Some notes on the readings & presentations for week 3
99.9% of all photography is a collaboration in some form or other. The questions arises though as to how visible is that collaboration…i.e. who takes the kudos and why?
If all photography starts as a collaborative act, who or what are you collaborating with?
Are you giving your subjects or participants a voice or platform to share their perspective?
Are you asking for their complicity in your work & if so what do they get in return?
Alternatively is it necessary to care about the involvement of other? Is that just an unwelcome distraction?
How collaborative is my image making? The fact that I am responding to my minority group gives me a closer relationship to what is produced…or can I really take that as cart-blanche? Considering the ‘Through Navajo Eyes’ project…if the act of observation changes the thing being observed then you are on a false step from the very beginning? The aesthetic outcome being read through the eyes of the oppressor surely can never be a truthful viewpoint?
The argument that participatory projects such as Photovoice are not necessarily the best platform by which to empower & generate change. The very act of describing the participants as ‘other’ automatically creates an imbalance that potentially threatens the objectified stand.
- Thinking about your own research, which is of more interest to you: the subject or your view of the subject?
- How could you be influencing your subject, and is that something to be avoided?
- Conversely, how could your subjects be influencing you and your approach?
Grant Kester posits that an artwork is only completed by it’s interaction with the the viewer; therefore the reader “contributes creatively to the work”
Clare Bishop argues that participatory art is more about the artist than the participants while they are “not helping anyone, apart from reminding the participants that they need helping” When claiming to be creating work that helps we need to be careful it does not become simply an ego-trip.
Jim Goldberg speaking about his subjects annotating their own prints & the fear they had over potentially ruining the unique result…interesting to consider in regards to my Polaroid portraits.
Susan Meiselas “photography is as much about the practices of looking at photographs and archiving them, as it is, indeed, in taking them”
- Within your own projects how much agency do your subjects have in the creative decisions?