So where am I?
Great question. End of week two had had a huge impact on me. I am in one way even more up for the challenge, and in the other, whenever I have a webinar I get really confused where I am going, so sort of a rollercoaster ride going on.
So I began this module with a very clear path I was going to follow, and the first time I discuss it with Paul and peers, I feel I am still not stretching myself. Thing is, I don't see using natural light as stretching myself. I find it hard to be creative when not using costume. It become even more a re photography or a close copy as I don't use photoshop to manipulate. That said I have a bunch of models next week so will test the water with getting them to do outside stuff too. I hope the weather is kind. The images above are from my firs session this module, just a few to demonstrate the idea. I was thinking of tryptic images too so will see how that works. The idea of this module was to take child rulers or influencers and bring them into our time zone, so for example, Cleopatra was a very bright person and wrote medical journals, so a prop I used medical books. I also ask my models what, if Cleopatra was alive, do you think she would be doing? She replied, I think she would be taking selfies all day. So I added an image of her taking a selfie. None are edited yet.
Discussion in the webinar gave ideas like use of modern clothing, but then I couldn't think of how the consumer would know it was Cleopatra they were looking at so further discussion with Paul to be had. Another was to stay out of the studio. I am comfortable in the studio, but for a lot of reasons, one of them being I live very rural in Lincolnshire and it is boring round here. Further discussion saw a suggestion about having a recording of the child knowing who they were playing, I love this idea, but am unsure if it would be acceptable to go along side images in a WIP, another point to raise. I guess by doing that, or adding text it makes it easier for the consumer to know where I am placing them. My last body of work, I thought spoke for itself but it seems unless people have read my CRJ they don't so it is something else to consider. That said, I love costume. In a way I feel like it allows me to escape to another place as my personal like is constantly traumatic with foster children.
In Barthes Camera Lucida he says the camera never lies. Only in the sense it takes that snapshot moment the shutter goes, so the moment is real, but what is in front of the camera to begin with is very much put together from ideas in my head, not real, totally imagined. So how do you convince people that the image is real?
Photography does, in some profound way, confuse the Real and the Live. “by attesting that the object has been real, the photograph surreptitiously induces the belief that it is alive, because of that delusion which makes us attribute to Reality an absolutely superior, somehow eternal value; but by shifting this reality to the past… the photograph suggests that it is already dead” (79). So he seems to think photography blurs the lines between life and death in very interesting ways, playing with our understanding of reality, but a past reality.
So, the essence of photography as he understands it “is that someone has seen the referent (even if it is a matter of objects) in flesh and blood or again in person” (79). He uses the example of a photograph of a slave. It is historical testimony “by a new, somehow experiential order of proof, although it is the past which is in question,” that slavery existed (80).
Photographs seem very experiential for Barthes. I think he fully accepts that they represent the past, but he also stresses that we experience them and respond to them in the present, that will include how we are feeling at that time. If we are perhaps sad we will see things negatively. He also owns that we bring our own subjective understanding to photographs and that helps comprise the experience, further bringing the photograph phenomenon into the present.
He doesn’t like colour photographs. At this point in time, the colour is added in after. It dilutes the “original truth of the black and white photograph.” He views it as “an artifice, a cosmetic (like the kind used to paint corpses)” (81). He wants the actual photograph to touch him without any interference on the way. So maybe I need to do some black and white images as mentioned in the webinar. But would that not be taking away from a huge part of historical nostalgia, the colours and costume as well as post production that is more available and far superior now than it was when Camera Lucida was written? For example he says “The photographic image is full, crammed: no room, nothing can be added to it” (89)
I'm pretty bemused about his constant referral to death. I, at this stage disagree, I see the photograph as a perseverance of life, of a moment captured for much longer than it would have done without an image. That opinion may change though depending what I read next. I am finding myself very easily influenced and am wondering if it is because of my lack in confidence to say you know what? This is me!
BARTHES, Roland. (2000). Camera Lucida: reflections on photography. London, Vintage