Project 1 – ‘The distance between us’
Exercise 5.1 – The distance between us
‘Human subjects, occupying different roles in the event of photography, do play one or another part in it, but the encounter between them is never entirely in the sole control of any one of them: no one is the sole signatory to the event of photography.’
(Azoulay, 2012, p.17)
(Photography 1: Expressing Your Vision, Page 102, Paragraph 4)
This quote was from Ariella Azoulay. Which I came across in the course content. I cannot seem to source the original feed, but wanted to comment on quotation. Other people may interpret the quotation differently, but I see this as a very unique and interesting quotation. I feel she is saying that not only one person, or anyone is in full control of the photograph and that there are elements involved not just us. That there is more, to the ‘bigger picture’ say. Whether it is human subjects, and different roles. No one is solely responsible for the surroundings of the situation of where the camera has captured the subject or how, I feel this is a very complex quotation that I cannot fully explain in my eyes, but someone may interpret it different, but in basic terms, I feel that she is saying that no one is solely in control of the contents of the image and how it has been presented with the various elements contained within.
Divided Brazil / Resized_41
This artist was mentioned within the course materials, and once I explored their work I was very amazed by the photographs in the ‘Divided Brazil’ body of work. The work seemed to be very deep exploring the slums of Brazil amongst problems dating back to cultural history. This image especially caught my eye because the shoot is to do with the ‘distance between you’ and the subject. With this subject, he is partially hidden between the wires which run across the image in front of him, in relation to the positioning of the camera, as if they were a nuisance in the image. He is looking through them at the camera as if he has seen it, but the image doesn’t look staged as such because in an ideal scenario you would not want the wires in the way, but when exploring the rest of the frame with the subject you have empathy towards, it is as if it is suffocating the image, making it more of a nuisance rather than an asset. Although, this image works the brief of the distance, not caring about the rest of the frame and capturing the subject as they are in the environment, and not trying to piece together a perfect image, more of a natural habitat. The rest of the framing to me seems messy, with walls and wires making up the background of the image.
In this image, the distance between the photographer and the subject is not far. The grass is blurry in the foreground because of the camera hiding and the grass getting too close to the lens. The general surroundings are overgrown and surround the subject and come between the camera and the subject. This makes for a really subtle boarder around the edge, framing the subject well within the overgrown wilderness. The foreground and background are blurred, but the midground is well in focus where the fox is present. Because of the length of the grass, you cannot see the whole of the fox’s body, but can see enough of it to identify the fox. If you were to be closer in, for this image, I think you would be missing the boarder that frames the fox. If you were further away you would not be able to see the fox very well and the fox would be harder to see and not such a strong subject in the image and more lost within the image. Here he is framed really well, luckily enough. With just the right amount of distance between the subject and himself.
The animal within this image is very close to the photographer. The distance isn’t very far, and makes the front of the face of the animal seem very large in contention with the rest of its body which is hidden behind it. The surroundings are very blurred, which also helps you focus, on the subject part which is in focus. It as if the face of the animal is popping out at you into where you can see clearly, like you have glasses. Exploring the rest of the frame, you can see the grass taking up most of it, like a usual field. There are more of his buddies, in the background on the far right. The sun is very warming in the image and almost looks too bright because of the way the sun is glairing in the blurriness. The distance is very close in making the effect that it is a very big and powerful animal. Rather, than what it would be if it was like the one of the far right. So, the distance between the photographer is important within this image because it showcases the animal in a different light than what it would be if it was further away.
Research Point – Photographs and Contexts
Having read the very long-winded essay ‘Photographs and Contexts’ by Terry Barrett, I have to say that some of it made really good sense with some great points stated, and I learnt from the essay more about context in relation to photographs.
The Paris cafe situation is very frustrating I must imagine for the photographer as his work was manipulated and placed in different context than originally intended. A seemingly harmless image, made with no intention other than the original meaning of an essay about Paris cafes. The image then ended up with various other meanings after being stolen and used for other purposes of a darker kind. With text and a shift in audience surrounding the image, you can quickly see how things can get nasty and how it can end up looking way different to the original idea and outcome.
Further down in the essay, there is a comparison to a situation and if it were to appear in two different types of magazine. The essay reads ‘It is not hard to imagine the different readings that a photograph of a hunter beside a dead deer would receive in this country if it were printed on the covers of both the Sports Afield and Vegetarian Times magazines’. This states a very solid point in terms of how the audience of both of those magazines would perceive the image and how they would read the image. This goes for the original situation and how it can be interpreted across different platforms in different scenarios. That is why context is important in photography, because no matter what you take the image of, where it is or of whom. The text, positioning of the photograph and where it is and what type of publication it is in can give out different opinions and can be perceived as something else, then originally what is intended.
Terry Barrett, Photography and Contexts, Page 2, Paragraph 3
Throughout the essay, it mentions various examples of how different images have been moved on from their original purpose and slotted into different context, which someone else has done. Even when the photograph was taken, there was no intention it to end up where it did. An example they give is executed prisoners still strapped to the execution chair, origionally used as state documents, converted for a museum to tell the history. I feel that the work should only be used for what it was intended to in the first place unless specifically asked to be used, but not snapped up for any situation as it can have an effect on the photographer and any participants within the image, as it can be changed of how they are portrayed.
Terry Barrett, Photography and Contexts, Page 3, Paragraph 4
Furthermore, not only does context effect how the image is perceived, but once they change, they then loose sighting of the content of the image and the meaning behind it, it is buried and a new one takes its place. As an extent, Douglas Crimp gives an example of how New York public library relocated certain books based upon popularity of the artist whom produced the book rather than its contents. An example of this is World War 2 and the artist Robert Capa. Where the artist becomes more important and ‘bigger’ than the image contents itself. Relating back to the original situation, it is not about the contents of the image so much, of the couple in the cafe, but it is the text and other components that helps the judgement, not the contents. So instead of World War 2, being so much the forefront, it is overtaken by the popularity of the artist, which is wrong.
Terry Barrett, Photography and Contexts, Page 4, Paragraph 4
Although the essay explores context in depth, and gives examples and talks about change, and how images can be manipulated, it goes on to talk about interpretation, and how we interpret the image. According to Barret, we can interpret information of an image in three categories. As explained in the essay, these categories, believed to be – information within a picture. Information surrounding a picture in the way it is presented. And information about the picture’s creation. These three ways categories are very useful because they are ideally what we as the viewer look at when breaking down an image. You look at the image and its contents, and you look at what type of publication it is produced in and the surrounding text and then you look at relevant information about the image regarding it. If you were to look at three of the same images produced in different publications, you will then see how they can all vary the meaning and how an individual might see it.
Overall, context is very important, I have learnt, and this is not only just in the image but the information surrounding and regarding the image is also very important, and no matter who takes the image, someone else will always see it differently to you, or anybody, but information is always a massive help towards creating that ideal idea, in how you want them to see the image, with the intent meaning.
To read the full essay, please click the link below.
Exercise 5.2 – Homage
If you click the link above, this should take you to a page which shows a range of textures. I am rather interested in picture number 8. If you click to enlarge the images in the bottom right of the image you will see the numbered image. For this shoot, my focus will be textures. The aim of the shoot is to respond to an image of my choice. I choose number 8. I will be mainly responding to… you got it, the texture of the image. I feel this is an interesting subject to choose and to talk about in terms of context.
Back to talking about images now, and I feel that these images, especially number 8, brings out some really crazy texture. The colours are very dark, and dirty colours, the subject isn’t an appealing one, and she is very close into her subject so you can really study it. The light, although you cannot see it is very bright, white light which you can see isn’t a warming light but makes the subject bright enough that it lights the image up. The subject has no smooth edges, or any jazz like that. But it has very rugged and damaged surfaces across the subject. As we are so close in, this gives us no place else to look around, just the texture of the surface we can see. The lines in the image lead your eyes from right, to left, as it starts in focus and closest to the right of the image and your eyes are led across the left until it gets blurry. Overall, the image shows the gritty texture of the subject and how it hasn’t been looked after and cared for.
Project 2 – Improbable Images
Exercise 5.3 -Looking at Photography
In Project 2, it starts with talking about light and exposure and information that the camera produces. It talks about levels of information, such as a fully exposed image, will contain more information than one not correctly exposed. This is because there has to be more information, in order to complete, something more complex.
It goes on to ask you then, what kind of information is contained in Rinko Kawauchi’s book ‘lluminance’ in the front cover. You can see below the picture which is used for the cover of the book
Although I couldn’t specifically tell you what information is contained, I feel this is not focused properly, and using a long exposure of a kind. It as if the background is coloured and exposed correctly, but using small aperture, brings out the subject in the foreground, but then the subject has then been exposed incorrectly. All with using long exposure. The only legitimate way I can think of, by producing a shot like this would be to use an external light source, to make to seem exposed incorrectly.