Sunday, 26 October 2014

Assignment 5 planning (part 4)

Follow on thoughts re what else I could use to focus or rather limit the scope of my project. Having spent last weekend at the Brighton Biennial and been exposed to some fantastic art, I think the scope of my assignment just expanded rather than contracted....

I'm specifically thinking about John Maclean and his project 'Hometowns' - extract from Night Contact programme:
Photographing the hometowns of ones art heroes. If every image we make is the result of an accumulation of other images, should our artistic influences be a source of anxiety, or a source of ecstasy? Hometowns, takes a reflexive view of the subject of artistic influence. It began life as a line in MacLean’s notebook — 'Photograph the hometowns of your heroes’ — an idea for a layered investigation into the places which influenced the artists whose work has coloured his own. Two years later, that line has become a sixty-five-image photo-homage to a unique group of artists who have been mentors-by-proxy, and an endeavour to untangle the strands that connect Maclean to their work.

Hometown of John Gossage
© the artist 
Hometown of Raymond Moore
© the artist 
This leads me to think about 'found art' in the form of archive photographs of my hometown, combined with my own photographs to develop a 'memory of...' series.

Brighton Photo Biennial 2014

Breakfast on Saturday morning at the Lucky Beach
Great weekend in terms of meeting people - students and tutors, discussing OCA work and getting a general overview of what's going on in the art world. I highly recommend this to all students and hopefully I'll be lucky enough to be back in 2 years time.

Rather than comment on all of the exhibitions we visited I'm going to limit this post to the items that spoke to me.

'Afterimage' by Cornford and Cross
"This was series of works produced from the removal and destruction of their photographs, which were previously conservation mounted onto aluminium substrates." (Taken from the gallery write up.) After much discussion in 'my' immediate group, it was decided this this was not photography, in fact we decided to call it not-photography. Nonetheless we all agreed that is was interesting conceptual art.

Reflection of the OCA group in one of the Aluminium substrates

'36 views + Sub-Urbia' by Adrian Turner
"In the summer of 2002, I stopped driving the 1.3 miles to work and instead started walking and taking photographs along the way." (Taken from the gallery write up.) AT selected a number of his photographs and printed them A5 on quality card for visitors to take away - a nice touch. I will always have fond memories of 'Manor Hill'.

Manor Hill by Adrian Turner

Another interesting discussion about landscape and about tutor feedback re landscape submissions. One of these landscapes was what we considered to be 'classically' romantic, drawn directly from the style of the old masters - a soft-focus view through trees towards distant buildings. This lead us to discuss the influence (or not) of painting on contemporary photographic practices; this further lead to a discussion re what was acceptable to include in a photograph as an urban landscape - for example, is it ok to leave litter, telegraph poles and wires or gutters in your image? Do these items add to the overall aesthetics of the image? The general view was that whilst it may not be a 'pretty' aesthetic, it was still fundamental to the overall feel of the image and therefore an important part of the overall aesthetics.

I found it interesting the number of students that commented (afterwards) as to similar feedback that had received about 'sanitising' their work re the un-pretty aesthetics of everyday life. 

'City Gorged with Dreams' by Currie and Gates
"All the images have been shot in and around Brighton over the past year, and are an attempt to glimpse a side of the city that is often overlooked or ignored." (Taken from the gallery write up.)

In my opinion this is psychogeography in its purest form and this particular exhibition contains some very well seen and composed images.

'Assembly' by Anthony Luvera
Allegedly these images were taken by the individual in the image - might as well start on a controversial note... The photographer taught this group of homeless people how to take photographs and then 'left them to it'???? It is remarkable as to the similarity of the final images. I stress at this point that the images are excellent, impactful and even compelling, I just don't accept that they were taken by the homeless individuals. Naturally our discussions centred around what it meant to actually 'take' a photograph, does Crewdson actually press the shutter - no, but does anybody dispute he's the photographer - no! In this particular case, I feel the situation may have been reversed; the shots were set up (composed, choreographed) by the photographer, but the actual shutter was pressed by the individual - possibly as part of the engagement in the project. This lead us down the murky road towards authorship - hay, ho...

This exhibition was unfortunately rather overtaken by the Photo Publishers Market and limited the amount of time  we spent there. I did manage to pick up a little book of old photographs taken of my home town - I think this will be an excellent springboard for a personal project.

'Re-mapping the flaneur' by Wideyed Photography Collective
The feedback regarding this exhibition was very mixed - I liked it, the concept and the format of the presentation.

Inspired by Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project and the advent of cloud printing, it is the result of a collaboration between 97 photographers from 20 collectives based in 15 countries, and was designed to provide an overview of the global collective movement, of contemporary photographic practices, and the complexity of urban life worldwide.
Unrolled scrolls creating a wave

Basically there were lots of small images printed/exposed at various intervals along very long scrolls of paper. The images were of nothing special - just everyday life, the sort of thing you take on your phone to show your friends then delete; photographic white noise. In the first room the scrolls were threaded over pipes to create a waveform, then in the second room there were pinned to the wall - this gave the impression of walking through a life that was time-stamped by images. At the end of the scrolls, there were a little set of wooden draws that held all of the images - even the ones you couldn't see because they were hidden in the rolled up paper.

The Photography of Extremes in 1970's Italy
This collection of images attempts to communicate the challenge faced by the press photographers of the day bounced between snapping celebrity images and covering the civil war. 

Photographs, videos and film presented in the old wooden bookcases

Curated by Roger Hargreaves and Federica Chiocchetti, the presentation forces the visitor to engage with the exhibition - sometimes by stepping back in order to be able to see images presented on the upper shelves of old wooden bookcases, and sometimes by leaning in or bending down to look closely at images lying in the floor. Interestingly we are required to step back from 'riot' images - a natural reaction for most people, why would you want to be close to or involved in a riot? Conversely we are required to step forward to look over dead bodies, an uncomfortable situation especially as some of these images are very graphic.

'Silent Fore to Aft' by Tom Pope and Terrence Smith
This was a collaboration in that the two decided to cycle on a tandem from London to Brighton and make a film about their trip - the constraint the gave themselves was not to speak to each other for the full 7 day journey!

The film (15 minutes) was an absolute hoot. The film began relatively normally, recording the journey, the scenery, etc; but as they got into the journey it became more and more bizarre with their exploits, at times, becoming pure slapstick comedy. At one point in the film, (about 3 days into the journey) you can feel the tension building as they realise the enormity of the task they've agreed to take on.

We were fortunate to have them present their journey and explain the rationale behind the collaboration. It is a mad film and an equally mad task, but it was very interesting hearing them talking about how seriously they took the 'mission'. Well worth seeing the film if you can, but before you watch it think about how you would cope spending 7 days with the same person and not talking to them!

Overall a fantastic weekend - I highly recommend it!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Post-documentary photogrpahy

Exercise 48 - read the article on 'Postdocumentary photography, art and ethics' by Ine Gevers and summarise the key points made by the author in your learning log.

Gevers states that "This essay will touch on a number of difficulties that are widely acknowledged within the post documentary discipline and that inspire critical, action; that said the essay focuses on the ethical position of artists." Throughout the essay Gevers offers references for different methods of documentary communication; then discusses their efficacy, the benefits and the challenges of each.

Originally, the principle of aesthetics was straight forward:

 aesthetics = beauty = good

... and from there, logically followed, the development of the 'ethics of perception' (in other words) the ability to take on board and appreciate the new and the different.

Latterly (post 1930's), there has been no requirement for the new to be classically beautiful, in fact, regularly the new was very specifically 'collected' because it was not beautiful; ironically only to become 'beautiful in its own way' when exposed to greater scrutiny (and often better understood) - this re-evaluation radically shifted world view on the definition of 'beauty' (in photography).

Aesthetics/ethics used to be defined by personal experience, now in our media saturated
environment, other peoples experiences, tastes and influences have become ours; thus every bodies 'aesthetics' are out in the world to be shared! Aesthetics now has a life of their own and no one culture can control them.

Rigidly sticking to your own (set of) aesthetics will result in somebody considering you draconian. Open-ended aesthetics are here to provide knowledge and insight, however, this relaxed view-point appears to be having the opposite effect. We all have our own frame of reference and individual views are bound to differ; so in order to avoid the risk of offending others, regarding topics we either don't agree with or don't want to be involved with, we put up internal barriers and avoid the situation.

Photography has educated (the nation, the world) intentionally and unintentionally - it shows us more than any other media medium can. This can be beneficial because it shares experiences and removes stigmas, however, the downside is it can objectivise the subject and make common-place things that were previously special.

History argues, falsely, photography's ability to "capture reality faithfully" when from its earliest days the medium was used as a tool for propaganda and dramatisation. Gevers states" although nobody believes any more in the 'reality effects' of documentary photography, everyone is still expected to behave as though they do."
This essay was written in February 2012 (two and a half years ago) I'm really not sure that today that is the case - I think it is more normal that people don't' believe and challenge what the see/hear.

Gevers further states that "in this way image, perception, language and consciousness continually reproduce and confirm each other" - I believe that is still the case.
The age old question of objectivity then becomes the focus, initially defining the collection of 'objective' facts from medical observation (back to exercise 36 - On Foucault: Disciplinary Power and Photography) and whilst this type of recording can now only be done with the express permission of the patient; one has to ask whether these documents (like it or not) advanced science in the same way as the 'primitive' surgeries that used to be carried out. Will we be talking about genetically modified food in the same way in 30 years time?

The follow on, discusses the objectivisation or the de-humanisation of the individuals observed, rather than people they became their syndrome. This assumes that all doctors, by default, become professionally detached (loose their human touch) and that their patients become ailments rather than people. Whilst this is a disconcerting notion, it's difficult to think of any other reality - does this go back to  "once you've seen one famine picture you've seen then all"? Similarly, once you've seen one heart transplant you've seen then all?

Part of the issue with documentary, is that it can so easily be brought into question. Regardless of the 'facts' everybody engaged in any particular debate will have a subjective view, not all of these will be informed, balanced or logical and some will not even be relevant; add to this that the initial 'document' and it's presentation was also subjectively created and questions are bound to arise.

Gevers references Rosler in terms of her ethical approach to projects and her need to give 'voice' back to her subjects. Rather than using only images, she engages directly with the individuals (and uses mixed media - photos, text, video) enabling them to speak for themselves to avoid the risk of de-humanisation at the same time as presenting a more balanced view of the situation. Similarly, Gevers references Sekula because of his alternative approach to projects. Sekula also uses mixed media but only provides partial scenarios to his audience - he requires that the audience engage and finish the 'story' for themselves.

Just because an exhibition is extolled as a success, it doesn't actually mean it delivered what the photographer and/or the curator had intended. This again goes back to the fact the aesthetics and ethics are specific to the owner of the views and potentially slightly (or completely) different to other peoples. A number of examples are given, the most notable being the portraits by Douglas Niven and Christopher Riley entitled S-21 of the genocide in Cambodia. Whilst the intent was to 'show the inhumanity' of the situation, because of the location and the presentation of the work it was 'transmogrified' into art and the more success full the exhibitions, the further removed from its origins it became!

Today 'ratings' drive behaviour and push stories way beyond what used to be acceptable, as such 'documentary' images that were originally meaningful suffer from over exposure and loose their meaning e.g. the falling man from the Twin Towers. What was initially shocking, becomes common place and is then ignored. How then do we move forward from this situation? Gevers proffers an option from Alfredo Jaar - the black box exhibition of Rwanda, where he took thousands of images but showed only one. Is this Jaar's trade mark form of communication? To not communicate, not being prepared to sensationalise the horror of the situation? Similar to his mini-movie 'The Sound of Silence'.

Is Debord correct? Do we act rather than live? Taking this further, do we relate to life only if we have already seen it 'demonstrated' in a film? Are films a form of universal crystal ball for us? We know what to do and what to say because we've seen it 'played' by somebody else.
How does what we see inform us? If we are spoon-fed everything, are we actually capable of take it on board and genuinely understanding it? The expression 'you learn from your mistakes' springs to mind - if we do not make mistakes because we only live vicariously, do we actually learn?

In today's world, are we in a permanent state of over-stimulation because of the continuous stream of information? Accepting that there is no way that we are capable of processing all of this information, does this lead to a feeling of alienation? Both Tester and Badiou believe this to be the case. Badiou takes this further and relates it to our current 'format' of unachievable and unrealistic contemporary ethics. How can all of us work to and believe in one standardised set of norms? Badiou's view is that 'ethics should become the enduring principle of individual process', in other words, since nothing is 'normal' how can standardise how we behave and how we view things; each situation has a unique set of circumstance and should be assessed on its own merits. Hence 'truth is not something that can be communicated, it is something that must be encountered'.

Is it possible to change the world? Rosler believes it is, these photographs and films challenge viewers to see beyond what is already known, beyond their own limits - it is up to the viewer as co-author to give weight to the image. As per my essay for assignment 4, the viewer is just as culpable as the photographer and the editor in their subjective interpretation of the image - ignorance is not innocence but sin. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Assignment 2 images - Depression portfolio updated

These are the images updated as per my tutor feedback - to create a more cohesive portfolio of images, an element of 'drawing' could be incorporated into each of the photographs. 

They were uploaded onto my blog so that I could discuss them with other students at the Brighton Biennial. 

No future
It's a nice clear day and then it's not; I could see and feel and understand and then the greyness starts to seep in. There's nothing I can do to stop it, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger until it takes over completely and everything slows to grey.

Black dog
He's an easy way to talk about it, superficial because he can't really explain my feelings but good at explaining my mood - bad day = big black dog! Before this, it wasn't really a dog, I'm not sure its really a dog now. But because I picked this dog, it seems more like a dog. A scary dog on a bad day.
Self medication
I'm entitled to some time off, time to not be who I am.
I'm such an idiot! I didn't do that, I can't believe I did that.
How will I ever live this down, what are people saying about me?.
I can't go out again, what will people think?
I'm such an idiot. I can't stop thinking about it. I can't believe I did that.
Its lonely not being able to talk about it. Just leave me alone, I'm fine.
Its difficult trying to talk about it. Just leave me alone, I'm fine.
Its impossible to put it into words so that you understand it. Just leave me alone, I'm fine 
Its tiring just trying not to think about it. Just leave me alone, I'm fine.
Its easier not to talk about it. Just leave me alone. Help me!
Every day tasks
Make you a cup of tea, on a bad day it would be just the same as you asking me to climb Mount Everest! 
It takes all my effort and concentration to walk across the room.
No matter how hard I try to change things - nothing works; the harder I try, the more frustrating the situation becomes. I end up so angry and frustrated with myself, it feels like I'm crying inside my head and no one can see, so nobody can help!
Tired, so tired I can't think or feel or breath.
So tired I can't move a muscle, I can't even close my eyes. 
So tired I can't sleep.
I feel like I'm dead.
I wish I was dead.

Feedback from the group in Brighton was very encouraging. An alternative approach suggested was to use the individual with the black dog (in every image) to communicate the different moods/stages of depression.

The drawings of the mug and the kettle, in every day tasks, were particularly appreciated.

Most interestingly, because of the amount of work involved in these images it would have been acceptable for me to have submitted fewer images for the assignment! That said, if I were to do this assignment again, I don't believe I would reduce the number of images in the portfolio - the 8 elements portrayed here only go part way to communicating the complexity of this disease.

The assignment brief states that this assignment is to be published on a blog page. I have yet to finalise the format in which I would like to present this particular assignment, in order for the photographs to make any sense the captions are critical. The size of the captions varies significantly and thus alters the size of the frame assigned to the image - I feel this is detracting and deminishes the overall strength of the portfolio.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Post-documentary art

Exercise 47 - listen to Jim Goldberg talking about 'Open See' and his exhibition at the Photographers Gallery. Look at his website re the portfolio and reflect on how this works as a documentary project within a gallery space.

Still taken from the Vimeo interview Jim Goldberg - "Open See

The selection of images shown in the video are more diverse than can be seen on this particular section of wall (image above). The significant variation is size of the images, does not appear to have any relevance to the importance or impact of either the artists narrative or the individuals personal journey.

In the video, Goldberg specially talks about the photograph of 'the boy crossing the river' (right hand side of the still above) and shares information re the power plant (obviously, just out of shot) and the pollution of the river - dead fish. I find this strange because clearly this image does not communicate the 'real' situation - so why show this photograph?

The portfolio is about the "2004 Olympics in Greece" and Goldberg's brief was to focus on the sub-culture created - the illegal immigrants that arrived for the work. Whilst the video is short (3.5 minutes) it provides an interesting commentary and shares some of the thought processes of the photographer. The 'section' of gallery we can see in the video does not show any written description to support the portfolio, however, Goldberg states (in an interview with the Guardian, November 2009) that "since 1970, I've been using text and ephemera as well as photographs in order to tell stories of one kind or another."  In addition to this, a number of the images have text written on them - the story of the individual in their own words - giving the portfolio a very personal feel about it. No doubt this level of engagement with the subjects makes it much easier for the audience to gain a complete and informed understanding of this body of work.

Without the necessary 'words' I believe it would be very difficult to effectively communicate this type of storytelling documentary.

I think this may work very well as a documentary project in a gallery space, but I would like to see it for myself.

The Open See website is very different, the images scroll across the screen and the viewer has no say in what happens - you have no control over the speed, you cannot stop or pause the scrolling, you cannot click on an image to enlarge it! The site 'happens to you' almost as though the photographer is showing how life happens to these 'dispossessed' people.

I am less convinced about the website, I find the site frustrating, even the instructions are totally abstract - I accept that I may be missing the point completely....

Contemplating documentary

Exercise 46 - read the article "The Judgement Seat of Photography" (in Bolton, 1992, pp 15-48) and add to your learning log the key research materials referenced in the text. 

Baudrillard, J (1976) “L'Echange symbolique et la mort”, Paris, Editions Gallimard

Bayer, H (1939) "Fundamentals of Exhibition Design" Production Manager (December/January)

Bayley, G (1947) "Photographer's America" New York Times Magazine, (August)

Benjamin, W (1969) "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" trans. Harry Zohn, in Illuminations, New York, Schocken Books

Benjamin, W (1972) "A Short History of Photography" trans. Stanley Mitchell, Screen, vol. 13, no. 1 (Spring)

Buck-Morss,S (1977)The Origin of Negative Dialectics New York, Free Press

Burgin, V (1980) "Photography, Phantasy, Function" in Screen, vol. 21, no. 1

Cockcroft, E (1974) "Abstract Expressionism: Weapon of the Cold War" Ariforum, vol. 12, no. 10

Galassi, P (1981) “Before Photography New York, MoMA

Jameson, F (1979) "Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture" Social Text, no. 1

Lifson, B and Solomon-Godeau,A (1981) "Photophilia: A Conversation about the photography Scene" October, no. 16 (Spring)

Newhall, B (1937) “Photography: 1839-1937 New York, Museum of Modern Art

Newhall, B (1938) “Photography: A Short Critical History New York, Museum of Modern Art

Newhall, B (1940) "Photography as an Art" in A Pageant of Photography, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Exposition Co.

Sekula, A (1981) "The Traffic in Photographs" Art journal, vol. 41, no. 1 (Spring)

Stange, M (1978) "Photography and the Institution: Szarkowski at the Modern"Massachusetts Review, vol.  19, no. 4 (Winter)

Szarkowski, J (1965)The Photographer's Eye New York, MoMA

Szarkowski, J (1967)"Photography and Mass Media" Aperture, vol.  13, no. 3

Szarkowski, J (1970) "Photography and the Private Collector" Aperture, vol. 15, no. 2 (Summer)

Szarkowski, J (1973) “Looking at Photographs New York, MoMA

Szarkowski, J (1974) “New Japanese Photography New York, MoMA

Szarkowski, J (1976) “William Eggleston's Guide New York, MoMA

Szarkowski, J (1979) "American Photography and the Frontier Tradition" Photographic Symposium Austria

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Assignment 5 planning (part 3)

Analysing John Piper

Feedback from my tutor is positive, so all systems are go...

That said, my tutor has concerns re maintaining a tight control on the scope of the project "tprevent the assignment being too wide-ranging you may need to find a way of restricting the focus further. Using John Piper as a visual influence is one starting point, but you may also need to find another point to help define the project to produce the final 15 images". 

Starting with currently my only starting point, John Piper, what do I understand about his art and his approach so far?

  • His control over colour is radical, the colour key for the final image often bears no resemblance to the original scene. 
  • His preference is to work in water colours when painting outside, thus invariably his picture starts with a line drawing, normally in pencil and the colour follows. 
  • JP is known for his architectural drawings and his paintings tend to focus on very specific architectural elements of the buildings.
  • Key elements are depicted in great detail, often in pencil or coloured ink. 
  • Often less than a third of his picture will be developed to this level of detail.
  • Often the most important element is left without colour
  • The pictures tend to be very light at the centre, gradually getting darker and darker towards the edge of the frame
  • JP uses blocks of colour to support and communicate mood

Piper regularly uses mixed media to communicate his ideas and is particularly fond of incorporating newspaper and photographs into his pictures. Not only are multiple layers used to develop and build up the image, but Piper also duplicates sections of the image and applies different colour codes. 

Eye and camera - Multi figure (1972)
© The Piper Estate

St Anne's, Limehouse, London (1964)
© The Piper Estate

So how do I 'do' Piper?

  1. Start looking at my area with Piper vision
  2. Identify the area of focus and take my photograph and use it to create a colourless line drawing
  3. Select the important detail that needs to be 'added' back in
  4. Select a colour palette that creates the feel and mood I wish to create
Four simple steps - if only it were that easy.......

I also need to think about the 'other point' (or points) to help define the project.....

Documentary in the gallery space

Exercise 45 – look at the ‘Cruel + Tender’ brochure and listen to the interviews with Rineke Dijkstra and Fazal Sheilk. Make comments in your log.

Not having seen this type of document before, I was very impressed by the ‘leaders kit’ produced by the Tate: -
  • Having been to the ‘Beyond boarders’ exhibition at the Impressions Gallery in Bradford and been fortunate enough to meet the curator and receive a talk on how the exhibition was created, I found the introductory section fascinating – especially the intended inter-play between portfolio between photographers and across time.
  • I felt it brought all of the elements of the exhibition together and then developed questions specific to the artist and/or portfolio; then further developed these questions into more general discussion points. The follow-on questions are very logical when they are written down in front of you, but unfortunately less so when you are trying to develop your own theme/scope for a project – these sections are certainly food-for-thought.
  • Reading through this brochure and gaining a better understanding of some of the artists referenced, brings home the relevance of a good number of the exercises we have covered in this module. It’s almost as though the Tate is reinforcing the relevance of the work/topics we have been studying with the OCA!

I was also particularly interested in the section on Tate Modern’s approach to learning: -
“… encourages students to think not of one correct reading or interpretation of an artwork, but of plural readings. These will be based on the evidence of the artwork itself as experienced by the individuals viewing it, …”
So often in school I was asked a question and then given the correct answer – this is a very refreshing change.

Interview with Rineke Dijkstra – Bullfighters and Mothers
  • Both sets of images very effectively portray powerful and mixed emotions – pain, relief, pride, confusion and exhaustion
  • Dijkstra’s aim was to capture a different view of these individuals, one not normally on ‘public display’ – in other words, to portray the experience rather than tell the story of the people
  • Another aim was not to take stereotypical images, nonetheless, there is a strong element of stereotyping, in Dijkstra’s own words “men fight and women protect” and both portfolios depict these characteristics
  • Most interesting was the comments re the impact of the womens’ photographs – the appreciation of the women that the pictures truly captured what it was like for them and that somebody had actually given them a voice, versus the ‘opinion’ of the men that the women were being exploited at a time of vulnerability.
I found this interview very interesting and felt that Dijkstra came across as being open and genuine. I found the images of the women very touching and felt that they captured the gentle but possessiveness of the situation. Whereas, I felt the bullfighters just look relived to have survived their ordeal!

Interview with Fazal Sheikh – Somalian Refugees
  • Over a 2 year period initially, Sheikh spent time living with/in 5 different refugee camps along the Eastern and Southern Somali borders.
  • His aim was to ‘flush out’ what it was like to live in these borderland desserts; hence the duration of his ‘visit’ and the format of his images – stripped of everything other than the individuals so that they are the sole focal point
  • Sheikh disliked the portrayal of the Somali people by the American media and decided to return to the camps some 8 years later and to ‘catch-up’ with the children he’d photographed; the aim being to show that whilst their plights were desperate they were survivors!
  • By way of explaining his use of a Polaroid camera for these images, Sheikh states that “I’m not very comfortable actually during the act of photographing. I decided to make it a community affair, wherein we would decide together who and how they [the people] should be rendered.”
  • The exhibition includes testimonials from the individuals as well as diary like elements from Sheikh’s travels to the camps. He feels that whilst photographs are great in certain circumstances, they are not very effective for communicating the full story when it comes to “political and social turbulence”- thus the exhibition is a ‘marriage’ of text and image to create the overall ‘piece’.

Sheikh’s images portray people with determination and real strength of character – rather than the waifs the American media were implying, as such, I am confused by his discomfort at taking these images and telling this story. The use of a Polaroid and the level of engagement implies that the people were actually involved in taking the images, but at no point does Sheikh confirm this. I felt there was something lacking with this interview, almost as though it was a prepared script – a good story to tell to the camera.