Exercise 1: Read the article ‘’On Foucault: Disciplinary and Photography’’ by David Green ( The Camera Work Essays, 2005, pp.119-31). Core resources: OnFoucault.pdf
Sumamarise the key points made by the author in your learning log.
The main idea of discipline in this article means training people to obey rules using punishment.
Writer raises the question if people have to be punished to learned their mistake, or is it possible to do reach this goal in other ways.
Discipline and punished has influence on documentary photographic practice too. Photographer uses discipline to observe and record those issues or themes he thinks is important. In other words photographer has power over his subjects.
We also have to think about subject as free people, street/ documentary many time go to close, record very personal things and situation. Documentary photography opened new possibilities to use photograph as an evidence, however we have to think how we will use power of photography to obey rules of ethical values.
Exercise 2: Read the article ‘The Photograph as an Intersection of Gazes: The Example of National Geographic’ by Catherine Lutz and Jane Collins. Core resources: NationalGeographic_gaze.pdf
In what ways does the idea of the gaze apply to your photography? What are the implications of this for your practice? Write a short reflective commentary in your learning log.
This article is about relationship between photograph subject and magazine. This is about meanings of gaze, which created westerns.
National Geographic magazine is about different photography, photography who has meaning and a story. In this type of magazine we can find photographs as documents and also beauty photographs.
7 types of gaze listed in the article:
- Photographers gaze
- Institution gaze (magazine)
- Readers gaze (western readers)
- Subjects gaze (non western)
- Explicit looking done by a western subject appearing in the frame with non western locals
- Returned gazes (from reflections, mirrors, subjects using cameras)
- Academic gaze
This article made my think about ethics in my photography practice. We have to be careful taking non-westerns people as subjects in our photography, there are many images in a press like this. We have to take in count if we were in this situation, how would we feel?
Those images were taken to inform rest of the world about poor situations our there, but this doesn’t give us a right to take photos like this.
In my experience I have been doing few projects on street photography, but then I did not took those ethical issues in count, now I see problems in this…
In my opinion documentary photographers work for public to inform and highlight current issues. In this case people have to let photographers gaze on them, use their personal information.
Exercise 3: Listen to Don McCullin taking about his exhibition Shaped by War on Radio 4’s Excess Baggage: www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b00qlgzg
This radio interview covers an idea of how those photograph of pain, death, conflict, war and suffering affect us. I thing that everyone human being seeing things like this have a strong emotional effect.
McCullin in this interview describes how he felt about that kind of situation. He wanted to escape North London, however when he escaped and saw even more tragical and very difficult situations. It is very hard when you photograph subject asking you for help and you know you can not do anything, only to take that picture and send message across to the audience.
This is where Mc Cullin found landscape photography, this was an escape and some kind of meditation for his soul and minds.
Monica Porter talks about her experience, growing up in New York and London, in a perfect and safe environment. When at that time there was a war in Hungary. When she was nineteen she decide to visit her Home land, and there were so many things she weren’t comfortable with. Growing up or living in another country so a long time makes you really an outsider, you come back to the place you are borned and you don’t feel that connection anymore. I am talking about my own experience.
This exercise is for us to understand that photograph is a document, however we need to understand photograph. Images have to have clear message. I believe that photograph is successful when you see photographer’s emotional input in it.
I can talk form my own experience, I tried to create photographic project based on homeless people, I fell shock that most of them just impersonate to be one. But the homes who were really homeless with serious health problems, I could not take images of those, their eyes screamed help me. There was too strong emotional feeling, which I couldn’t face up to.
Exercise 4: Read the articles ‘Walk the Line’ by Max Houghton (Foto, Issue 23, pp. 143-4) and ‘Imaging War’ by Jonathan Kaplan (Foto8, issue 23, pp.142-3)
Core resources: Foto8#23_Kaplan&Houghton.pdf
The full issue of the magazine available to download from:
Write down your reactions on the author’s arguments.
Jonathan Kaplan is a war surgeon and at the same time photographer, he raises a question where is the limits for photographs to be shown.
Max Houghton writes about same article, he have to understand that photography is not only the art, it is strong toll also. The image in his article definitely crosses all ethical boundaries. Also this image distract viewer from the main problem/issue.
I am mother myself, seeing this situation in the real, I would probably forget about camera, I would try to help this distress child, who left without mother.
This makes me really sad that someone think that this way of photographing people in normal.
Exercise 5: Read the booklet ‘Imaging Famine’
Core resources: imagingFamine.pdf.
Do some research across printed and online media and find examples that either illustrates or challenge the issues highlighted in the document. Add your findings to your learning log.
I found an interesting detail in this article that showing famine pictures in the press has negative aspects too. Africa became continent of Famine, this is how western people imaging this.
This type of photographic project do not le those African people to have dignity, they are photographed in those kind of situations where they are not able, to say know. In my option photographers use this power over them.
I agree that is hard to tell the story keeping their dignity. But we have to look at the ethical side; they are alive and have feelings, begging for the help.
I am really glad than in 1980 Oxfam decided not to use this kind of photographs in their fund raising campaigns. In order to save people’s dignity, most importantly mother and kids.
There is another truth for this fundraising campaign, that Oxfam would not raise so much money, if they would use different images. Empathy is strong tool playing of people’s feeling.
This raises a question again, what is documentary photography? Newspapers, journals and television are the main market for those photographs. Photographer does not decided which images should be published this is done by editors and directors. So we see images that will increase number or reader or watched, but not the ones which photographer picked us to see. So the statement what we see is truth is not necessary correct.
My opinion about aesthetics and images of famine is very negative, Being the mum for 2 years old and seeing those children suffering, stops me form thinking about aesthetics qualities. There is a right time and place to demonstrate ascetics qualities, photos of famine is definitely not the one.
I researched some images that have signs of aesthetics:
I found an interesting essay on famine:
An interesting interview based on aesthetics and famine:
There is an interesting interview with David Campbell and John Levy considering if famine images has place for aesthetics. There are many different opinions however some of them raises very important questions such as why photographers creates images where is clearly seen result of the issues, but not the issue itself? The problem is not famine, problem is in power and structure of those countries, there is plenty of food there, but people still die there. Campbell blames photographers for not showing real situation to viewer. This opinion been compared to situation of blaming blog post creator for the comments on his work.
Another interesting pint covers aesthetics, David Campbell proves that some images has aesthetics in themselves, some subjects are photograph many times, to achieve the best looking image with right composition and beauty.
In my opinion the important parts of this essay covers the understanding of aesthetics, if you understand aesthetics as a beauty of something very neat, there is no chance seeing those signs in famine photographs. However if you understand aesthetics as good composition and the best possible camera settings used there are chances you find quite few images like this.
Exercise 6: Read the, WeAreOca blog post the ethics and aesthetics, (http://www.weareoca.com/photography/the-ethics-of -aesthetics/) including all the replies to it, and write a comment both on the blog page and in your blog. Make sure that you visit all the links on the blog post.
Alejandro Chaskelberg work proves us totally different seeing, understanding and believing of photographed images. This kind of way saves people dignity and seems like those colours makes situation look better. Also looking through those images I feel like those people are closer to us than previous images based on famine, it seems more western. Could it be the case that photographers want to distract viewer form real situation, using his technical abilities? Or create situation better as he wished that situation would be better there. It can also be the case when press needed new and unpublished view on famine? I do understand the real word for aesthetics in famine photographs now, as Chaskelberg proved us this very well.
Exercise 7: Read Claire Cozens’ Guardian article about Guerrero’s photograph:
What would you have done had you been the editor of a British broadsheet newspaper?
A similar case revolving around photograph of a dead Iraki soldier in the Gulf War prompted Michael Ignatieff, the author of Magnum degrees, to write and reflect on the ethics of photojournalism. Read ‘But Should You Print It?
Core resources: ShouldYourPrint.pdf
I guess aesthetics is important when we are talking about press, there are many people reading this newspaper, so editor did not want them to get sick seeing this photograph, we also have to think about children, newspaper is available to them as well.
I think it was very difficult decision for editor, as altering images means he changes real facts and information.
If I would be an editor I would probably leave this article without any image, as there another question is raised, about privacy of those injured people and their families.
In my opinion all photographs containing violence, terrorism, dead people and car crashes is not for publishing. However the contest and idea of those kind of images are very important too, as there is an examples such as images of atomic bomb tests in the American south-west, bodies of the Jews murdered by Nazis, as those images made our history is written in the book for schools and universities, there is only one way to create right impression, by using those images. I think every image has to have it own purpose and meaning, and if it has one and it is shown in right light, it can be published.
Exercise 8: Read the two essays in the BPB 2008 programme and look at the work of the curator selected for the exhibition.
Core resources: BPB2008.pdf
Write a short press release of around 250 words in your learning log – in your own words.
Brighton Photo Bennial’ s 2008 programmer ‘’Memory of Fire: the War of images and Images of War’’ introduces us with and goes into more details how war photographers changed during the time. There are listed thirty-five war photographers wit examples of their work. In this case some of those photographers are artistists photojournalists or even amateur photographers. Those visual examples help us to see more details, elements of war photography and aesthetic side of those works.
The writer of those essays – Julian Stallabrass , his biggest fear that commercial side of the war images would destroy the real idea and understanding of the war situation. Many photographers staging or altering with digital manipulation images by this way they loose their truthful understandings and ideas. The worst case that reader doesn’t believe the photographs in press anymore, as it is very hard to understand where is right or wrong information. We all know that press is using their articles and photographs to attract more readers, in this case it may be false or altered information used.
In my opinion documentary photography is losing it meaning, as the main point is to inform readers, create a document, which can be used in the future.
However there is a problem of power and structure there, photographers do not decide what images have to be published, press does. After all photographer is powerless…
Exercise 9: Browse the catalogue Tribal Portraits: Vintage and Contemporary Photographs from the African Continent, Bernard J Shapero Rare Books.
Core resources: TribalPortraits.pdf
Write a brief reflective commentary in your learning log.
The catalogue contains around 200 –photographs, taken from 1830 until now.
Many famous photographers are included in this catalogue such as Seydou Keita, Leni Riefenstahl and Irving Penn.
This catalogue is a perfect example how hunger and poor living conditions do not get in the way of demonstrating tribal’ life, unique rite and clothes. Also there is a strong sign of photography possibilities growing during that time.
I fell that from all photographers George Rogers stands out. His images perfectly reflect uniqueness of each tribal. Strong compositions together with honesty and simplicity cover many traditional tribal routines and rites. All his images are in motion; this may be a key for his success.
This exercise helped me to understand that idea of photographic project is very important, as one situation can be interpretive in different ways, problems and solution, photographers has a huge power to decide what has to be shown and why to the public.
Research Point: Do your own research into the bodies of work discussed in this project. Can you find any examples of work carried out amongst indigenous peoples that, in your view, honesty document the lives of their subjects without falling into some of the traps that we’ve been discussing here? If so, how has the photographer achieved this?
Peter Lavery Of Humankind
Peter Lavery produced some images of different ethnic groups, however he decided to detached people form their surroundings. In my opinion images lost their connection with the environment, also it lost their power of showing uniqueness of each ethic group, the all look the same in black background.
David Bruce San
Same static images, on the background, those images kind of asking for more information. I find it quite confusing, those portraits are here to introduce us with ethic groups, but at the same their background is in the secret.
Edvard S Curtis Nootka Women
Very similar portraits to David Bruce’, however those been photographed 100 years earlier. I think we can produce better images with more context and narrative.
Juan Echeverria Himba of Namibia
There is uncomfortable to look at those nude women when they are detached form their surroundings, it hard to understand who those women are and why they are nude in front of the viewer, also what is the main idea of those photographs.
Alvaro Leyva Indigenous people in the Amazon Basin
Could not find any information about those images. Website http://www.alvaroleiva.com/index.php?ctrl=section&action=view&id=2 does not contain those images.