Speaking Photographically

Consider development, contextualisation and evaluation Critical Contextualisation Of Practice
identify the diversity of contemporary photography ; inform & contextualise own practice

Professional location of practise
opportunities to engage with (new) markets where your work may be positioned

Critical Analysis
to appraise & evaluate own work and work of others with informed critical opinions

Written & Oral communication skills
ability to communicate effectively to specialist & non-specialist audiences

Sekula “The photograph…presents merely the possibility of meaning” it is only within context that we are able to potentially de-code its message & this can be hijacked if required to give a meaning not necessarily in line with what the photographer had initially in mind

How are you trying to ‘say it’? – how are you trying to visually conceptualise it?
How do you want your reader to respond? What do you want them to think (or do I need to be totally prescriptive?

Jonathan miles “medium has always been as good at hiding as at revealing” “they ask just as many questions as they answer” “cameras may not lie, but they can withhold information”
Thomas Ruff “Photography can only reveal the surface of things”

Daniel Gustav Cramer – three conjoined projects make up the trilogy developed over a 10 year period. Showing pristine natural vistas ‘uncontaminated ‘ by the touch of man. Cites Georgia Morandi (1935 Landscape) as influential. Places taken out of time and location & indeed a little difficult to be sure if there are of this world or other worldly (real or hyper-real?)

‘dark & timeless’ threatening spaces without any comforting trace of humanity. Whole frame is filled – no negative space making the forest bleed in from either side to smother us. Little depth – no foreground or horizon (or means of escape ). As much about what is not seen, but could be hiding in the shadows. Which images are more successful? Some have more potential narrative than others and therefore go against the grain of the intent as showing a flattened non-distance which can only be successfully achieved via photography. Chances are I would have selected this with the narrative, but that would have created a different and probably not as meaningful body of images. So I need to be wary of my intent and the images that best suit it (needs to be critically contextualised and also justified theoretically & aesthetically. Print as contact sheet will help in selection process rather than flicking through as you can see which work and move them around to see how they may flow. As well as colour management and aesthetic as a coherent body of work

‘menacing in their cold isolation’ – still no precedes of human or animal life. Sontag claims we prefer the photographed to the real object itself. A painting is only ever an interpretation. But as Barthes says “In photography I can never deny the thing has been there” – what happens when we are not clear as to what the original referent is/was. Joan Fontcuberta (Fauna) builds an evidence portfolio to back up his manipulated mythological photographs (maps, sketches, diagrams etc) body of work built up to enable us to question the photographic truth – always interested in ambiguity. A title can be just as important in decoding an image (what Barthes calls anchorage)
How do we sequence edit & select within our own practice & how does the work develop over time?

In our digital age can we trust that there was a thing (mountain) there to be photographed or is it merely a model or digital creation? Barthes states ‘a photograph arrests the flow of time in which the event photographed once existed’ – what happens though if we are unsure of the veracity of the object/event? Where does that leave us?
Trilogy – “this is what we are, they say, but what are we?” Darwent on Cramer. Walks the tight-rope between providing and hiding information. “The photograph is usually understood as either an objets trouvés…or else the product of a camera” (Belting) Thomas Demand’s constructed ‘rooms’

Consider how any happy accidents have driven the work forward & how unsuccessful attempts have also informed the work

Presentation 2 – Pictures Like Poems (Jeff Wall)

“camera creates just a beautiful illusion – one that is similar to how we see with our eyes that it seems we are looking through the surface at things” “take away the verbal description , you get into the pure picture then you have to relate to it like a poem” important to be observant – don’t necessarily jump in; step back and watch. To have an appreciation with things (and the way they look). Observe and take advantage of those occurrences that appear and their potential.
Near-Documentary style – look like snapshots, resemble many qualities of snapshots. In order to be more structured with composition and to allow other things to infiltrate the image to potentially make it stronger. The picture evolves over time to become something different to where it started. Making and creating rather than spontaneous. The arrangement of shapes that form a composition (non-occurrence images). Photographic ‘seeing’ – a way to pre visualise how something will look as a picture. Painterly quality to the construction of images – putting things in, taking things out – making decisions till you come up with something that is artistically satisfying; yet it still resembles a candid photo. Make a reproduction in order to have time to create the image that you require (cinematography) – artifice made necessary by circumstance (rose seller in nightclub – he is lost as an inconsequential figure, yet he is the protagonist of the tale). The way photography works makes any discussion of it’s truth highly complex. Everyday life gives rise to these accidents which relate their experience into potential images (these can include other artworks or books, which is why some of his work is intertextual or influenced by paintings/prints). If that artist has caught something and it feels right & it feels true to your own experience/judgement (then you’ll like and enjoy the work) – then it has to have some authenticity / some truth value.

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