Category Archives: Part 2 Narrative

Project 3 Photographing the unseen

All three of these projects are examples of personally driven work but they become universal when we can relate to the feelings they present by visiting our own personal histories.

  • Which of these projects resonates most with you, and why?
  • How do you feel about the loss of authorial control that comes when the viewer projects their own experiences and emotions onto the images you’ve created?

My first impression is that photographing the unseen does not have to be about a personal experience. While all three of these projects are very personal an equally interesting project can be developed about something unseen. I feel this type of photography carries a great weight of personal emotion that, very often, can only be experienced by the photographer. Seeing someone’s ‘space’ where they sit in their wheelchair does not, I have to admit, move me. If I saw a video of Peter having difficulty crossing a road because of the lack of wheelchair access pathways, I would be much more engaged. I agree with Peter’s sentiment that the experience has been cathartic for him but as a viewer of the images I am not as moved as I would like to be and I do not understand Peter’s difficulties any more having looked at the images. I am in total admiration of Peter’s stamina and of what he has achieved in his lifetime despite his handicaps. I felt his responses to the questions posed in the interview were often very profound and always well thought out. Although he says that photography expressed better his situation I am not convinced. I think Peter would be well capable of writing very movingly about what it is like to be locked into a wheelchair.

Dewald Botha’s series of images (click) are technically interesting but his ring road trip looks exceedingly boring to me. The first slide containing the text is unreadable. I cannot work up any emotion about these images. I don’t see the differences in architecture, surroundings and neighbourhoods. Despite being a big walker I think I would die of boredom on this particular 27km walk around this ring road.

The third set of images by Jodie Taylor surprised me. I found these the most interesting. I liked the idea that she made the images with a 35mm camera and that she used an old style plastic album to present them. I searched the net for this and other examples of Jodie’s work and came across this vimeo (click) which showed the little album. I loved this work and her other work in and around her area was even more interesting.  The images are intriguing. Like her tutor, Sharon Boothroyd, I found myself remembering my childhood in urban Dublin.

I think it must be wonderful to create images that move a viewer to superimpose his or her own experience on the images viewed. I would have no problem with loosing authorial authority over the image. Of the three sets of images presented only Jodie Taylor’s created this type of emotion in me. It was a ‘down memory lane’ type of reaction.

  1. Ring Road – Dewald. 2016. Ring Road – Dewald. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.dewaldbotha.net/ring-road.html. [Accessed 14 January 2016].
  2. 2. Student work uncovered – Jodie Taylor on Vimeo. 2016. Student work uncovered – Jodie Taylor on Vimeo. [ONLINE] Available at: https://vimeo.com/120389996. [Accessed 14 January 2016].
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Part 2: Narrative: Exercise A Poem

The aim of this exercise (and Assignment Two) is to encourage you to develop metaphorical and visceral interpretations rather than obvious and literal ones, to give a sense of something rather than a record of it..
Choose a poem that resonates with you then interpret it through photographs. Don’t attempt to describe the poem but instead give a sense of the feeling of the poem and the essence it exudes.
Start by reading the poem a few times (perhaps aloud) and making a note of the feelings and ideas it promotes, how you respond to it, what it means to you and the mental images it raises in your mind. Next, think about how you’re going to interpret this visually and note down your ideas in your learning log.
You may choose to develop this idea into creating a short series of images reflecting your personal response to the poem (or another poem). Write some reflective notes about how you would move the above exercise on.
The number of pictures you choose to produce for the exercises and assignments in this course, including this one, is up to you. Try to keep in mind the following tips for knowing when you have done enough/not done enough:
• Are the images repeating themselves? Are there three versions of the same picture for example? Can you take two out?
• Does each image give a different point of view or emphasise a point you want to make?
• Do the images sit well together visually?
• Have you given the viewer enough information? Would another picture help?

Pat Ingoldsby is an Irish poet (1942 – ). He started his career as a children’s TV show host. He has written several books, short stories and he also worked as a Newspaper columnist before becoming a poet. I first read his work in the Newspaper. While shopping in Dublin city, in 1999,  my husband came across Pat selling his books on the street. They chatted and he purchased his latest book, Beautiful Cracked Eyes, for me (1) .

I love Pat’s audacity. Because he self publishes he is not beholden to anyone but himself and his two cats. I chose the poem “What The Daffodils  looked like before William Wordsworth wrote it” because the original Wordsworth poem featured so strongly in all school curricula and any poetry reading I ever attended. By the time we had read and dissected The Daffodils at school and subsequently all spontaneity and appreciation of it evaporated for me. I felt Ingoldsby’s idea to show a blank page to indicate that this poem, before it was written but was still in Wordsworth’s mind, was fresh and beautiful. But once children were forced to learn and memorise it the beauty fades.

Title_bw_A4_captioned

The other aspect I wanted to show, as an explanation of why there are no words in the poem, was Pat’s free spirit which is guided only by his will and his two cats Hoot and Willow. So I chose a quote from another of his poems, “This is for you” , to caption the image of the book cover. This poem details Pat’s philosophy on avoiding regular publishers and all the circus activities around book launching.

ingoldsby_portrait_A4_bw_poem_sm

The third image I chose was a detail from the dedication Pat wrote on the fly leaf of my book. Pat’s cats are his constant companions. I captioned this image with a quote from “Willow Publications  Board Meeting”. Again this emphasises Pat’s horror of board meetings and all things regimented and organised. If he had had board members and publishers before publishing “What The Daffodils looked like before Wordsworth wrote it”. it would never have seen the light of day. This would have been a tragedy as it speaks louder than words about publishing constraints and the way we read and hear poetry.

hoot_willow_bw_A4_poem_sm

Finally I felt it only fair to Wordsworth to make a composite image of his poem superimposed on an image of Wordsworth.

poem_wordsworth_title_sm

Reflection:

While visiting The Lambert Collection in MOMA Avignon to see the Andres Seerano Exhibition I came across the following work by Akarawa in the general Lambert Collection, which I thought fitted in with this exercise. I am not sure if I should tell Pat Ingoldsby!

blank_canvas_sm

arawawa_label_sm

 

  1. Ingoldsby, P, 1999. beautiful cracked eyes. 1st ed. Dublin: Colour Books Ltd.

Part 2 Narrative: Conceptual artists: Sophie Calle, Sophy Rickett, Kaylynn Deveney, Karen Knorr and NYT One in 8 Million

Examples of relay in contemporary photographic practice include Sophie Calle’s Take Care of Yourself and Sophy Rickett’s Objects in the Field where clashes of understanding or interpretation work together to create a perhaps incomplete but nonetheless enriching dialogue between artist and viewer.
Look these pieces up online. Investigate the rationale behind the pieces and see if you can find any critical responses to them. Write down your own responses in your learning log.
• How do these two pieces of work reflect postmodern approaches to narrative?
• Another way to incorporate text into an image-based project is to include interviews or audio.

Both of these women are conceptual artists. It is their ideas which are important. Their work is often created from the input or actual work of others. In Rickett’s  Objects in the Field, it was with the full co-operaton of the originator of the images, Professor Willstrop, that the final work was created..  Rickett took his scientific images, the result of twelve years of careful research using a triple mirror camera on a telescope, and developed these images to hang on gallery walls. Along with the developed images she created a text which was as much about her own life experiences as it was about the ajoining images.

Rickett’s work was created during her residency as Artist at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge. It was carried out to demonstrate how light and darkness influence our observations of space. In the interview with Sharon Boothroyd (1) she explains how she got to know Professor Rodrick Willstrop who was a retired institute astronomer.  Their relationship seems to have been a little fraught. The professor did not seem to understand why she wanted to turn his scientific images into works of art. For him they contained, already outdated, scientific information and this was the purpose for which he had recorded them. For Rickett they seemed to have a separate life which could be developed as works of art to be hung on a gallery wall. She did try to grasp the scientific content of the images but the professor did not seem to invest much effort in understanding Rickett’s project. For Rickett the meaning of any image can be fluid. Her work with these images extends their meaning and intertwines it with her own life experiences.

Calle’s Take care of Yourself  is based on a private  email, from her then partner, ending their relationship. She used this correspondence, without the cooperation of her ex-partner, to illicit the opinions or reactions of 107 women professionals to its contents.

Calle is a Parisian from a  middle class family. She is not trained in the arts. She was able, because of her comfortable status, to spend her late teens and early twenties traveling around the world. On her return to Paris she was at a loose end and spent her time trailing around Paris stalking strangers and inventing life stories around them. This was the beginning of her work based on her own and friends and strangers personal lives. (2). An article in the Independent says of her work (3)

As an artist, Sophie Calle does not make work, as such. Photographs appear in her work but she is no photographer – sometimes she pays a professional to take the pictures.

For Take care of Yourself she carefully selected those whose opinions she sought. They were all professionals from dancers Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 15.07.12to, bizarrely, a parrot. Their input was then carefully choreographed into an exhibition which demanded the full participation of the viewer, to be appreciated. Those viewing it had to sit, look up or down, listen to the views of the participants and view the creations of others. (4). In another interview, this time in french where she is much more relaxed, she describes how she developed her various projects. The text she added to the final images was normally something the participant in the image had said. In this way the works evolves and we are expected to ‘participate’ in the final presentation, it is a two way process. (5). In this interview (6) the entire interview with a mediator for which the scene is set up with on empty chair on which the ex-lovers email is placed, is recorded and I assume used in the final exhibition. Since I have never seen the exhibition I cannot say this for sure. The mediator asks questions about the relationship and its ultimate ending with this email.  I am at one and the same time fascinated and repulsed with Sophie Calle’s exploitation of something which she had entered into voluntarily and which had not, for many reasons, it seems, worked out. She gives the distinct impression of being a very self centered and spoiled person.

Calle’s work is original and often fascinating. She has been compared to Tracey Emin. For one project she invited strangers to sleep in her bed and photographed them, for another she found an address book, photocopied it before returning anonymously to its owner, She then set about contacting some of the people named in the book asking about the owner of the book. She wanted to create a portrait of the owner without meeting him. She documented her encounters with the people daily and these were published in Liberation under the title L’homme au carnet” (1983).

Both of these artists’ work can be described as postmodern. They take a concept and turn it into something they can exhibit in a gallery. Notice I avoid saying “create a work of art” as I am not convinced that their work is art. I think it is extremely interesting but I feel we need to construct a new word to describe it.

The New York Times has a simple but effective project online called One in 8 Million (7) about the inhabitants of New York. It includes images of people from different walks of life and professions with audio clips overlaid to give a voice to the subject. It is a clever way of celebrating the richness and diversity of a city with such cultural and social diversity.

This work I do feel is true art. The images are stunning, the stories fascinating and the idea amazing. No one is trying to use (or in some cases abuse) others to create their own work. It is of course also postmodern with its use of video and images to tell the stories of these New Yorkers.

Some photographers use interviews and diaries to incorporate text with their images. Have a look at these examples: Kaylyn Deveney – The Day-to-Day Life of Alfred Hastings http://www.kaylynndeveney.com/bertintrotext.htm [accessed 24/02/14] Karen Knorr – Gentlemen http://www.karenknorr.com/photographs/archives/gentlemen/ [accessed 24/02/14]

Deveney’s little book is beautifully presented in this YouTube video (8). The work is another example of conceptual art. It is the story of Alfred Hasting’s last years. The images, often blurred, of Hastings himself or his surroundings are sensitively presented. Deveney invites Alfred to add his own captions to the images. His infectious sense of humour comes across in these captions. His life is simple but the overall impression is one of contentment. The co-operative nature of the project renders it completely acceptable for me.

Gentlemen, by Karen Korr, is an altogether less personal work albeit fitting perfectly into the conceptual genre. The images are beautifully presented and the captions beneath are often thought provoking but also amusing as demonstrated below. This is displayed below the image of a man in a gentleman’s club.

Newspapers are no longer ironed,

Coins no longer boiled,

So far have

Standards

Fallen

Duane Michals is an influential American photographer who places text on top of, or close by, the photographs. The text is often hand written, giving a personal and intimate quality to the work. Look up Michal’s work online. In particular, look carefully at the image entitled This Photograph is My Proof (1974).

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 13.46.54A wonderful source of information (9) Dr Marcus Bunyan discusses Michals work and ‘raison d’etre’. The blog shows many of Michals images, printed here with permission from the various museum owners of the works. In introducing Michals …. descibes the cyclical nature of some if the series Michals made. One in particular was the series of the bathroom Things are Queer.  The walk through these images leads us back to the begining.

 

There is also an hour long talk by Michals on his career. He is funny, informative and at eighty one a shining hope to those of us pushing up behind him.

Given the extent and the variety of Michals work I am wondering why we have been invited to look ‘in particular‘ at the image The Photograph is my Proof.This is indeed a very poignant image but very much in Michals style. For poignancy I would have chosen his image A Letter from my Father which shows a young Michals and behind him his father. Beneath the image we read the following text:

As long as I can remember, my father always said that one day he would write me a very special letter. But he never told me what the letter might be about. I used to try to guess what intimacy the two of us would at last share, what family secret would at last be revealed. I know what I had hoped to read in the letter. I wanted him to tell me where he had hidden his affection. But then he died, and the letter never did arrive, and I never found that place where he had hidden his love. Duane Michals 1960/1975.

We are also told

Michals pairs image and text so that they build upon one other to create a fuller reading for the viewer.

This is certainly the case. With his set of images of Grandpa goes to heaven the child is beside his grandfather’s bed and in the sequence the body of the man becomes more faintly superimposed on the image as it leaves the room through the window. The final image has the child leaning out the window looking towards the heavens. This is only one of the very many sequences he has made.

He also refers to the medium of photography in his texts to challenge notions of what a photograph is; this self-reference is another technique characteristic of postmodernism.

For Michals the actual person in the image is unimportant it is the overall story created by the one or the sequence of images which is important.

  1. Sophy Rickett interview with Sharon Boothroyd, OCA – Appendix. Open College of the Arts, Photography 1 Context and Narrative Photoparley, Nov 2013
  2. Interview: Sophie Calle | World news | The Guardian. 2016. Interview: Sophie Calle | World news | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jun/16/artnews.art. [Accessed 03 January 2016].
  3. Up close and (too) personal: A Sophie Calle retrospective | Features | Culture | The Independent. 2016. Up close and (too) personal: A Sophie Calle retrospective | Features | Culture | The Independent. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/up-close-and-too-personal-a-sophie-calle-retrospective-1809346.html. [Accessed 03 January 2016].
  4. Sophie Calle interview with Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick – YouTube. 2016. Sophie Calle interview with Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRx7nFVuLwA. [Accessed 03 January 2016].
  5. Sophie Calle – entretien – YouTube. 2016. Sophie Calle – entretien – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s55YWpz_LJQ. [Accessed 03 January 2016].
  6. Sophie Calle – Prenez soin de vous (Médiatrice) – YouTube. 2016. Sophie Calle – Prenez soin de vous (Médiatrice) – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhhY6fuN_i4. [Accessed 05 January 2016].
  7. One in 8 Million – New York Characters in Sound and Images – The New York Times. 2016. One in 8 Million – New York Characters in Sound and Images – The New York Times. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/1-in-8-million/. [Accessed 05 January 2016].
  8. Presenting The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings by Kaylynn Deveney – YouTube. 2016. Presenting The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings by Kaylynn Deveney – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7cUbTc-iGs. [Accessed 05 January 2016].
  9. Duane Michals This Photograph Is My Proof | Art Blart. 2016. Duane Michals This Photograph Is My Proof | Art Blart. [ONLINE] Available at: http://artblart.com/tag/duane-michals-this-photograph-is-my-proof/. [Accessed 05 January 2016].

Part 2 Narrative: Project 2 Image and text

We are asked to:

Cut out some pictures from a newspaper and write your own captions.
• How do the words you put next to the image contextualise/re-contextualise it?
• How many meanings can you give to the same picture?
Try the same exercise for both anchoring and relaying. Blog about it.

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 14.36.41

We need to say what is happening here and where it is taking place. taken from Guardian 1 January 2016

Suggested headlines:

  • Boy salvages what is left of his home after fire
  • Street children salvage what they can from dumps
  • Boy returns to what is left of family home after landslide

The actual headline was about a fire in a shanty town.

We can change the event and the place by changing the headline

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 14.27.41

Why is the newspaper publishing a picture of old irish banknotes? Taken from The Irish Time 1 January 2016

Suggested headlines

  • Police find perfectly preserved old banknotes in bog
  • The National Museum is adding old Irish bank notes to its monetary collection
  • Inflation has increased by 100% since the change to euro in 2000

As the caption shows the article was about the withdrawal of the Irish Bank note. Apparently 10% were never recovered.

By changing headline we can suggest a find in a bog, a new exhibition or even use the image for a financial story.

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 14.28.38

Where is this young woman and what is she doing: Taken from The Guardian 1 January 2016

Suggested headlines:

  • Another young woman assaulted on bus in Pakistan
  • Young women becoming more independent in Asia
  • Female immigrants being abused by their employers

The headline was about young Phillipinos being trafficked to Syria. We were able to change the country, so long as we remain within Aisa,  and even the tone of the image from one of abuse to independence by changing the headline

Anchoring and Relaying:

First I needed to find out what these terms actually meant.

I found the following explanation in this article (1) which lead me to a second explanation (2) which helped me to face Barthes essay The Rhetoric of the Image (3). I have written a review of this essay here

IMAGE 1:

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 16.01.25

This image was taken from the Irish Times on 1 January 2016

My suggested Anchor headlines:

  • Lone dog makes his way home in torrential rain
  • Roads disappear under disastrous flooding
  • Rivers burst their banks throughout the country
  • Keep animals indoors in this serious weathr

My suggested Relay headlines

  • It’s a dogs life
  • You wouldn’t put a dog out in it
  • Raining cats and dogs
  • I can’t see a thing

IMAGE 2:

dail_empty

This image was taken from The Irish Times 2 January 2016

My suggested Anchor headlines:

  • Politicians take a well earned break
  • The blue Dail carpet will finally b replaced with a green one for the 1916 comemortaions
  • Silence descends on the seats of power

My suggested Relay headlines

  • We’ll be back in a minute – on loo break
  • Coffee time in the Dail
  • Did someone say they were serving champagne?

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 12.50.48The article was about the upcoming election in Ireland and did have a caption and a text superimposed on it.

 

 

 

IMAGE 3

Photograph: Natalie Young/Getty Images/Image Source

Photograph: Natalie Young/Getty Images/Image Source

An article in The Guardian 2 January 2016 by Juliette Jowlet

My suggested Anchor headlines:

  • Examination time looms
  • Girls do better than their male counterparts in examinations
  • Female numbers in the workplace increasing

My suggested Relay headlines

  • Pain relief begins in the temples
  • Those two are giving me a headache
  • I wish I hadn’t drunk that cocktail at lunchtime.

The article was about trying to keep a work life balance

IMAGE 4

Photograph: Ted Soqui/Ted Soqui Photography/Corbis

Photograph: Ted Soqui/Ted Soqui Photography/Corbis

This image was taken from The Guardian 2 January 2016

My suggested Anchor headlines:

  • Obama tries to push through gun law reform before his term ends
  • Weapons stash found in secret location
  • The firearm of choice for LA Gangs

My suggested Relay headlines

  • Bang…..
  • No smoke without fire…
  • Choose your weapon with every pack of Cornflakes

It is clear that the anchor either as a caption or an attached headline or article steers the reader towards a certain interpretation of the image. The relay is more flexible and could be related to a number of images. It is more fun. The anchor can and is used as a sort of lease to draw the reader in a certain direction, usually following the particular politics or beliefs of the newspaper or magazine.

  1. 1. Anchorage and Relay » Madinkbeard | Derik Badman. 2016. Anchorage and Relay » Madinkbeard | Derik Badman. [ONLINE] Available at: http://madinkbeard.com/archives/anchorage-and-relay. [Accessed 03 January 2016].
  2. THE POWER OF CAPTIONS: WORDS ADDED TO PICTURES. 2016. THE POWER OF CAPTIONS: WORDS ADDED TO PICTURES. [ONLINE] Available at: http://austinkleon.com/2008/09/01/the-power-of-captions-words-added-to-pictures/. [Accessed 03 January 2016].
  3. . 2016. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/theory/Barthes-Rhetoric-of-the-image-ex.pdf. [Accessed 03 January 2016].

Using Pictures to tell a story: Postmodern Narrative

David Cambell in his lecture (1 & 2) to photographic students of the Jonathan Worth’s innovative class on photography and narrative at Coventry, outlines the elements of a photographic narrative as follows:

  • introducing the location
  • giving the story a ‘face’
  • letting people tell their own story
  • contextualizing those stories
  • following a dramatic form

For someone developing a visual story, the most important thing to ask is ‘what is the story you really want to tell?’ Answering that can mean working through these questions:

  • what is the issue?
  • what will be the events/moments?
  • if needed, who are the characters?
  • what is the context?

A narrative is about an event and

the event is something that can be narrated.

Research and reading is essential to construct the narrative. A story has to be told in a particular way, each narrative has limitations in the way it can be told. Somethings have to be included and some excluded. There has to be an angle which may be limited. So a narrative cannot include everything. It is up to the photographer to decide what is included.

He asks “What is the the issue”, “Who are the characters?” To establish this a lot of research needs to be done before you embark on the story in images. Then it must be decided if the story will be linear, with a beginning , middle and end.

So

When you’re creating your narrative (or essay, or story) bear these points in mind and consider how your viewer will ‘read’ your story, namely:
• Do the pictures have a consistent theme?
• What elements back up your central theme?
• What disrupts it?
• Are there good reasons for this disruption?
• Do the images have a visual consistency that holds them together as a recognisable set?

Postmodern Narrative

Having read both Zadie Smith and Italo Calvino, albeit some time ago, I was unaware that they had challenged the idea of a beginning, a middle and an end to a story. I was more aware of the style of Smith’s writing as being very modern and at times incomprehensible and chaotic. I assume now that this could be described as a sort of stream of consciousness.  I was not aware that, if I accept Roland Barthes’ theory in The Death of the Author (4), I, the reader, was being invited  to put myself into the story. That as soon as a fact is narrated, the voice (of the author) looses its origin, the author enters into his own death, writing begins.

Barthes also tells us that. previously, the author existed before, during the writing of, and after his work was complete whereas the modern sculpture is born similtaneously with the text. He traces a field without origin, or ..at least has no origin other than language itself. We the readers are asked, by these modern writers, to invest more of ourselves in the reading of modern texts. A typical modern book which demands this sort of involvement is City of Bohane by Kevin Barry (5). I am not sure I agree with Barthes theory that this created a more enriching experience for me whereas another less modern book The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (6) which involved a great deal of reader input, was an enriching experience for me. I would love to believe his theory that

The reader is the space in which all the quotations that make up a writing are inscribed without any of them being lost

I am afraid many of the inscribed quotations of many writers are lost on me. However I do not believe that we have reached ‘the death of the death of the author’. I believe what we will see in the future is a widening of the pallet of material to accommodate all reader tastes, reading habits, reading media and intellectual capacities. I think that the use of modern technologies is opening up a whole new world of possibilities for authors to co-operate with other authors and media types to coalesce their ideas and techniques to produce completely novel works.

 

 

  1. Photography and narrative: What is involved in telling a story? – David Campbell. 2015. Photography and narrative: What is involved in telling a story? – David Campbell. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.david-campbell.org/2010/11/18/photography-and-narrative/. [Accessed 28 December 2015].
  2. A sound cloud recording: https://soundcloud.com/mattjohnston/david-campbell
  3. Family Photography: Modern Storytelling with Kirsten Lewis. 2015. Family Photography: Modern Storytelling with Kirsten Lewis. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.creativelive.com/courses/family-photography-modern-storytelling-kirsten-lewis?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=text_link&utm_campaign=pixars-rules-storytelling-can-teach-photographers. [Accessed 28 December 2015].
  4. . 2015. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://artsites.ucsc.edu/faculty/Gustafson/FILM%20162.W10/readings/barthes.death.pdf. [Accessed 29 December 2015].
  5. Barry, K, 2011. City of Bohane. 1st ed. New York: Vintage Books.
  6. Kafka, F, 1915. The Metamomorphosis. 1st ed. Leipzig: Kurt Wolf.

 

P2: Project 1: Telling a story

I needed a definition of Photo Essay before I coudl begin so this is what I found:

an account of something told predominantly through photographs, with some accompanying text.

I Bryony Cambell’s “The Dad Project” has a lot of text and W. Eugene Smith’s Country Doctor  .has very little.

Hence I feel that Cambell’s work could be classified more as a photographic essay and Smith’s as a photo story. Cambell’s work is very integrated with the narrative or story around her father’s dying while Smith’s is as a detached observer of the doctor’s daily routine. Hers is a very personal story. She hesitated and procrastinated for many months before she was able to detach herself sufficiently to be able to photograph the day to day deterioration of her father’s health. In the beginning her images were softer and more ‘suggestive’ of her fathers illness while Smith was close to the subject of his images.

He shows the doctor performing amputations and other pretty intensive treatments. We see no actual treatment of the father in Cambell’s case. We see him being helped to walk in the hospital but we never see any of his treatments. Her work is like that of an observing ‘guardian angel’. She tries to leave her father’s dignity in tact. This is not to say that Smith’s images are undignified but rather they lack this deep empathy with their subjects. They are more about the doctor than the patients. In Cambell’s work it is all about the patient.

Cambell had the full support of her father in the making of this story. This is clear from the very moving  video. Saying Goodbye with my Camera and from the many images she made for this project. We have no idea if Dr Ceriani’s patients agreed to be photographed or not. The doctor himself was obviously a willing participant in the project. The resultant images tell their story. For me they are less moving, mpre c;inical but nonetheless beautiful. Cambell’s images are infused with a deep sense of love and loss.

Once Images are printed and archived there is no end to their story. Unless the archive somehow becomes obliterated the images will live on to continue the story they started to tell. Cambell’s story appears to have taken on a special continuum as people get comfort from it when suffering similar traumas in their lives. So although her fathers life story has ended the set of images have taken on a life of their own and will continue to be seen. This story will never have an ending. Smith’s images also continue to tell the story of a doctor’s life in Colorado in the late 1940s..

 

 

  1. 2015. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.brionycampbell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/The_Dad_Project_Briony_Campbell.pdf. [Accessed 26 December 2015].
  2.  W. Eugene Smith’s ‘Country Doctor’: Revisiting a Landmark Photo Essay. 2015. W. Eugene Smith’s ‘Country Doctor’: Revisiting a Landmark Photo Essay. [ONLINE] Available at: http://time.com/3456085/w-eugene-smiths-landmark-photo-essay-country-doctor/. [Accessed 26 December 2015].
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