When first introduced to our photography based project, we did some exploration of the factors that make up a photograph. Lighting, composition and framing are vital to the creation of a message within a photograph. We learnt that everything done in a photo is done for a specific purpose and to give the audience a particular message.
First we looked at Andreas Gursky and his photograph of what appear to be a block of flats.
We talked about how the dark lighting overhead was natural and a sky, how it could be some form of pathetic fallacy and represent dullness. Gursky could’ve chosen to shoot the photo when the sky was light and the sun was shining but he chose this particular weather. We talked about hoe the photo is very geometric and that there are a lot of lines and boxes, how the industrial effect this creates can be contrasted with natural essence of the trees. The trees at the bottom break up the boxes and make them appear less harsh. Gurksy also chose to capture a large amount of the building, perhaps wanting to portray this idea of a large city and a constant industry of people working. Each box is the home of a person and yet they all come together to create one photograph, perhaps a metaphor for a working city with all it’s people.
Next we took a look at Thomas Demand’s work.
The only lighting appears to be very dim suggesting poorness and darkness as it is set in a domestic place. The only light is coming from the top right, suggesting a spotlight from the oven. We were then told that this photo was an exact copy of Saddam Hussein’s hideout, taken from a newspaper. I was interested to find this out because without knowing the subject of the photo, I assumed it was set in a slum or a poor household due to the mess of the picture and the dim colour of the floors and walls compared to brightness of the mismatched plates and cutlery.
Finally we looked at Phillip DeCorcia.
Instantly you notice that the lighting is coming from the top left, illuminating the man in the background. The focus appears to be on him. He’s wearing a suit, suggesting power an authority whilst the man in the front is in casual wear and a hat. There is a contrast between the two men reflected in the way they arte standing. The pose suggests the man in the back has power, perhaps giving him authority over the man in front.
Decoding the message of a photograph is not always a simple task and it takes some exploration to sometimes understand the true nature of a piece of work. On occasions the public might not understand a particular set of photos but on rarities, the photographer sometimes might not want them to in order to create a sense of mystery We see photos and we build our own truths to fit the concept. It’s human nature to want to fill in the blanks.
It appears that when it comes to culturally diverse bands, there are two expectations. The first is that the band would have a ‘festation of difference’ to be exploited, making money out of their difference or perhaps being marketed a different way. The second being that their music would be a fusion of their diverse cultures. This, however, is not necessarily true.
Cornershops‘s band name is a playful jibe at the common stereotype for their culture, highlighting the exploitation of ‘difference’.
In the industry, magazines such as NME seem more interested in the culture of bands as opposed to the type of music. Prominen British Asian Bands included the likes of Cornershop, Black Star Liner and Fun^Da^Mental. Whilst all bands had a diverse set of music styles, they deemed worrying about the stereotypes of their music and culture as irrelevant whilst magazines and broadsheets highlighted this. There was a certain expectation that these bands would be ‘syncretic’ and have ‘differences’ to be exploited even though their main aim was to just make music.
Fun^Da^Mental was book to play at Glastonbury but they were given a place on the World Music Stage because of their ethnicity. Their culture may have played a part in their music but it wasn’t the central factor and yet became the main focus.
In her text, Susan Sontag explores this idea of the effect that a photograph on the public can have. She talks about how “public attention is steered by the attentions of the media” meaning that photographs are more powerful than the written word. We the public build more of a connection to photographs as “when there are photographs, a war becomes real”. We immerse ourselves in places we don’t fully understand and keep ourselves connected using such technologies as the television-based news and newspapers. This is called “the CNN effect” in which the public pay attention to the news when something drastic occurs and is widely covered. We choose to then consume news as opposed to anything else. News becomes a source of knowledge and entertainment.
Sontag continues, saying that “an image is drained of its force by the way it is used, where and how often it has seen”. Images can lose their power when they are exposed too much and we become desensitised. Perhaps it is as we need these images as some kind of proof that events are occurring, linking back to this idea that images can be used for evidential purposes. Continuing on, when the exposure happens, we lose a sense of what is happening and whatever is occurring becomes less real because we are bombarded with imagery from it. Once we are effected by exposure, Sontag states that we as “consumers droop” and need to be “jump-started again and again” with more imagery and more news. It’s a constant cycle.
From: Sontag, Susan. (2003). Chapter 7. In: Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador. pp104-113.
We explored the idea of Image and perception, and how a photograph can relate to a particular moment in our lives. We sometimes associate certain points in our life with the content of a photograph and despite perhaps not being there, we create our own context for it. I’ve touched upon this in an earlier blog post but I wanted to look at it from a different angle.
Roland Barthes recollects, in Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, finding a photograph of his mother when she was young. Despite not being alive or present when the photo was taken, he said he could imagine the photographer had said “step forward a little so we can see you” to the subjects. This is a prime example of someone creating a context and building a connection to a photo without little or no information. There is a term called The CNN effect which refers to the side-effects of the public staying home and watching the news during a military or other press-covered situation. Consumerism suffers because the public stay home and update themselves on current affairs, despite not being connected to the situation at hand. People feel the need to be up to date with the world so they create this connection – even if the war is occurring in a country half way round the globe. Both examples create this connection which soon becomes a memory, which then becomes fact.
We looked at polish photographer Zbigniew Libera’s series which consisted of the recreation of several iconic photos which are seen as traumatic and negative. He recreated them to make them appear positive.
Libera’s word, shown on the left, toys with the idea of perspective. When it comes to photographs, everyone will always have a different reaction and in rare cases, such as the one on the right, the photo will be decoded similarly by all who see it. Libera successfully gives new meaning to the photo although despite all the subjects smiling, there’s a haunting undertone due to the connection between the original and recreation.
– How has your understanding of the theoretical context developed through the production process?
– What theoretical references have you drawn upon?
– What design references have you drawn upon?
– What have you have learnt about the media of photography, video and web sites from your production process?
– How have you used or developed existing codes and conventions?
– How has your understanding of the work been developed or challenged by an audience?
– Does the essay show evidence of research into relevant theoretical and design
Reflection and Argument
– Does the essay analyse the production work in the context of theoretical and design
– Does the essay reflect on production and research processes and outcomes?
Clarity and Presentation
– Does the work fulfil the terms of the module brief?
– Is the essay clear, well-structured and properly referenced?
Our finished product can be found at:
We wanted to explore a plethora of themes in our project and combine them to create the overall idea of diversity in memory, artifice and also disjointed structure.
- The variety of memory and how one moment in time can mean different things to people. We all associate different points in time with certain images in our head. We wanted to explore this.
- We are choosing to include a staged photo for the Royal wedding part of our website in order to challenge this idea that a photo may not appear as it seems. The context of a photo can lead people to assume certain things so we wanted to place this photo on the ‘Royal wedding’ page in the hopes people would assume it was taken on the day of the event when it was actually staged recently.
- This idea of having a structure which didn’t make clear sense until the viewer actually delved in and began clicking. The person has to hover their mouse over a plain background in order to find their way around, differing from the typical ‘click here’ conventions of a website where everything is laid bare.
Another idea we are touching upon is social networking and connectivity. We are choosing to incorporate social media sites such as twitter and using them as testimonies. We wanted to display how social media has given the public the freedom to post to anyone in the world. Twitter is just one of many websites which allow everyone to gain different perspectives. We are also including video testimonies as well. We wanted to explore different types of media. Essentially the point is that despite these types of media all varying and being very different, they come together to create one idea. A testimony.
The structure of our website follows a Hyptertext structure because whilst it does have a sense of linearity due to the pages being in some order of date – from top to bottom – the visitor is free to select which page they want first. The first page they click does not necessarily have to be the firs tin chronological order. This functions much like the menu of DVD in which a person may use screen selection to access a certain part of the film as opposed to watching it from the beginning, as intended.
The popularity of photography and photo sharing websites such as Flickr and DeviantArt have seen arise in the popularity of personal photography and even photography as an occupation. We’re bombarded with images in our everyday life in places such as magazines, on social networking websites and on the television – specifically news programs. In a world where photo editing packagaes are so widely available, can we really trust the nature of any of these images?
The rules for a passport photo are meticulous and strict. Each photo much be a certain size with a plain white background, the subject must have a neutral expression and no hair can cover any part of the subject’s face. The photo must be recent and must also not be altered by any software. The reason Gov.uk enforce these strict rules is because of the need for authenticity.