Tag Archives: Week9

Activities Linked to Week 9 of a module

Who Buys Photography Part 2 – Reflection

For this week’s reflection I will look back on the following items:

  • Amy Simmons Presentation
  • Portfolio Refresh – Activity
  • PhotoLondon Simon Frederick Talk
  • Filter House Follow-on Meeting
  • Southend Pier Shoot
  • Draft WIP Portfolio Review

Looking back at the week you get a strong feeling of undertaking a commercial job involves many different people and is not just a photographer taking pictures.

Amy Simmons walked us through the different roles steps that are involved in commissioning and executing a commercial photographic assignment. Understanding the different roles is important if I wish take my practice into the commercial photographic arena. Having create a strong portfolio is walking that workaround the art buyers and art producers who are an entry point for photographers. This was something Simon Frederick discussed during his PhotoLondon Talk and the fact if you want to get into the commercial arena it is important to differentiate yourself from other photographers if you want to get on to the short list of art buyers. Though the London advertising market is large but there are many strong photographers competing for work, therefore it might be better build relationships with art buyers in smaller markets to establish a relationship and add commercial work to my portfolio.

Since 2007 I have owned the domain name simonfremont.com which I have used as a platform for sharing some of my photographic work. At the start of this module I started to refresh the site in terms of design and layout as the site has not undergone any major changes for 3 years as the site is the permanent online present for my practice. When making decision decisions I looked at the website of contemporary photographers (discussed in more detail in a CRJ.)

Once you have been awarded a commission the work starts as you need to manage the different people who might be on set. I have developed a workflow where I can tether my camera and share the images via a local wireless network and tablets which minimises the number of people that need to be on set. It means that in a world of tight budgets help keep the budget by allowing art directors and clients to review the images remotely but still provide timely feedback to ensure the required images are delivered to meet the brief.

Simon Frederick shared his 3 H’s formula for successful execution of a brief which I will look to incorporate into my own photographic workflow.

Following up on the advice of Mark Power to follow the Filter House story to the next phase through contacts and Chelmsford Museum I arranged a meeting with the people behind the redevelopment of the Filter House that represent the Boat Trust and Sea Scouts. I decided to take a portfolio of images to show them the type of work I had already produced around the Filter House to help make an impact I decided to take a set of A2 prints in an A2 portfolio folder. I explained the concept behind the images and they were really impressed with the quality of the imagery created as they had only been able to see the building in its bordered up state.

Based on the advice of Mark Power I asked if I could be granted exclusive access to record the redevelopment of the site and in return I will provide them with a set of images that they can use for sharing with partner organisations who will help fund the redevelopment. They walked me through their plans for the building which include an exhibition space which hopefully will provide a permenant home for some of my Filter House images as they want to retain as many of the original features in the building as possible. This could lead to a potential further collaboration on management of the art exhibition space.

The unexpected outcome of the conversation was two offers: First to get access to a Steam Tug which is moored at Maldon Quay and is currently undergoing restoration and secondly being given access to the Chelmsford Sea Scouts photographic archive which could provide me with a new photographic project as the archive dates back over multiple decades.

During the week I made a second visit to Southend-on-Sea Pier to shoot additional images for this module’s WIP creating my first set of rubbing images for the pier. This week I was still undecided on the title for the WIP portfolio but an image I shot of the steps at the end of the pier provided me with the missing element that allowed me to settle on the title “Piers – Points of Departure”  the image below felt like a resolved point of departure.

Departure Point – Southend-on-Sea Pier, November 2017

During this week’s webinar we discussed our draft WIP portfolios. I decided to create a draft portfolio from my picks from the different Pier shoots. My draft portfolio was 25 images and included images from the different themes I had explored during the the different visits: The pier from a promenaders point of view; The superstructure of the pier from below the pier, health of the planks that make up the pier, signifiers of people that used to visit the pier and  rubbings from the pier decks. The feedback was positive and helped me refine themes that would inform the final portfolio for the module.

 

Draft WIP Portfolio – Activity

For the week 9 webinar I prepared a close to final selection of images for discussion with the group. The draft covered images from the 4 piers. I included a selection of the different. views for each pier plus view other images to gauge feedback to allow me to make an informed final selection for inclusion in the Work in Progress submission for the module.

[pdf-embedder url=”http://fineart.photography/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Draft-WIP-Mod-4.pdf” title=”Draft WIP Mod 4″]

The feedback was overall consistent from the students and tutor about the images included though some images resulted in a difference of opinion.

Image 1 was one such image with some linking the images and other finding the people sat on the benches a distraction as the other pier images are devoid of people or they were not a prominent feature of the image. This image is the only promenade deck image that has a portrait representation which I had done to avoid the light house ship on to the right of frame and to avoid coping the lamp posts on the deck. I therefore intend to reshot the image. Something that might not be possible in the future therefore when working on location and it is unclear which might be the better orientation I will aim to capture both to give me more flexibility at the post production stage.

The images of plaques on benches was viewed as a very literal simulacra to record the departure or passing of time and it was felt that the images already contained sufficient information to share that story. Plus they are the only images that contain text forcing the reader to have to focus on the image for longer than others in the series. Though I wanted to adjust the cadence of gaze the images with text force an abrupt change of cadence which is not inline with my desired intent. I instead wanted a more gentle ebb and flow to reflect the motion of the sea that surround the piers and therefore the plaque sequence is unlikely to make the final selection.

The diptych were viewed as ok but maybe too literal in nature with the exception of image 18 where the image conjures up thoughts of sea life. The other rubbings work well on their own other the need for reference to the source object.

The other images of the pier received positive feedback as they provide strong reference points drawing the reading into the image. The images of the pier superstructure received positive feedback the colour and tone of the light fro me help to create really strong compositions.

The sign showing the distance from the shore was an interesting image included to prompt discussion but not one I had intended for inclusion in the final selection.  The image from Southend Pier with the yellow paint blobs showing where future repair work might be required was viewed as strong. I personally really like the image because it contain information about past present and future within a single frame.

The final image I included in the selection is from the end of Southend-on-Sea Pier and is the steps passengers would descent down to get on to a boat. For me it felt like the final image for this series as it isa resolved point of departure.

I plan to reflect further on the feedback from the webinar but overall I believe I have a good core set of 14 images with room to add a few more before I reach the point where I have to make a final selection. 

 

PhotoLondon Talk – Simon Frederick and Renee Mussai

21st November was the first PhotoLondon Talk of the 2018 series with Renee Mussai and Simon Frederick. Renee is a senior curator at Autograph and Simon is fine art and portrait photographer and Television producer.

The talk started with a discussion of shared photographic influences which include Ghanaian photographer James Barnor that they had both meet on separate occasions. James was a major influence for both of them and was a prolific photographer in the UK but shoot covers for Drum an influential South African magazine that employed photographers across both sides of the apartheid divide covering a mix of lifestyle, fashion and journalism.

Drum, James Barnor, (the Guardian, 2017)

Renee asked Simon who he would invite to a dinner party and his response was James Brown, Malcolm X, Winston Churchill and Edmund Mosses. Renee asked why Simon had selected a male orientated dinner party to which he replied if he had known the rules he would have selected a different mix.

Simon explained he does not have any formal photographic training he only started taking photographs seriously when he was in his 30s and was working in advertising.

He explained one of his early images was taken from a car in the wing mirror because he could not stop to take the picture of two men leaning against the wall in the East End.

Renee and Simon explained his career as a series of phases. He said “When photography falls in love with you it’s the only thing you can do.”

Phase 1:

Simon’s initial break was with a photograph he took of a boy band “Damage” at the Jazz Café which got used but the Independent newspaper as they did not have a photographer at Damage’s final gig. They asked Simon to photograph Erika Badu and this lead to a successful career touring with different artists including Lenny Kravitz.

After doing concert photography for a while Simon realised he did not want to spend his life on the road. He admired the work of Testino and LaChapelle so he spent time studying images by those individuals practicing until he could create images of the same quality. He put together his portfolio shooting friends and family however when to took the work to picture editors he was at best meeting the assistants and was not getting any assignments.

Phase 2:

Simon leaves the UK for Portugal and gets a different response he gets to meet Portuguese agencies who are willing to listen to his ideas and he gets to shoot campaigns for major clients including Volvo and Audi. He says his work is based on the 3 Hs (Head for ideas, Heart for passion and Hand the craft.)

He was asked to do a shoot for Benfica Television and decided to shoot in his own way which was to take images from the dressing room an area of the stadium that fans never get to visit.

Benfica Locker Room (Canvas.pantone.com, 2017)

While in Portugal he was asked to shoot a campaign for one of the political parties which is a point where Simon says he truly realised the power of imagery and the leader is now the Vice President of Portugal. Around this time Simon shoot a 12 page spread for an art magazine with a series of gay men that was designed to be viewed by straight men. The resulting images were very striking and managed to create a strong balance between naked men and dressed men.

Phase 3:

Simon returned to London and marked his return with a project mymates@work where he created a body of work using his friends and models but each image used a different style. Typically as photographers we are told to define ourself through a recognisable style and in this case Simon decided to break that rule which help differentiate himself from other photographers at that time.

I really like a quote from Simon where he was discussing this phase of his career where he said the the difference between and amateur photographer and a professional is that an amateur only has to create one great image to define their work while a professional photographer has to get it perfect every time.

He views the subjects of his portrait images as collaborators because it requires both to work together to capture the real person. He felt anyone get capture the likeness of the person but really good photographers are able to get to the mood of the person the inner person that most people never get to see. I recognise the trait in my own portrait photography as I feel my most successful images are created when the sitting is a collaborative event

Phase 4:

Simon got invited in 2015 by Sky Arts to go to Italy. He was in the room with the Isabella Rossellini and Oliviero Toscani thinking he had been invited to be a contestant but instead they asked him to be head judge for the first series of the show. This further boosted Simon’s profile and acted as a pivotal point and a friend suggested he should go into film production.

Sky Arts Master of Photography 2015 (rts.org.uk, 2017)

Phase 5:

This brings the story up to date with Simon producing his own show “Black is the new Black” about influential black people in the UK. The shows title was taken from fashion and Yves Saint Laurents comments about the fact that every women should have a little black dress where black will always be the new black.

The individuals featured on the show resulted in portraits that’s were acquired by the National Portrait Gallery to address the lack of pictures of influential black people in UK culture.

Simon Frederick is on the 2018 Powerlist of “Britain’s most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage”.  The final comment maybe shows that even today we still view people based on how they look rather than the person. If fact these lists that segregate people based on race or gender do the opposite of promoting diversity they reinforce division. My own view is that we should recognise people on merit to create true integration and diversity.

References

  • the Guardian. (2017). ​Celebrating ​James Barnor – the first photographer to shoot Ghana in colour ​. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2016/sep/22/street-style-ghana-fashion-photographer-james-barnor#img-3 [Accessed 10 Dec. 2017].
  • Rts.org.uk. (2017). Sky Arts to air pan-Europe photography talent show | Royal Television Society. [online] Available at: https://rts.org.uk/article/sky-arts-air-pan-europe-photography-talent-show [Accessed 10 Dec. 2017].
  • Canvas.pantone.com. (2017). The Locker Room S L BENFICA on Pantone Canvas Gallery. [online] Available at: http://canvas.pantone.com/gallery/6718705/The-Locker-Room-S-L-BENFICA [Accessed 10 Dec. 2017].

Website – simonfremont.com Review

 

 

website: simonfremont.com

Though I have had a web presence for multiple years and own the domain name simonfremont.com I have not refreshed the design of the site for a few years now. Based on the activities in week xx and the talk with gallery owner Francesca Genevose I decided a refresh was my site was in order. In preparation, I decided to look at the websites of established contemporary photographers Mark Power, Edmund Clark, Simon Roberts and Edgar Martins and look for aspects of their site that I felt would translate across to my own practice. Power, Clarke and Roberts each use a singular image on the home page for their site. Whereas Edgar Martin has a plan home page. Currently my home page has a mini gallery of images but they are not representative of the work I am creating. I feel moving to single image is a good hook that will encourage them to explore further.  All sites have a simple menu system to navigate about the sites.

Simon Roberts has a gallery page with large thumb nails of the galleries on the site which I prefer to the list structure used by Edgar Martins.  Though I like the fact that Martin’s has an information page and the image gallery for each body of work on different pages. I like the way they work as a pair.

I plan to adopt Simon Roberts single page of bodies of work and combine that with the Edgar Martins Gallery and information page as a pair to provide the viewer with more detail on each body of work.

If I plan to self-distribute my work then having a store to sell books and prints is a must. I plan to model the structure used by Mark Power for his book store.

The about page will be updated to include an Artist Statement instead of the basic information held on the site. The older images will be placed in an archive gallery the number of images in each gallery will be reduced to create tighter edits.

I intend to include an Instagram news feed to ensure there is a regular feed of updates with a separate news feed for longer articles about the practice.

Though I have had a web presence for multiple years and own the domain name simonfremont.com I have not refreshed the design of the site for a few years now. Based on the activities in week xx and the talk with gallery owner Francesca Genevose I decided a refresh was my site was in order. In preparation, I decided to look at the websites of established contemporary photographers Mark Power, Edmund Clark, Simon Roberts and Edgar Martins and look for aspects of their site that I felt would translate across to my own practice. Power, Clarke and Roberts each use a singular image on the home page for their site. Whereas Edgar Martin has a plan home page. Currently my home page has a mini gallery of images but they are not representative of the work I am creating. I feel moving to single image is a good hook that will encourage them to explore further.  All sites have a simple menu system to navigate about the sites.

Simon Roberts has a gallery page with large thumb nails of the galleries on the site which I prefer to the list structure used by Edgar Martins.  Though I like the fact that Martin’s has an information page and the image gallery for each body of work on different pages. I like the way they work as a pair.

I plan to adopt Simon Roberts single page of bodies of work and combine that with the Edgar Martins Gallery and information page as a pair to provide the viewer with more detail on each body of work.

If I plan to self-distribute my work then having a store to sell books and prints is a must. I plan to model the structure used by Mark Power for his book store.

The about page will be updated to include an Artist Statement instead of the basic information held on the site. The older images will be placed in an archive gallery the number of images in each gallery will be reduced to create tighter edits.

I intend to include an Instagram news feed to ensure there is a regular feed of updates with a separate news feed for longer articles about the practice.

website EdmundClark.com
website markpower.co.uk
Website EdgarMartins.com
website: simonroberts.com

References

  • Edmund Clark. (2017). Edmund Clark – Artist. [online] Available at: http://edmundclark.com [Accessed 18 Nov. 2017].
  • Mark Power. (2017). Welcome to Mark Power. [online] Available at: http://markpower.co.uk [Accessed 18 Nov. 2017].
  • Edgar Martins. (2017). Home – edgar martins. [online] Available at: http://edgarmartins.com [Accessed 18 Nov. 2017].
  • Simon Roberts, (2017). [online] Available at: http://simonroberts.com [Accessed 18 Nov. 2017].

 

Southend Pier Revisited – Project

Location:

Southend-on-Sea Pier

Intent:

My Tilbury to Harwich project and specifically the work related to the leisure piers has evolved significantly since my last trip to Southend-on-Sea Pier. Therefore, the intent for the shoot was to complement the strong images from their shoot in September based on the direction that has evolved with more recent visits to the three other leisure piers along the Essex coast.

Equipment Used:

Selected Canon 5DS and 24-70mm f2.8 for lens based image creation and for the non-lens based image making was done using black art paper and silver crayons.

Methodology:

The methodology adopted was the same as previous pier shoots where I started by shooting close-up images of the superstructure in portrait format then establishing images of the promenade desk. Walking the length of the promenade allowed me to identify interesting surfaces that I identified for non-lens based reproduction.

Images:

[pdf-embedder url=”http://fineart.photography/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Southend-Pier-Revisited.pdf” title=”Southend Pier – Revisited”]

Research References:

No new research activities where conducted for the pier. The techniques used for the earlier shoots were refined during the shoot including taking rubbings of other parts of the pier and surrounding area.

Assessment of Outcome:

Being familiar with the pier allowed for further refinement of the image making techniques. The creation of rubbings on vertical surfaces was less successful as the masking tap used to hold the paper in place was not suitable to hold the paper in place so something like gaffer tap would be more appropriate for future shoots.

I really like the images that contain the paint marks which are a trace of decision by the maintenance team that’s certain parts of the promenade deck need to be replaced.

The shoot resulted in a strong image from the end of the pier that could act as a closing image for this segment of the project.

The second trip to Southend-on-Sea pier during this term generated in my opinion a more diverse set of images though some of them wont make the final WIP selection.

 

References:

None

Production 1 – Reflection

I considered the following questions when preparing this week’s reflection:

 • your experience of the week and feedback received
 • any reconsiderations to the core methodology of your project
 • the forms your project / photographs could potentially take beyond this module

During this week I focused on two activities the photobook event at Magnum Photo and the draft copy of of my Oral Presentation.

The feedback from the webinar to discuss Oral Presentations was positive with limited feedback from my peers during the webinar. The feedback from Stella was sufficient to confirm directional and content wise that the presentation would cover the relevant topics for the module. I was encouraged to think creatively about how to make the presentation engaging. Based on that feedback I decided to include clips from the Magnum event, the photowalk and exhibition. I decided to draft a script for the presentation as the approach had been successful in the previous module ensuring I covered relevant material.

The Photobook event with Magnum Photo provided a wealth of information for me to digest with respect to creating photobooks. The feedback has made me realise that to create a successful photobook that strong image are important but not enough if you want the book to appeal to people outside the photobook market. For the stories I am currently exploring archival material is important consideration when developing the narrative. Jack Latham’s book Sugar Paper Theories is a good example of a photobook using archival material even taking design cues when selecting the paper for the book.

The methodology at the core of my practice is sound with respect to image making but that alone is unlikely to be sufficient to support a publication and this has prompted me to consider how I can incorporate a stronger research element to practice through use of additional material such as archival documents. The photobook experience has made me realise that for some projects the photobook might be a more important than an exhibition and for other projects it might be the reverse. What I realise from this week is that shooting images and creating an archive over time is an important aspect for a practice like mine. 

Production 1 – Activity

For Production Week 1 I had two key activities:

  • Planning for the Oral Presentation
  • Priniting Book Dummy 3

The first task for the week was to draft a plan for my Oral Presentation. Reviewing the requirements for the oral presentation and the material covered in the module I decided to title my presentation Strategies, Surfaces and Showtime. This title reflected the topics I wanted to cover in the presentation. To help with the planning I created an outline for the presentation to share in this week’s webinar.

The approach was to look at my practice in relation to the 4 strategies and then consider how I use the three different surfaces to share my work with my target audience. The plan was to write a script for the presentation and incorporate any feedback from the webinar in the final script.

[pdf-embedder url=”http://fineart.photography/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Week-9-Oral-Presentation-Storyboard-1.pdf” title=”Week 9 – Oral Presentation Storyboard”]

The second activity for the week was preparing third book dummy that I would take to the Photobook at Magnum Photography. My plan was to self print the dummy in a square book format with double sided pages. Most photographic paper is only designed to print on one side and is did not want to stick photographic pages back to back as the paperweight would be too high in my opinion.  After some research I found Chroma Papers Matte/ Matte paper which is double sided printer paper. I created page templates for the odd and even pages so that I could then trim the page to create the square format with a 1in page bleed. Initially I planned to use Japanese binding to bind the book. I revised the binding approach and decided to use bulldog clips which would allow me to add and remove pages as required. 

 

Responses and Responsibilities – Reflection

This week we considered the power of persuasion conveyed through the photographic image and we were asked to consider a world without photography ‘Try to imagine, if only for a moment, what your intellectual, political and ethical world would be like if you had never seen a photograph’ (Linfield, 2010, p.46). This could a world where information is communicated verbally or via the written word. The message might be lost either due the the fact the author does not have the vocabulary to communicate the observed events of our ability to comprehend that meaning is not sufficient. Photography is we consider the image as authentic as expressed by Szarkowski “The first thing the photographer learned was that photography dealt with the actual” (Szarkowski, 1966, p.8) and most people adopt a similar point of that the facts recorded in the image are real. However that meaning can vary depending upon which moment the photograph is recorded however in our modern highly visual world our time to consume and discern the meaning within the image is reduced. For me this reduces the likelihood that a single image alone will have sufficient impact to sway public opinion compared to the 1970s when the number of visual communication channels was still relatively limited. Today if that image is show on via multiple media outlets or we see many similar images  in s short period time we are more likely to process its mean and change our position. Based on this understanding if there is a visual message I want to convey I either need to communicate via multiple channels or be part of a collective of photographers recording those events. There of course exceptions to this rule if a photograph is associated with a reputable photographer such as Sabasitao Salagado we are more likely to question it’s meaning further and not require validation from other sources, which I would subscribe to the fact we look up to certain photographer who produce campaign images.

Personally I was more moved by the work of  Nick Brandt in “Inherit the Dust” than Sebasitao Salagado’s work “Genesis” which are covering similar topics. I believe this is because Salagado’s images show a romantic view of the the planet almost timeless and we assume that this state will project forward into the future, even if we are aware via other sources that animals and habits are under threat. Brandt’s takes a different approach by placing the trace of the animal in the environment it used to inhabit before man imposed his will on the planet. When I first saw the images last year at PhotoLondon I knew Brandt’s images had more impact for me and through this week’s discussions I am now able to contextualise and subscribe meaning to my reaction to the two different bodies of work

Typically within my practice I stay away from social or political messaging however in the last few weeks during the photography interlude activities I have created images with social commentary maybe not to the scale of the bodies of work created by Brandt and Salgado but nevertheless they have a social context.

The first image is one of two images I created for the “Family of Tomato Soup” photography interlude. This image uses the icons of drug addition to make viewer question if food can in fact induce the same level of addiction of a class A drug. I have emphasised that message by using the word’s used in Heinz own advertisements for their soups. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second image I considered was an image created for cats and dogs that deals with the fact the when we bred cats they are separated from their mother at an early age. Typically for pedigree cats this is 13 weeks of age. At this age an animal is still developing it’s social skills and in some cases this early separation can cause psychological issues for pets that we hold so dear within the concept of the extended family. 

 

I feel I have developed a greater awareness that as a photography I have a responsibility to use my images with care and consideration and it has made me consider if more of my images could be used to make the viewer question their environment.

References

  • Linfield, S., (2010),The Cruel Radiance: Photography & Political Violence Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Szarkowski, J., (1966),  The Photographers Eye, New York: Museum of Modern Art

Responses and Responsibility – Notes

Questions: 

  • What images do you remember?
  • Why was that?
  • Where did you see them?
  • Are we desensitised to images of conflict today?
  • What imagery provokes change for you? Why?

The Raising of the flag on Iwo Jima is a famous photograph but for it is an idealised image, I first saw the image when studying  ‘O’ Level History at a school but it was not until much later that I discovered the back story behind the image. For me there are more compelling images that better reflect the battle to capture the island such as this image.

 

The following article providing more detail http://www.iwojima.com/battle/battlec.htm that links to the image.

There significant world events such as 9/11 that have an immediate impact and therefore everyone can remember what they were doing on that specific date. For me I do not remember seeing the images of people jumping from the world trade centres twin towers. Instead I remember the impact of the plane exploding when it hit the building captured as captured by this images

I was in a Global Business Continuity Workshop on that day with colleagues from different parts of our company, we had offices in New York but luckily in midtown not in the downtown district so the events only had an indirect impact on our company that day. We watched the events unfold via a television in the conference room and it was a salutary reminder that the disaster we planned for do happen and they impact real people. Those images changed the trajectory of our work for the 8 years.

The Vietnam war is said to have been the most photographed war and this is maybe why the images swayed public opinion in America that ultimately resulted in the war ending. Yet photography from the Korean War did not have the same impact. There are similar harrowing images of children looking to escape war.

This quote from Levi Strauss alludes to why the same reaction did not occur. ‘The photographer operates as a distanced, superior, ‘objective’ witness to war, poverty, labour an exotic cultural practices in other parts of the world. Photographs taken from this position may elicit pity, sorrow or guilt in their viewers but they will never provide information for change'(Levi Strauss 2003, p.45)

This leads me to reach the conclusion that images alone are not enough to generate change as expressed by Stallabrass ‘The intention is that they are there for people to critically reflect on the representation of war, the wars themselves, and prehaps particularly the role of the media and the art world in dealing with those images. That is all one can do. We can put them out there’ (Strallabras, 2013, p.3) Though if those images are not shared then public opinion has not ammunition to use to fuel the dialogue that ultimately will be the agent of change. However with digital photography citizen photographers are able to share those images immediately yet that speed of distribution may well be causing it’s own problems the stream of images from the war is places like Syria is constant however they collectively do not reach a critical mass at any point of time to drive the debate in the way photography from the Vietnam was did in 1970’s America. 

 

UA_Flight_175_hits_WTC_south_tower_9-11.jpeg: Flickr user TheMachineStops (Robert J. Fisch) derivative work: upstateNYer UA_Flight_175_hits_WTC_south_tower_9-11.jpeg

Levi Strauss, David (2203) Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography& Politics, New York: Aperture

Stallabrass, Julian (2013) Memory of Fire: Images of War and the War on Images London: Photoworks

Introducing critical thinking: Reflection

This week’s topic of Critical Thinking has been one of the more challenging topics within module 1. I think this is partly due to the fact that it can be viewed as a very academic element with art based degree. I started my research by looking for texts that could help explain the subject in terms that I could relate to based on my Engineering and Science based background. I discovered a book by Ashley laGrange “Basic Critical Theory for Photographers” which I understand is a foundation text for many BA degree courses. I have decided to read the book as a side project to help improve my understanding of the topic.

Having only read the initial part of the book my view on critical thinking is not yet fully however i have reach a few basic conclusions on the subject which I will revisit in the coming months.

The first stage of critical theory is seeing: What I see in the image? Are there specific elements that draw my focus in most of my current work it will be the person(s) within the frame as most of my current work is fashion / portraiture based. What is the person doing within the context of the image. Depending upon the connection I want to create between view and subject I might have the person looking directly at the observer or turned away to create a sense of distant between the two.

The second stage is creating meaning from the image in the form of words which introduce context into the image. The contexts for an image can come from a number of different sources. As a photographer I can provide context on what I was trying to convey through the image and why was the shutter pressed at that specific moment. In portraiture and fashion the subject is able to provide their own context to the image as an example how they felt when the image was taken and maybe how the felt generally on that specific day. The third context is the viewer of the image and not not everyone will view the image in the same way.

Based on our group discussion this week it is clear that multiple factors influence the viewers context of the image: such as culture, age, sex and even the images they have seen just before this specific image can influence their contextual view. My conclusion from this week’s research is that understanding these factors can help me create images that better fit into their intended context. Though as a photographer I think my images should raise questions in the viewer rather than providing them with the complete answer and I would hope that when I explain the photographers perspective to others they can look at the image with fresh eyes and rely with words the to the effect “Ah Yes I can see that…”

On a side note I liked an alternative take on critical thinking from an Australian photographer Peter Coulson who has created a number of images he calls “Mirror Images” because he considers the response of the viewer provides to his images tells him something about the observer and their inherent biases.