon A good portrait ought to tell something of the subject’s past and suggest something of his future.-Bill Brandt To see people as they are, as they imagine themselves, as they wish to be. To be witness, the friend, the judge, the accomplice. To record their moment. -Annie Leibovitz When I have had such men before my camera my whole soul has endeavoured to do its duty towards them in recording faithfully the greatness of the inner as well as the features of the outer man. The photograph thus taken has been almost the embodiment of a prayer.-Julia Margaret Cameron Portraiture has always had a degree of propaganda about it. From the pre-photography days when portraits were the domain of the wealthy, they […]
I’ve used this image to practice reading and deconstructing an image. I was at a wedding during the summer and although I was taking a lot of photographs, this one appeared in front of me as I took a break. I was looking at the group for a couple of minutes when I realised it was an almost perfect unintentional tableau-I couldn’t have arranged it better if I was trying. Somehow its almost like a movie still. Taking what I learned from the course I played with its potential meanings and specifically the interplay between caption, image and viewer. If I caption it ‘Wedding group in garden’, it pretty much describes what it is and anchors its meaning. If, however I give it an ambiguous caption, say ‘Argument’, then it adds a degree of uncertainty and forces the viewer to search for the source of the argument-is it the chap second from the right standing? Is the chap sitting in the middle uncomfortable with whats being said? The lady standing second from left doesn’t seem too pleased. Or are they discussing something and don’t want any one top hear and the chap standing on the right has spotted the photographer? […]
Read and reflect upon the chapter on Diane Arbus in Singular Images: Essays on Remarkable Photographs by Sophie Howarth (2005). This is out of print but you may be able to find it in your local university library: some of the chapters are available as pdfs online. You’ll find the Arbus chapter on the student website. If you haven’t yet read any of Judith Williamson’s (2014) ‘Advertising’ articles (see Introduction to Context and Narrative), now would be a good time to do so. The first sentence of the article- ‘The fictions we make about photographs are as unreliable as they are unavoidable’ is key to understanding many of the points that follow and helps set the scene, although when I read some of the descriptions of the couple in the image I would argue that the fictions Jobey creates could well be avoided. The article starts off by making sweeping generalisations about the couple, subjective and almost gossip in tone. It is all ‘connotation’ and reveals as much about the viewer, Liz Jobey, her background, culture and even sociological positioning-middle class, educated and prejudiced- than the family in the photograph of whom we get some facts; married at sixteen, two […]
Before you read any further, can you think of any photographs that are not used as a means of expression or communication? Blog about them. Been thinking about this for a few days now and can’t think of any. At first, I thought about passport or ID photos but they are used to communicate identification and even surveillance footage from which stills can be extracted, serve to observe and be referenced if we need to track someone or some instant / event that happened. Much of this type of image capture (surveillance, officialdom) is not a means of expression but it does have a communication aspect.
Examples of relay in contemporary photographic practice include Sophie Calle’s Take Care of Yourself and Sophy Rickett’s Objects in the Field (see interview in the Appendix to this course guide) where clashes of understanding or interpretation work together to create a perhaps incomplete but nonetheless enriching dialogue between artist and viewer. Look these pieces up online. Investigate the rationale behind the pieces and see if you can find any critical responses to them. Write down your own responses in your learning log. How do these two pieces of work reflect postmodern approaches to narrative? Some definitions: Anchorage: words that help limit the meaning of an image or ‘anchor’ its meaning. Relay: alters or advances the. meaning. – Text that advances the image by supplying meanings not found in the image itself. example: film dialogue, ‘zine captions, visual pun. Image and text brings their own new bit of information to the overall message. Postmodernism: Postmodernism is a broad term used to describe movements in a wide range of disciplines, including art, philosophy, critical theory, and music. Many view it as a response to the preceding modernist movement, but where modernism simply reacts against classical concepts, particularly in the arts and […]