Sunday, 26 January 2014

Assignment 2 planning (part 2)

bright, luminous, rich, shiny, sunny, burnished, clear, flashing, fluorescent, glossy, glowing, polished, shining, ablaze, aglow, brilliant, cloudless, lambent, lucent, lustrous, phosphorescent, radiant, refulgent, resplendent, scintillant, unclouded, unobscured, vivid, well-lighted, well-lit

actual, appreciable, earthly, perceptible, physical, substantial, animal, concrete, corporeal, abjective, real, true, camal, fleshly, incarnate, nonspiritual, palpable, phenomenal, sensible, sensual, worldly

achievement, ambition, anticipation, aspiration, belief, concern, confidence, desire, expectation, faith, goal, optimism, promise, prospect, wish, assumption, buoyancy, daydream, dependence, endurance, expectancy, fancy, fortune, gain, hopefulness, reliance, revere, reward, rosiness, sanguineness, security, stock, utopia

capability, capacity, function, influence, potential, skill, talent, aptitude, bent, competency, dynamism, effectiveness, efficacy, endowment, faculty, gift, potentiality, qualification, turn, virtue

approach, conception, image, notion, perception, theory, thought, view, abstraction, apprehension, brainchild, conceit, consideration, hypothesis, impression, intellection, slant, supposition, twist, wrinkle, big idea, brain-wave, fool notion

Signs and symbols

Exercise 15 - This exercise revolves around "The Americans" by Robert Frank.

1. Find 5 images in 'The Americans' where symbols are used. Explain what they are and how they are used.

2. Read the introduction to Frank's book written by Jack Kerouac, find symbolic references that you can also identify in Frank's photograph (not necessarily the same symbols identified in the 5 images selected in part 1).

Robert Frank's book "The Americans" was published in 1958 after a road trip, sponsored by the Guggenheim Fellowship, covering 30 states of America. Franks shot some 767 rolls of film during the trip and it took him the best part of a year to develop and then make final selection for the book.

Question 1: Find 5 images in 'The Americans' where symbols are used. Explain what they are and how they are used.

Images selected:
  1. Newburg, New York
  1. Parade, Hoboken, New York
  1. Drugstore lunch counter, Detroit
  1. Cafe-Beaufont, South Carolina
  1. Covered car, Long Beach, California

Newburg, New York
This photograph could be a still form "The Wild One" - the attitude, the motorbike, the Levi 501's with the deep turn-ups; the leather jacket complete with studs; the Aviator sun glasses and the Starburst motorcycle cap! In terms of capturing the 1950's 'rebel without a cause' look, you can go no further than this photograph. Post war, rebellious youth driving change in both fashion and music; the move from clean, smart suits to utilitarian denim and leather; welcome rock 'n' roll. Every element in this photograph is symbolic to that era. Especially interesting is the integration of black and white culture, clearly the three young men are together by choice and consider themselves to be equals. Again this captures the start of Civil Rites movement in America.

Parade, Hoboken, New York
The flag of the United States of America, a symbol regularly photographed by Franks. I speculate that to Franks, coming from Switzerland, this display of fierce national pride was a very new phenomenon for him. The two women observing the Parade, do not want to be directly involved; this is clear from their upstairs vantage point, but also from the way in which Franks has captured them - present, but remaining in the shadows and obscured by the window blind and the flag. Is this meant to be a refection of the role of women in 1950's America, or a reflection of the role women had played during the war - men on the front line, women staying at home?

Drugstore lunch counter, Detroit
A 1950's fast food restaurant - fast food for people in a hurry. The overall feel of the image is 'busy' - very busy (presumably lunch time) with people and very busy with merchandising/advertising boards hanging from the ceiling. It's difficult to be sure, but it doesn't look like any of the people sitting at the bar are together, there does not appear to be any conversations taking place. As the critics have commented, is this Franks depicting "America as a society with a deep-rooted sense of psychological isolation, what sociologist David Riesman called 'the lonely crowd'".

Cafe-Beaufont, South Carolina
The jukebox, a classic symbol in Franks photography. This images is as uncluttered as the Drugstore is cluttered. The cafe basic and spotlessly clean - the plane wooden cabin; the very basic wooden table and chairs; the lack of curtains at the windows; the simple padded bed on the floor for the baby. It just makes in all the more incongruous to find this very stylish and ornate jukebox in this cafe. The only logical conclusion can be that music is exceptionally important to the owner of the cafe and its community. Is it possible that Dizzy Gillespie frequented this cafe? Symbolic and iconic....

Covered car, Long Beach, California
Symbols - expensive cars, glorious weather, palm trees, living the dream. The assumption is the car is expensive, otherwise why would you cover it with a tarpaulin? The same assumption holds true for the weather, the sun must be scorching. Also. comparing the size of the car with the door behind it looks very large. Thus, living in the sunshine state and driving a big expensive car you must be living the dream.  

Question 2: Read the introduction to Frank's book written by Jack Kerouac, find symbolic references that you can also identify in Frank's photograph (not necessarily the same symbols identified in the 5 images selected in part 1).

Key symbols employed by Franks in his photographs:
  1. Flags
  2. Cowboys
  3. Rich Socialites
  4. Jukeboxes
  5. Politicians
  6. Vehicles
  7. People - cultural observation of blacks and whites
An interesting, if somewhat rambling, introduction by Kerouac - from the style and the grammar it's not surprising that he was a rebel. He does however make some profound statements: 
"For this [The Americans] he will definitely be hailed as a great artist in his field."
"This is the way we are in real life and if you don't like it I don't know anything about it 'cause I'm living my own life my way and may God bless us all..."
"Anybody doesn't like these pitchers don't like potry, see? Anybody don't like potry go home see Television shots of big hatted cowboys tolerated by kind horses."
In terms of Kerouac's introduction he mentions numerous symbolic references, certainly all those listed above as he describes the photographs (in his own style):
"... you end up finally not knowing any more whether a jukebox is sadder than a coffin."
"Tall thin cowboy rolling butt outside Madison Square Garden ... sad, spindly, unbelievable" 
 "Haggard old frowsy dames ..."
 "... retired old codgers ..."

References used for this exercise:  

The New English Review - Looking at Robert Frank's "The Americans" by Terry Dunford

New York Times, Art & Design - America, captured in a flash


The Swiss born linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) is credited with being the father of linguistics and semiotics. Additional key individuals in the development of semiotics were American philosopher Charles Sander Pierce (1839-1914) and Charles William Morris (1901-1979) who developed 'behaviourist' semiotics.

Saussure developed a two-part model comprising of:
  1. A signifier - the form which the sign take.
  2. The signified - the concept it represents.
The Peirce Model, a three-part model comprising of :

  1. Symbol/symbolic: a mode in which the signifier does not resemble the signified but which is fundamentally arbitrary or purely conventional – so that this relationship must be agreed upon and learned: e.g. language in general (plus specific languages, alphabetical letters, punctuation marks, words, phrases and sentences), numbers, Morse code, traffic lights, national flags.
  2. Icon/iconic: a mode in which the signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified (recognizably looking, sounding, feeling, tasting or smelling like it) – being similar in possessing some of its qualities: e.g. a portrait, a cartoon, a scale-model, onomatopoeia, metaphors, realistic sounds in‘programme music’, sound effects in radio drama, a dubbed film soundtrack, imitative gestures.
  3. Index/indexical: a mode in which the signifier is not arbitrary but is directly connected in some way (physically or causally) to the signified (regardless of intention) – this link can be observed or inferred: e.g. ‘natural signs’ (smoke, thunder, footprints, echoes, non-synthetic odours and flavours), medical symptoms (pain, a rash, pulse-rate), measuring instruments (weathercock, thermometer, clock, spirit-level), ‘signals’ (a knock on a door, a phone ringing), pointers (a pointing ‘index’ finger, a directional signpost), recordings (a photograph, a film, video or television shot, an audio-recorded voice), personal ‘trademarks’ (handwriting, catchphrases).

Photography specific...
French literary theorist, critic and semiotician, Roland Barthes (1915-1980) considered the photograph to have a unique potential to communicate actual events by presenting a completely real representation of the world. Barthes developed his own two-part theory comprising of: 

  1. The studium - the obvious symbolic meaning of a photograph.
  2. The punctum - that which is purely personal and dependent on the individual, that which ‘pierces the viewer’.

Nonetheless, Barthes was concerned that these distinctions broke down when the personal significance was communicated to others, in other words, those without an invested emotional input could logically rationalise the image and as such it lost its symbolism. 

[We return again to arguments raised by Walton regarding objectivity versus subjectivity of a photograph - does it represent the object now or how the object was then? It depends upon the viewer has invested emotional input!]

Monday, 20 January 2014

Further thoughts on Assignment 1

For my assignment I took a series of portraits of stall holders and buskers from my local market.
The title (and theme) for the series was 'New Years Resolutions' and as such I added the resolutions as text at the bottom of the photograph.

My images were submitted to my tutor in portrait format and in colour, however, since completing this assignment and having had time to just think about it, I'm not at all sure this was the best option.

Original format

Better option in hindsight

I have changed:
  • The orientation from portrait to landscape
  • Converted the images to B&W and added grain
  • Changed the font from Papyrus to Courier New
As a result I think the images have lost that 'snapshot' look and moved more towards the images you would find in the tabloid newspapers. Using this format I think they have developed a more formal documentary feel about them.

What was the question we were asked - "why has B&W become such a respected and trusted medium in documentary?" Whilst I can't say I didn't 'trust' these images, I feel now that they look more authentic.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Project narrative (part 2)

Exercise 14 – Martin Shields photograph of the “Football Boys”

Read the accompanying text and answer the following:

1.       Does the text relate to your initial deconstruction of the image? If so, how?

2.       Does the text change your perception of the image? If so, how?

To summarise, the articles discusses the council tenants’ agreement, by ballot, that the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) should take control of the city’s entire council stock, some 83,000 houses.
The article also provides the ‘normal’ information regarding:
·       Ballot numbers – number of residents, attendance, voters pro and against
·       Interviews by relevant politicians – the Social Justice Minister; a senior Glasgow Councillor; a member of the Scottish National Party and a union convener from Unison.
·       Estimated time plan for the regeneration of the area.

Note: I appreciate this is not the complete article, so my comments relate to the piece of the article included in this document.

Question 1: Does the text relate to your initial deconstruction of the image?

The general dilapidation of the houses was a ‘must’ to be included in this text, however, whilst there was obviously a human interest element to the article, at no point did it communicate the feelings or concerns from the point-of-view of those involved – the tenants. The ‘Football Boys’ image also implies a socially motivated theme, however, because of any the lack of information regarding community benefits, I would suggest that article was politically motivated. 

Question 2: Does the text change your perception of the image?

Yes, the article changes my perception of the image. I feel that it was deliberately selected to engage me in a story about children making the best of living in ‘difficult’ conditions. Instead, I was hoodwinked into reading about another political tussle between the government and the opposition regarding privatisation.

Whilst the image is certainly aligned to the text; I do not believe it communicates the ‘crux’ of the story.

What would I do? I don’t think I would go with just one image. I think Shields’ photograph is great and certainly captures the feel of the tenement area, I would perhaps have been better if the boys were dirty (post game). In addition, to better and more completely communicate the story I would add another image. A photograph of the GHA putting up a billboard showing an artist impression of what this particular estate will look like once the development is completed. I would have the two boys from the original image looking, with anticipation, at their future.

Project narrative (part 1)

Exercise 13 - Deconstruct Martin Shields’ photograph of the two young footballers. What are the denotations and the connotations of this image?

A documentary photograph shows us something, that which we can see when we look at it. But is also tells us something, that which we infer when we look at it.

Denotation is what the photograph shows us – the re-presentation of the original scene.

Connotation is what the photograph tells us.

Denotation – picture shows
1.       Two young boys in football kit walking away from the camera and towards terraced houses
2.       The football kits are different
3.       Regardless of affiliation the boys are clearly friends with arms around each other and are engaged in conversation
4.       The strips are clean
5.       The boys each carry a football
6.       The estate is run down, with broken and boarded-up windows, a number of the houses also have damaged roofs
7.       The land behind the houses has nothing growing
8.       The houses in the middle terrace look like they have completely lot their roofs
9.       The boys are walking cross waste ground at the back of the estate
10.   There are no cars in the picture; there is rubbish on the ground and the estate looks generally run down
11.   The weather is clear with some high clouds

Connotation – my inference
·         From #1 - the boys appear to be aged between 10 and 13 years old
·         From #1 – the looks to be made up of council houses
·         From #1 – the estate could be located in any older industrial town, probably either northern England or northern Ireland or the west of Scotland
·         From #2 – because of the strips the boys play for ‘teams’ and are not just going for a kick-about on the waste ground
·         From #2 - the boys possibly play for different teams, however, they could be on the same team – one team, one goal keeper
·         From #2 – judging by the style of the football strip, the photograph is probably no more than  10 years old
·         From #4 – because of the cleanliness, the boys are going to the game rather than coming home
·         From #4 – the boys look clean and well kempt and probably don’t live in this particular estate
·         From #5 – both football strips look relatively new and with each boy carrying, possibly owning, a football the boys come from families with some money
·         From #6 – the council houses are derelict and without tenants, but possibly have squatters
·         From #7 – possible land contamination because there is nothing growing, there is only two or three small trees and they looks dead
·         From #10 – the weather is warm because the boys are not wearing costs, it is unlikely to rain because the clouds are too high
·         Possible ‘subject’ of the article:
        Housing development and renovation requirements or plans
        Safe and appropriate playground areas for children
        Public transport requirements

Continuing the tradition

Exercise 12 – Interview with Marcus Bleasedale

Information noted during his interview with EIGHT magazine in December 2003.
Salient points:
·         He a photographer and certainly doesn’t consider himself an artist
·         Photography is a tool (equivalent to a pen or a telephone) he (Marcus) could be a politician because of what he says with his work [or what he would like to be heard from his work]
·         He takes photographs because he get angry about things that happen and he wants them to change

·         He takes the gentle approach and always shows his subject that he has a camera (implying that he wants to take a photograph)
·         He holds his camera  ‘low’ and takes photographs without framing so the subject understand what’s going to happen; after he gets approval he then frames his shots
·         He doesn’t smoke, but always carries cigarettes; they can give him 30 seconds of calm in which to engage with his subjects
·         He uses his camera to see if the process of taking the picture is even possible

Discussing documentary

Exercise 11 – Mirror of visual culture by Maartje van den Heuvel

The crux of the matter – “whether documentary can still perform its time honoured communicative role of militant eye-witness in the museum room and whether documentary images themselves can anyway still refer to a degree of reality or whether the boundary with fiction has been definitively been abolished”

We are awash with images – papers, magazines, TV, Internet et al; describing different scenarios and explaining in minute detail different (alternative to our own) realities. In other words we no longer need to have been somewhere to see/do something to experience that place/activity; we are now capable of vicariously living it via somebody else’s images.

As a result of the continuous stream of digital data in existence, the ‘visual language’ developed to communicate through this data has by necessity become more and more sophisticated and complex. This in turn, has required that both the photographer and the viewer of these images be trained and become visually literate to identify and understand the visual symbols and the many styles of rhetoric employed.

The concern being, once people are able to understand this visual communication, they themselves will start to communicate using the same codes and mechanism. Thus newer images no longer actually portray reality, but portray a version of reality as defined by the latest visual language.

Historically, only individuals involved in the ‘art industry’ (photographers, film-makers) reflected on images in this way and then copied, reviewed and further reflected until they had distilled it into their own style. Today all types of images, art and documentary images are accessible to be reviewed by any individual in this way. As a result the codes and mechanisms that were solely used for documentary are now also used for high art and the genre boundaries are becoming blurred. As Heuvel states “in this sense, reflection upon documentary images is part of a wider development, namely one in which art is beginning to function more and more as a mirror of visual culture.”

Heuvel starts that there are two starting points that determined “documentary as the militant eye-witness”, one from the West, the Anglo-Saxon ‘human interest’ photography; the other from the East, the Communist/Socialist photography and film making between the two world wars.
He then goes on to explain how photography was utilised by the two sides to better the local ‘situation’. In the West, the works of Riis and Hine documenting the immigrant workers and the farmers; then Evens and Lange documenting poverty across the US. The East actively adopted photography and film as “a new, pure form of imagery” unlike “painting, which was a stuffy, bourgeois medium contaminated with decoration and mannerism.” The workers movements utilised the camera in support of the revolutionary struggle of the working class by documenting the poverty and their harrowing living conditions.

Over the years documentary reporting had developed a specific style - coarse grained, high-contrast, B&W images accompanied by a text that provided an overview for each image clearly directing how the images were to be interpreted. Reportage had been born.
“At this time the documentary photographer was diametrically opposed to the advertising photographer. Whereas the latter was associated with colour, technical perfection, artificiality, idealisation and staging; the rougher, B&W style of the documentary photographer was associated with authenticity, realism and everyday rawness – ‘images seized from life’”.

Heuvel highlights that the documentary image can only function as such if the viewer believes in its “transparency and objectivity”. However, since the advent of television and with the on-going technological advancements of the digital platform, especially image manipulation, documentary as a transparent and objective method of communication has continuously been undermined. If an image does not reproduce reality, it cannot be documentary and can therefore only be art.
Rather than this revelation resulting in the death of documentary, it enabled the genre to reinvent itself. Instead of having to reproduce reality, documentary started to incorporate the codes and mechanism (the visual language) of art and present options and scenarios that could reflect any number of possible realities. Thus documentary entered the art scene.

A couple of questions:
Heuvel states the “more and more mass media dominates our perception of reality”, however, have we not reach the point where mass media defines (to a greater extent) each of our individual realities?

If we continue with the stance that photographic images are not objective but heavily influenced by the photographer and that today the majority of our experiences are second hand via digital mass media (via somebody else’s particular view of the world); then how can we ever arrive at personally informed view of any situation?

Why is the on-going blurring of these boundaries detrimental? As long as clear definitions are agreed and documented for the new genre created, then rather than be problematic, it should enable further development of numerous digital and artistic mediums.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Assignment 2 planning (part 1)

Rather than focusing on a theme, work on a concept. The more abstract the concept the better. Abstract concepts name ideas, feelings, qualities or characteristics that are not directly perceived by the senses, e.g. hope, love, exploitation, sadness, freedom and greed.

Definition of emotion - a strong feeling deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

Definition of feeling - an emotional state or reaction; an idea or belief, especially a vague or irrational one.

(Below is the 'feelings inventory from the The Centre of Nonviolent Communication)

Positive EMOTIONS and feelings:

open hearted









clear headed


Negative EMOTIONS and feelings:









burnt out
worn out


heavy hearted

stressed out



Art of the document

Exercise 10 - Read Bill Brandt's - Art of the Document by David Campany
Write a short review.
How did B&W become such a respected and trusted medium in documentary?

Bill Brandt's Art of the Document by David Campany

This document charts the careers of Bill Brandt and one of his images, namely, 'Parlourmaid and under-parlourmaid ready to serve dinner'.

Campany focuses the article on Brandt's first book "The English at Home" and the
unique subject matter (for the time), the British classes - upper class and lower class in the same book on facing pages of the book. He pays particular attention to the cleaver layout of the photographs within the book and the juxtapositions of several pairs of images: -
Ø         A posh crowd watching the races at Ascot (front cover) paired with a miners wife and her children in their cramped living quarters (back cover)
Ø         An upper middle-class children's party in Kensington (West End) paired with a playground scene of the working class (London's East End)
Ø         A "Clubman's Sanctuary" paired with a workman's restaurant.

Mortimer writes in his introduction that Brandt "seems to have wandered about England with the detached curiosity of a man investigating the customs of some remote and unfamiliar tribe." This in part is probably quite true, bearing in mind that Brandt had just settled in England (from Germany) some 3 years earlier.

Whilst the contents of the book was no doubt 'accurate' in its portrayal of the differences of the class system, there is little doubt that its lack of success at the time was quite simply because of the very existence of that rigid class system. That said, "in the last few decades it has become regarded as a classic work"; interestingly the letter from Brandt to his publisher quotes a version of the book for sale at $500; it can be purchased today for circa £120.

Campany discusses the 'reincarnations' of the parlour maid image and also a more complete story commissioned by the Picture Post entitled 'The Perfect Parlourmaid'. The Brandt's preferred style of image was one of "tight formal organisation, its content given dramatic charge and dense psychological resonance; as documents they aim to exceed visual description." The difference between his preferred style (direct, forceful and sometimes confrontational) and the required style for photo-essays (more subtle and flowing, more film-like) was, Campany believes, possibly why in latter life he moved away from reportage and towards art photography.

"At his best Brandt was a 'documentary artist' with all the paradoxes and interpretative difficulties that entails. There could never be any simple distinction between his artistry and his documentary description." Back to the boundaries between the genres of photography, as stated earlier Brandt's work (his very best work and his most memorable images) whilst certainly documentary are also well conceived and conceptualised pieces of stand-alone art. They could neither pass across generations or stand alone unless they were art.

How did B&W photography become such a respected and trusted medium in documentary?

I don't know if there is a simple answer to this question, I think there are probably many different reasons.

  1. The simplest is the cost and practicality of utilising coloured photography. Whilst initial development was underway as early as circa 1850 ('Hillotype' by Levi Hill), it was very experimental and a complicated process that was not perfected. By 1907, the Lumière brothers had developed the first commercially successful colour process, however, this was at least 10x more expensive than B&W and required significantly longer to take equivalent exposures. It was not until 1935 that Kodak developed 'easy-to-use' colour film, that said, it was still expensive in comparison to B&W and without experience and good lighting equipment the film was really only usable outdoors. Colour film became more common place for holiday photography during the 1950s, but was not adopted by the public until the 1970s when the price of equipment and film fell.

  1. Thus the renowned documentary photographers, such as, Riis (1849 - 1914), Hine (1874 - 1940), Lange (1895 - 1965), et al had no choice but use black and white - thus the tone was set for documentary photography.

  1. We see in colour and it is distracting, no matter how relevant even the smallest block of colour will draw our eye - especially red, a human reaction to blood. I remember a television interview where Liam Neeson discussed the making of Schindler's List and the rationale for B&W, he commented to the effect that the viewer would not have been able to concentrate on the story if they were confronted with all the blood and guts - B&W sanitised the situation whilst maintaining the mood and the grittiness.

  1. I would also go as far as to suggest that the majority of viewers would be put off by the desperate and squalid conditions depicted in the images taken by documentary photographers. In order to get the message across, the 'narrator' must maintain their audience and the nature of B&W images enables the photographer to communicate the reality but creates the necessary distance required.

  1. With regards war photography, actual images from the war-zone, these are still circulated in B&W, again I suspect this is because of trying to ensure the entire message is communicated rather than just the gore.

  1. I believe that generations of exceptional documentary photographers and photojournalists have gone to places and become involved in situations, that we can't even begin to imagine, for the sole reason of ensuring that the 'rest of the world' get to know the truth. These people are the reason that B&W photography has become such a respected and trusted medium.

  1. More and more images in newspapers are being printed in colour and as technology advances, with digital cameras, more footage from the front lines is being shown on the news in colour. There are also very successful documentary photographers who favour colour, for example, Martin Parr, Nan Goldwin and Don McCullin. Nonetheless, B&W still has its 'foot in the door' and with the resurgence of B&W with the new generation of photographers I don't see dying out. I do, however, believe that in the future will see greater use of colour in documentary photography and photojournalism.


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Legacy documentary

Exercise 8 -read the 1939 article on documentary photography by Elizabeth McCausland and write a short bullet list of the main points.

The crux of this document is McCausland's opinion of what constitutes documentary photography and by default what done not constitute documentary photography.

  1. There is a surfeit of pretty and romantic pictures, these do not represent life and life is what is exiting and important.
  2. The external world shows decay and change of building and the aging and wrinkling of human beings, this is what needs to be recorded - the real  world, not the inner ebb and flow of consciousness.
  3. Photography should be a social document, not influenced by the personality of the photographer in term of exhibitionism, but by his knowledge of his equipment and the understanding of his surroundings. Esthetic control over the subject matter finds significant truth and gives it significant form.
  4. One of the greatest issues is finding an honest outlet to publish documentary photographs. To many newspapers and magazine only accept sensationalised images.
  5. Documentary image making does not have the appropriate level of backing and sponsorship. When appropriately sponsored, the bodies of work developed are accurate in recording circumstance and quality pervades.
  6. There is a whole wide world before the lens and reality uniting to be set down imperishably. Why does photography need to be art?
  7. Photography is bound to realism in as complex a way as buildings are bound to the earth by the pull of gravitation. Photography is not a romantic or impressionistic medium and should not be utilised subjectively.
  8. In this modern era (1939) we no longer want emotion from art, but truth, not rationalisation, not idealisation and not romanticisation - even art must be defined by facts and figures!
  9. A work of art must now be defined by a set of criteria: (a) It must have meaning; (b) It must have content; (c) It must communicate; (d)It must speck to an audience. It cannot just be art.
  10. Photographs have qualities that can not be delivered via any other medium, for example, the ability to capture every minute detail accurately. 
  11. Every subject is significant (an opportunity) to be considered in its context and viewed in the light of historical forces.
  12. The greatest objective of photography is to bring the world to us and aquatint us with the full range and variety of human existence. Photography is the observer, the unbiased witness and recorder of everything.

Assignment 1 - short commentary

Short commentary

A generic project title of 'Markets' was agreed, with the caveat that it was not just 10 photographs of stalls and stall holders. My initial research was to clarify what constituted a typical market image, I then spent time at various markets watching all activities from stall erecting in the morning through until stall dismantling in the evening. Unfortunately, this just confirmed that I took typical market images and so I needed to develop a different angle.

After a chance conversation with a busker, I found my angle - converse with the stall holders to collect their new years resolutions (NYR).

In the first section of this course we have debated 'what makes a document?', the output being: context. As such I have developed a set of images that have two common themes - markets and NYR, thus providing for the viewer a clear context for the portfolio. To add further to the context, I have also titled each of these images with the name (or nickname) of the individual and dated them 2014.

During these conversations people really opened up and discussed their private lives, with the exception of Kenny who's very proud of being clean, I have not included private information on the documents.

Documents to follow, post feedback from my tutor.