Monday, 11 May 2009
So, one sunny day Andy and I were a little bored and didn't want to stay in college (tut tut, I know) so Andy suggested that we chose a subject to take photos of and he said "Lets take photos of red things!" Brilliant! I thought, just one problem... I'm using black and white film... two red things in this blog... not that you'd know it! Ha!
This is only a mock photograph, shot in the still life studio on 5x4. It's a little out of focus on the Barbie's face which is annoying. I decided to place an object associated with innocence (child's Barbie doll) with an object of a sexual nature (vibrator). I may do a series of these with different children's toys and different sex toys!
Friday, 8 May 2009
Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson are both photographers that use larger sets and obscure themes to create their images of a sort of hyper real reality. We don’t see their photography as being documentary in any way. Both Wall and Crewdson create these elaborate sets and photographs by drawing on their past experiences, Wall’s Invisible Man was based upon a book he’s read by Ralph Ellison called Invisible Man. Plate 7 of Crewdson’s Twilight Series shows a man on his knees cutting holes out of the living room floor, this was apparently a memory from Crewdson’s childhood, pressing his ear to the floor trying to hear his father’s conversations. Although these examples are not documentary photography they do still contain an air of reality it is just a recreated version of something that has already happened, rather than in the moment.
In conclusion I believe that both documentary and staged art photography all contain elements of reality. The works of Robert Capa and Eddie Adams were produced “in the moment”, what you see is supposedly “what you get” you don’t question it. On the other side, Crewdson and Wall create a staged reality of past experiences forcing the viewer to think more about what they see. Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner were documentary photographers who played with reality, moving bodies and evidence to suit their needs. However, with all these types of photography it’s up to the viewer to research and create their own conclusions about what is in front of them. After finding out the stories behind these photographs I can see that all photography should be questioned and researched; the viewer should not take what they are told to be a definitive of what they’re looking at. The manipulation that has taken place in documentary photography has led me to see that a staged form of reality is not any less valid than a photograph that is “documenting” something; it just needs more thought and understanding.
In 1968 photojournalist Eddie Adams took a rather shocking photograph called Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executing Nguyễn Văn Lém on February 1, 1968, upon viewing this image we’re taken aback by it and feel quite sorry for the man that is appearing to be shot and feel that the man with the gun in his hand is the bad man in the scenario we’re given. With a little research we find that the man with the gun is General Nguyen and the man he is shooting prior to this photo being taken had savagely killed quite a few Americans. The General had to make a decision on the spot about what to do with this Viet Cong prisoner and as a result of the killing and being deemed the villain in this photograph he committed suicide. Eddie Adams later wrote “…Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them; but photographs do lie, even without manipulation…” and what he documented was a half-truth, what we see happened but we don’t know why it happened.
Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner are photographers that are well known for their photographic documentation of the American Civil War, they also became well known for manipulating the situation, Brady and Gardner moved dead bodies, body parts, used props where there would’ve been none and all in the name of getting a better composition. Their aim was to show the devastating effects of war and although they got their point across, they manipulated reality.
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Again, shot with T-Max 3200 iso film... although I like the benefit of using a high speed film (shooting in low light conditions) I'm not really enjoying the grain in this particular film. Think I'll go back to using Neopan...