CONTEXT AND NARRATIVE: COURSE REFLECTIONS

CONTEXT AND NARRATIVE -OVERALL  EVALUATIOHN

My Learning journey

I began and lived through this course during an unusually turbulent and tension filled year domestically, managing disappointments and sadness for others in the main, and living with the tensions that these caused. I now look back at this as excellent timing as I was able to reflect on and express my emotions whilst immersing myself in photography. In fact I can see now that the more personal my photography became, the easier it flowed, the more creative and in turn more successful it was.

The course was challenging at many points, forcing myself to broaden and adapt my mind set, interests and develop my technical abilities. There were occasions when asked that I would describe the work as “not my cup of tea” and yet the further I progressed in the course the more enjoyment I gained from it.

Whilst Expressing My Vision was a good introduction to studying photography at degree level, Context and Narrative proved to be considerably more developmental for me personally and photographically, opening my eyes at many levels.

Formative feedback

My tutor’s feedback was forthright and for the first assignment crushing. However this stimulated me to embrace the next modules with a gusto and open mind. I love learning and as well as being challenged, so I set about reading and researching widely and took on board his advice.

I learnt a lot technically in part to the demands of the assignments but largely as my Tutor challenged my outcomes technically and gave me directions to make improvements. I learnt not to shy away from technical challenges but to read, learn and experiment to improve.

I realised that the more I released myself from rigid mind sets and exposed myself, the more satisfying and successful my work became.

Reflecting on best work

It was at assignment three “Photographing the unseen” that through the learning (coursework, independent research, tutor advice) I gained confidence and embraced photography more creatively and conceptually. I particularly enjoyed the research and exhibitions that coincided with this unit and felt as if “the penny had dropped” in terms of using photography to really express myself. I was enthusiastic about reworking some of the assignment making technical improvements.

In assignment 4 once I had my eureka moment deciding on the Margaret Bourke- White Gandhi photograph that I had a personal link to, I relished researching and shaping the essay. I learnt much here about interpreting photographs, a photographer’s motivation and influences.

I knew by the time I met my final assignment that it should be personally driven, though a fabricated outcome. As my tutor suggested I borrowed elements of approaches from other photographers and enjoyed enormously thinking through the concept and then enacting it.

Areas I would like to develop further

  • To push my creative boundaries.
  • To compose with some subtlety and ambiguity.
  • To remember to look very carefully with another’s eye, especially a technically trained eye to spot weaknesses and areas for correction.
  • To continue my learning with off camera lighting.
  • To read and research broadly and learn from not only great photographers but artists in general.

Overall Context and Narrative has developed my sense of adventure and experimentation photographically and creatively, I intend to continue this journey of discovery whilst combining it with increasing technical prowess.

I have reflected on each course module after my draft and again after my tutor’s feedback: https://nkssite2.wordpress.com/category/reflection/

 

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ASSIGNMENT 5: MAKING IT UP

Niki South             Student number: 514516

Submission – Assignment 5: Making it up

“The Supper”

TUTOR REPORT: Tutor report OCA Niki South 514516 Ass 5

MY REFLECTIONS ON FORMATIVE FEEDBACK

This feedback was by google hangout followed by a brief report.

I was particularly pleased with my Tutor’s feedback this time by video and then written. He has been a hard task master, constructively critical and technically a perfectionist, which has been very good for me. I felt that I had been on a long journey this course and that my work on this final module pulled together the huge learning that I had been through over the last year.

STRENGTHS HIGHLIGHTED

  • Understanding of symbolism.
  • Understanding of art history and contemporary practice.
  • Extensive research and my learning log.
  • Careful construction of a tableaux, including the direction of the actors.
  • Commitment to learning about off camera lighting. I had initially thought to avoid shooting this assignment inside, as I was nervous about using off camera lighting; I am very glad that I challenged myself, bought new equipment, experimented with it and have opened new exciting doors in my photography.
  • Technical improvements in my photography. I have looked back to my last photographic assignment (assignment 3) after which my development areas were: lighting, being aware of shadows and reflections and how to overcome them, and awareness of colour balance. I am pleased that I have improved on these areas with the photography for this assignment.

AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT

The areas we talked about were for possible post production work although these were suggested as possibles not essentials at all:

  • To eliminate the light switch above my head in the image. How did I not see this myself? Now it has been pointed out it is a huge irritation and distraction and will have to go!
  • I could tone down the right side of the image and the back of the chair slightly, not essential.
  • I could brighten the door a little, not essential.
  • Should I have used less salt? I did wonder this myself, though I also did want it to be obvious.

MY LEARNING POINTS

These I have taken not only from this assignment but from the wisdom shared by my tutor generally and the learning that I want to take onto my next course myself:

  • To continue to tackle challenges head on to broaden and accelerate my learning.
  • To continue my learning with off camera lighting.
  • To remember to look very carefully with another’s eye, especially a technically trained eye to spot weaknesses and areas for correction.
  • Continue to compose with some ambiguity.
  • To read and research broadly and learn from the great photographers.

REWORKING THE ASSIGNMENT

  • Reprocess “The Supper” to eliminate the light switch.
  • To experiment with lightening and toning down small areas of the image. I need to look very carefully at the image again and ultimately determine whether I prefer it aesthetically as it is or with some changes, going through the exercise will be useful even if I decide to leave these areas as they are – After some experimentation for my submission image I brightened the open door side of the image very slightly, to balance the tone across the image.

Link to learning log: https://nkssite2.wordpress.com/category/a5-learning-log/

This mind map summarises the narrative of my brainstorming and planning contained in the learning log.

 Planning brainstorm:

mind map prep final.jpg

 

 

ASSIGNMENT FIVE: MAKING IT UP

Nicola South        Student number: 514516

REFLECTIONS AGAINST ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

  • I believe the image is well composed and balanced.
  • I have meticulously arranged the props to give visual cues to the narrative.
  • I hope that the image is aesthetically pleasing, I chose the colours of the clothing to contrast with the harmonising colours of the décor.
  • There is clarity through most of the shot.
  • Working with my new lighting kit (soft box, umbrella and multiple speedlights) was a technical learning curve. I was careful to consider reflections and shadows. I was aware of the colour balance and made choices about it post production. I am pleased with what I have achieved, although I am well aware that I have a lot to learn to improve these skills.
  • I believe that the image shows that I have good visual awareness.

 Quality of outcome: 

  • In my choice of theme and the way that I have presented it I have used much learning from this part of the course, in particular my research of relevant photographers.
  • By choosing a theme which has a context in common with other work in Context and Narrative I hope that I have strengthened my message/meaning.
  • I believe I have combined the presentation of a disquieting moment with an aesthetically pleasing image which viewers may linger over.
  • I have used the props and furniture to layering order to lead the viewer around the narrative.
  • My introduction should communicate how I have conceptualised my ideas to the reader.
  • I hope that I have provided links between a contemporary situation and the visual motifs of a classical painting

Demonstration of creativity:

  • I took a personal risk working with this theme.
  • My concept of linking a classical painting with my modern narrative using some of the symbolism was creative.
  • I have blended fact and fiction in a creative way and hope it leaves something to the viewers imagination.
  • I had to be inventive when directing the actors, including myself.
  • I believe that I have shown that my personal voice is emerging.

 Context: 

  • I have researched beyond the coursework and used this research to build my own practice.
  • I have thought critically about the learning points my research has raised.
  • I have moved my learning and research beyond photography to the wider context of classical painting.

COURSEWORK: PART FIVE CONSTRUCTED REALITIES AND THE FABRICATED IMAGE

Research point 1 

Look up the work of Gregory Crewdson online. Watch this YouTube video about Gregory Crewdson and his work and consider the questions below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7CvoTtus34&feature=youtu.be [accessed 24/02/14]

  • Do you think there is more to this work than aesthetic beauty?

Yes. Crewdson says himself that though it is most important to make a beautiful picture, but that ascetic alone is not enough, “it needs to have an undercurrent of something dangerous or fearful” (Youtube.com, 2017). His pictures are not beautiful to me, but they are certainly interesting and whilst some would find them beautiful many would not; I do think that most would find them interesting and perplexing and possibly disturbing.

  • Do you think Crewdson succeeds in making his work ‘psychological’? What does this mean?

           Yes his work is definitely psychological. It sets out to interest you in the uncanny, the dark side, invites you to consider the “disturbance” in the image and to make sense of it. As Iles says “His genius is to insert that highly charged strange anxiety a sense of a moment having just irrupted or something disturbing about to take place.” (Youtube.com, 2017). The psychological for Crewdson is ordinary life but with a disturbance beneath the perfect order, an undercurrent of the dangerous or fearful, combined with emptiness and loneliness.

  • What is your main goal when making pictures? Do you think there’s anything wrong with making beauty your main goal? Why or why not?

I don’t think I know currently what my main goal is in making pictures; it used to be ascetic, pattern, shape, balance, proportion, colour, however I do feel that there needs to be more now. Quite what my “more” is I’m not sure right now.

Notes from the interview:

Chrissie Iles (Curator, Whitney museum of American Art)

  • He has shifted the language of photography, interest in the uncanny and the psychoanalytical made evident.
  • He takes on the mechanics of the cinema.
  • His work is never a single image but collaged from different shots.
  • Elaborate sophisticated rich unique and thought through.
  • He is interested in the dark side, concerned with creating uncanny moments.
  • He “came of age” in the early 90s when dramatic psychological became important for artists, giving artists permission to explore the psychological within photography in a theatrical cinematic sense.
  • He’s a complex person, good at working with a team, warm, open interested though interested in the dark side in a psychological complexities.
  • His father was a psychoanalyst, he used to listen into his father working, was very influenced him.
  • Inspired by Diane Arbus, the Paintings of Edward harper – deals in the American vernacular, ordinary, an emptiness.
  • Photos of Walker Evans interested in the ordinary life, indigenous architecture
  • His genius is to insert that highly charged strange anxiety a sense of a moment having just irrupted or something disturbing about to take place.
  • If you could freeze a moment in your dream and go into it in minute detail.

 Crewdson:

  • Most important is to make a beautiful picture, but just purely aesthetic is not good enough, it needs to have an undercurrent of something dangerous or fearful.
  • Early in career shot from the perspective of the aerial crane.
  • Twilight was the first work that put everything together, cinematic lighting in a choreographed way, which was a huge shift in the work, telling the story through light and colour.
  • He drives around scouting for ordinary nondescript locations, until he finds something that’s seems right and responds to something in the architecture.
  • In his work tries to create the ordinary but pointing to what exists beneath the surface, beneath the perfect façade.
  • Creates stories, Likes to project emptiness and loneliness with a quiet tone but on the scale of the operatic.
  • Likes to feel connected to the characters private moments.

Reference:

Youtube.com. (2017). YouTube. [online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7CvoTtus34&feature=youtu.be [accessed 24/02/14] [Accessed 10 Jul. 2017].

Link to my exhibition visit to The Cathedral of the Pines: https://nkssite2.wordpress.com/category/cathedral-of-the-pines/

LEARNING LOG: Thames Valley OCA Meeting

Thames Valley OCA Photography group meeting 15th July 2017

Though I joined this group a few months ago due to my 2 centre living and travelling, this was the first meeting that I’d been able to attend.

It was good to meet with other OCA photographer, including one that has recently completed their degree as well as a tutor. We were able to share projects that we were working on, mainly through prints, and invite critical comments from the group. There was also a discussion about the body of work that some of the members are working on. For my part the timing for sharing was difficult as I had just completed assignment four and not begun the coursework and research for assignment five, although I did share some initial ideas and had some photographers’ work suggested to me to review.

It will definitely be worthwhile support group and add to my learning journey so I intend to attend monthly when I am able.

ASSIGNMENT FOUR: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Nicola South              Student number: 514516

TUTOR REPORT: Tutor report OCA Niki South 514516 Ass 4

MY REFLECTIONS ON FORMATIVE FEEDBACK

STRENGTHS HIGHLIGHTED

  • Extensive research.
  • Powerful analysis.
  • Use of a personal connection.
  • The image chosen for the essay.

AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT

  • Include more on the composition, my thoughts about it.
  • My tutor suggests that I could have mentioned the way the eye is directed to the main subject, and that I should comment on the light hitting Ghandi’s head spiritually; however re-reading my essay confirms that I have written about the way the viewer’s eye is drawn across the image, and described the “daylight alighting mystically on Gandhi’s head”. I think unfortunately he must have missed these comments, although I accept that I may not have been obvious enough about how this directs the eye to Gandhi. I could have been more explicit however about the image following the rule of thirds.

MY LEARNING POINTS

  • Remember to consider and comment on whether and how an image could be improved when analysing and reading a photograph.
  • To use my learning from this part of the course on reading photographs as I go forward.
  • As my tutor suggest to carry on learning from “the greats” to take my own practice forwards.

POST FEEDBACK ACTIONS

  • Reread the essay, to check whether any changes are needed, though my Tutor suggests I should submit it as it is. Having done so I concluded that I should submit as it is, especially as I found that I have covered the composition points he mentions apart from the rule of thirds (I thought to go back and insert this but decided it would be rather obvious!).

Link to learning log: https://wordpress.com/post/nkssite2.wordpress.com/1917

This mind map summarises the narrative of my brainstorming for the image: https://wordpress.com/post/nkssite2.wordpress.com/2079

mind map prep

 

 

 

 

 

Part four: Reading photographs Assignment 4 draft

Student number: 514516      Nicola South

A Picture is worth a thousand words

REFLECTIONS AGAINST ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

  • I spent much time reading around the technical, and semantic terms it was necessary to understand for this assignment- I believe that I understand them and have demonstrated this.
  • I tested my visual awareness and observational skills when learning how to read photographs and when reading my chosen photograph.
  • I would guess that the compositional skill needed in this assignment are in the pulling together all of these thoughts and material in a coherent manner
  • I am sure that I should continue to read widely to broaden my knowledge of these areas
  • It will be very interesting to use these enhanced skills when I visit my next exhibition. I am sure the exhibition notes that I wrote in this part of my coursework would have been much shaper if I’d viewed it before working through this section of the course.

Quality of outcome: 

  • I hope the content is both broad and relevant.
  • I believe I have applied the learning from the exercises and coursework whilst shaping and writing the essay and been discerning in my choice of material.
  • I trust that I have communicated my concepts clearly.

Demonstration of creativity

  • My imagination was needed both when choosing the photograph for the assignment and when reading the photograph, as ultimately there are assumptions to be made.
  • I believe that my interpretation of the photograph was original and unique and this was shaped from thinking laterally around the evidence and being imaginative.
  • I hope that my Personal voice is beginning to show in my analysis of the photograph.

Context:

  • I spent a lot of time researching the background before I began to draft the essay and have published a summary this research on my learning log.
  • I believe that the critical thinking and reflection that I did on this image shows in my analysis of the photograph.
  • I did talk to others about the image, non- photographers which was useful, however it may have also been useful to talk to my peers about my ideas. I have just joined an OCA photography group who meet monthly and this will add to my reflective process.

 

 

 

 

Part four: Reading photographs Book Review

Book review: The Photographer’s eye. John Szarkowski.

I am reading this book at the point where I am studying how to read photographs which seems extremely pertinent. So I rather than a standard book review this is a summary of my learning in relation to this.

Szarkowski sets out his intention for his book as “an investigation of what photographs look like, and of why they look that way” (Szarkowski, 2009).

I found it interesting how he makes clear that photography invaded the territory of art, could not work to old standards and had to find its own ways of making its meaning clear. Photography was invented by scientists and painters but the professional photographers it produced were varied in their skills and had increased vastly by the early twentieth century. There was a deluge of pictures, describing new things and in new ways, most especially the ordinary. Photographers learned from other photographers and photographs.

Szarkowski lists five issues he believes are inherent in photography and organises his selected images in these groups:

  • The thing itself: That the photographer deals with reality, though much of the reality can be filtered out by the photographer and as the photographer makes choices. He points out that our faith in the truth of the camera may be “naive and illusory …for though the lens draws the subject, the photographer defines it”. (Szarkowski, 2009).
  • The detail: The photographer could only record as he found it and had to “force that facts to tell the truth” (Szarkowski, 2009). He could however fragment details as well as put the details into a narrative. I hadn’t realised myself that the rise of photography freed painters from having to paint narrative stories. The images he chose for this section show a variety of significant detail and symbols, though these images I think could have equally have been placed in his groups of the thing itself.
  • The frame: Szarkowski considers that the central act of photography is the choosing and eliminating, which “forces a concentration on the picture edge…and on the shapes that are created by it” (Szarkowski, 2009). The frame he explains, edits meaning and patterns. Interestingly he poses the question whether painters’ use of the frame creatively was born from photography. Here the images that he chooses to illustrate seem to ideally do this, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “Callejon of the Valencia Arena” 1933:
  • W1siZiIsIjE0NDM3MyJdLFsicCIsImNvbnZlcnQiLCItcmVzaXplIDIwMDB4MjAwMFx1MDAzZSJdXQ.jpg

  (The Museum of Modern Art, 2017)

  • Time: All photographs are time exposures, some shorter some longer, catching slices of time and movement. Szarkowski, helpfully explains that the new beauty of “seeing the momentary patterning lines and shapes that had previously been concealed within the flux of movement” (Szarkowski, 2009) as decisive moments not as dramatic climaxes but as visual ones. Many of the images that he shows here show time blurred such as Rene Groebli’s Nude dressing (1952) which was a new image to me.

rene-groebli-nude-dressing-1952

 (Curiator, 2017)

  • Vantage point: He points out that it is photography which has taught us to see from different vantage points, challenging our notions of reality. So pictures can reveal the clarity and the obscurity of things. He also suggests that this has influenced modern painters. The images he has in this section of his book illustrate this well such as Clarence John Laughlin’s The fierce eyed building (1938).

fierce eyed building.jpg

 (Harvardartmuseums.org, 2017)

Szarkowski has certainly set out his idea of what photographs look like, and why they look that way.

My learning points:

  • I have discovered another way to read photographs, to look at The thing, the detail, the frame, the time, the vantage point; have any of these influenced the photographer more than the other and how?

References

Curiator. (2017). Nude dressing by René Groebli. [online] Available at: https://curiator.com/art/rene-groebli/nude-dressing [Accessed 25 Jun. 2017]

Harvardartmuseums.org. (2017). From the Harvard Art Museums’ collections The Fierce-Eyed Building. [online] Available at: http://www.harvardartmuseums.org/art/155284 [Accessed 25 Jun. 2017].

Szarkowski, J. (2009). The photographer’s eye. The Museum of Modern art. New York.

The Museum of Modern Art. (2017). Henri Cartier-Bresson. Callejón of the Valencia Arena. 1933 | MoMA.

Please note: Any images by other photographers used on this site are accredited and are being used for personal research and educational purposes only.

Part four: Reading photographs Book review

Ways of seeing – John Berger (1972)

I have had this book for many years but thought that whilst working on reading photographs that this is the time to revisit it. It was with this purpose that I re read the book.

The book comprises of seven essays, though I reread the whole book I would like to focus on the first chapter where many of the ideas presented have been taken from a previous essay “The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by German critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin.

Berger proposes that “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled” (Berger, 1972, p7) as the way that we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. So seeing is not just mechanically reacting to stimuli:

  • We chose what we look at
  • Can only see what is within our field of vision
  • Never just look at one thing
  • We look at the relation between things and ourselves (p9)
  • We are aware that we too are visible

He describes images as man-made objects that have been reproduced but detached from the place and time they were seen. Photographs are not accurate records as “the photographer’s way of seeing is reflected in his choice of subject” (Berger, 1972, p10). The photographer has selected “that sight from an infinity of other possible sights” (Berger, 1972p 10), though we know the object is affected by much more than this.

I have learnt that images were first taken to make up for something that was absent, rather like portraiture I guess, it was only later that the influence of the image maker on the subject was recognised. Berger also explains how images are beset by other assumptions when presented as works of art, concerning beauty, truth, genius, civilisation, form, status and so on. He suggests that these assumptions are often historical and may mystify our vision. In terms of paintings he suggests that it is the social and moral values that we hold that affect the way we see, rather that the painters skills.

Never having been an artist I found Berger’s explanation of how the understanding of perspective has altered historically. The original Renaissance convention of perspective was that everything was centred on the eye of the beholder, the single eye was the centre of the world with everything converging on the eye. There was no reciprocal vision, the visible world was arranged just for the spectator, just a God was the centre of the world, it was as if everything converged on the human eye. Apparently it was after the invention of cameras that the contradiction that spectators unlike God could not be in many places at the same time and that there must be reciprocal vision. The camera could change its perspective, and unlike paintings could separate time passing from the visual experience so that what you see is totally dependent on where you were when, so is relative to a person’s position in time and space. Berger asserts that “The camera changed the way men saw” (Berger, 1972).

This was taken into paintings, the cubists in particular presented views from all points around an object. Neither had I realised that the camera also changed the way in which historical paintings were seen. I hadn’t thought that originally paintings were unique due to the place that they were situated as they were integral to the design of their building. However with the invention of the camera where a painting could be reproduced and placed elsewhere they could take on different meanings divorced from their original context and placed in another. Reproduction can also transform meaning when paintings are partially reproduced and not shown in their entirety.

Berger summarises how visual art has moved from existing in sacred preserves, then a variety physical preserves and later particular social preserves in particular those of the ruling classes. Of course now reproduction has removed art from these preserves which he suggests may render them “ephemeral, ubiquitous, insubstantial, available, valueless, free” (Berger, 1972). He concludes in chapter one that the authority of the art of the past is lost and in its place is “a language of images” (Berger, 1972) where what matters is who uses it for what and that visual art has become a political issue.

A revisit of this text was really useful at this point in my learning as it widens my increasing understanding of how photographs are read.

References:

Berger, J (1972) Ways of seeing. London. Penguin group.

Benjamin, W. (n,d) The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Found in (1970) Illuminations. Cape. London

Part four: Reading photographs Book Review

How to Read a Photograph (Jeffrey, 2009)

In the foreword Max Kozloff discusses the history of photography and how photographs are seen as secondary sources by general historians but as primary sources by historians of photography. He points out that photographs can be used as evidence of “vanished material conditions, ideals, cultures and epochs(Kozloff, 2009), whilst it may also be used to express feelings, so being both discursive and figurative. As he says the difficult part is how to move on from a description of the contents of a photograph to an account that makes sense of it:

The visual facts convey a material reality of their time; as they’re composed and framed, they reflect a narrative desire of their time” (Jeffrey, 2009).

He believes that Jeffrey addressees this in his interpretations of the photographs in this book, as well as the biography of the artist, the psychological relations implied in the frame and through this work develops meaning for the photographer’s visualisation.

In the book Jeffrey explores the work of 69 photographers in 384 photographers with the images arranged roughly in the history of photography, divided by The Great War, World War Two and The Farm Security Administration photographers.

I have selected three photographers to give an overview of how Jeffrey analyses photographs.

Children fetching milk (Robert Doisneau, 1932)

chn milk

 (Pinterest, 2017).

Again he gives the pertinent points of the artist’s biography; his perceptive portraits of Parisians, his background in lithography and his work photographing for advertising Renaults. This picture shows his awareness of acute observation (Their clothes, their class, the shop name) and clever composition as well as his sensitivity to the human condition that the artist would have accumulated in his work.

This analysis is less insightful for me than some of the others in the book, though there are many like this in the book that are simple biography combined with observation.

Shoe making irons (Albert Renger-Patzsch, 1936)

shoe making

(PhotoPedagogy, 2017)

For this photograph he gives the biography of the artist, in particular his preference for purist photography and his objective manner often obscuring the contexts of his subjects. He also gives the context to the photograph, the Fagus shoe making factory not far from where he was freelancing. Jeffery assumes that he was asked to do some publicity photographs for the factory  of equipment, but the image eventually ended up in Die Welt ist schon (The world is beautiful); possibly as a symbol of contemporary regimentation. Apparently in the 1920s Renger-Patzsch was interested in forces like the German expressionist (1910-14), though he associated it with stillness, heightened alertness, the moment before the strike.

Jeffrey’s analysis does provide me with a context for the image and a possible motive as well as the possible philosophy behind it.

Tomatsu Shomei (Memory of defeat 2 Ruins of Toyokawa naval dockyard, Aichi prefecture, 1959)

toatsu

(SFMOMA, 2017)

Jeffrey describes Tomatsu as a symbolist and a materialist as well as a history artist. He worked for a periodical where each issue was devoted to a single subject and everything was expressed through images replacing language; this was in contrast apparently to Europeans hat thought that images should be supported by texts. Jefferey’s interpretation of the picture knowing this, is that this wall of corrugated iron peppered with shrapnel with the light behind it appears like the night sky lit by gunfire. He suggests that “Those defunct meters in the foreground stand in contrast to the liveliness of the cosmos beyond” (Jeffrey, 2009).

This analysis is more insightful giving us his thoughts about the purpose and possible thinking behind the image that matches with the background and philosophy of the artist as well as the context.

Conclusion

The book is perhaps more an exploration and history of the 69 photographers than explicit ideas about how to read a photograph, however the book has introduced me to new photographers. Certainly I gained more generally from his analyses of photographers that were new to me, like the last two of my three selected than those that were not. Is this just because they closed gaps in my knowledge rather than that they were better analyses?

My learning points:

When reading photographs

  • My aim should be to move on from a description of the contents of a photograph to an account that makes sense of it
  • I should find the psychological relations implied
  • Look for the photographer’s motive
  • Know the photographers philosophy
  • I will have to make some assumptions

 References

Jeffrey, I. (2009). How to read a photograph. New York: Abrams.

Kozloff, M (2009) in Jeffrey, I. (2009). How to read a photograph. New York: Abrams.

Pinterest. (2017) French touch. [online] Available at: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/288723026082257843/ [Accessed 27 Jun. 2017]Plus.google.com, 2017)

PhotoPedagogy. (2017). The World is Beautiful. [online] Available at: http://www.photopedagogy.com/the-world-is-beautiful.html [Accessed 27 Jun. 2017].

SFMOMA. (2017). Shomei Tomatsu. [online] Available at: https://www.sfmoma.org/artist/Shomei_Tomatsu [Accessed 27 Jun. 2017].

Please note: Any images by other photographers used on this site are accredited and are being used for personal research and educational purposes only.