Reading Task: The Key Concepts

Reading Task: The Key Concepts

This book will provide you with further reading throughout this course and you can freely dip into it. There will also be points in the course where you will be directed to particular chapters.

On occasion, when people hear that I’m a keen photographer, they often ask me what type of photographs I take. This question both confuses and frustrates me. I take images of lots of things. Sometimes, I work in series, sometimes taking singular images of whatever catches my eye—decisive moments, documentary-oriented imagery, portraits, or abstract ideas communicated via photography. But to keep things simple I find myself using the concept of genre to communicate the type of images I take. And this serves its purpose as :

  • Genres bring with them certain expectations of what the photo should be about
  • They help categorize or locate images based on common themes / subject matter and techniques, providing a framework or mental model for understanding. For example, portait = identity, landscape = a countryside vista, etc.

When I started this course, one of the key questions I wanted to answer was what made a great photograph? I have been confused and confounded by images that have gained reputations as great or seminal images (Dust Breeding by Man-Ray comes to mind), but images need to be considered in a much broader context including the key themes such as representation, technology, context of use and their social and cultural implications.
I hope that throughout the course, I can engage with images through critical thinking and analysis—something Bates proposes to help me understand and engage effectively with photography.

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