Friday, 24 April 2009

Blog 12 - Reality Pt1

We were given a piece of reading to do a presentation on called Documents and pictures: two forms of realism from Themes in Contemporary Art (2004), which mainly spoke about Jeff Wall and Allan Sekula. Are these two forms of realism really different and is any form less valid than the other? In the presentation we looked at what a photograph is “The word 'photograph' means 'light writing' also speaks to an underlying concern to control light and time.” (Graham Clarke) The poignant bit for me is this idea of controlling time, people seeing photography as a means to capture a moment in time and it being a definitive, this lead us to look into documentary photography. The dictionary definition of documenting something is to record, register, and archive it, on paper, in writing. On the other side we looked into picture photography to compare the two, documentary photographs it seems are deemed more “real” than other forms of photography and art. What the viewer sees is what they deem to be the entire reality.
There is a famous photography made my Robert Capa called Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, 1936 (below), in which we see what we believe (because Capa or someone named the image so) is a militant man dying. There is speculation as to whether the man is literally dying in front of Capa or whether it was staged, but as Robert Capa is a trusted documentary photographer we only speculate for mere seconds and then believe what we’re previously told.

1 comment:

Brian J Morrison said...

This might give you something to think about if you haven't seen it already. Interesting bit about his left hand near the bottom.