Informing contexts - Happy to not tell the truth.

April 18, 2019

I have been thinking about how much my images are not a representation of the truth and are there any? Because when we view a photo we think we know the truth but in reality we are alienated from the truth anyway as you don’t know what the photographers intentions were. People only show what they want to show, like my own culling system people only see what I want them to see. And I am very happy in my own skin about that. There are more than enough photographers that as a living or to document where the saddest and most horrible hold photography has on society Sontag explained is when people have a choice to save a life or to take a photo, they choose the photo (Sontag 11). Justified by the fact they say this is due to the importance of recording events in modern society, but I also believe that this means something more: that when people choose the photo, they choose more, pathetically, “exciting” news. Sontag also warns, the act of taking a picture is “predatory”, because once a photo is taken it can be used against anyone in a repulsive way, whether the victim is aware of it or not (Sontag 14). And that is the disturbing part, a picture of anyone can be photo shopped in with a terrible picture, tacked on a wall for some creep to throw darts at, or any other horrible, embarrassing usage of it, as part of this module I made a point of asking my models if they were happy with me editing images to portray what I wanted and not what they thought. All models were happy with that and did self tapes for me as a part of me collaborating with them to make sure they really were involved in the character they were portraying. Click on the image below.

 

Fig 1 Gail Timms Bessy Watson

 

I have given much thought about including sound in my FMP and if the environment and subject is right I think it will work.

 

Sontag states, “The knowledge gained through still photographs will always be some sort of sentimentalism, whether cynical or humanist. It will always be a knowledge at bargain prices- a semblance of knowledge, a semblance of wisdom: as the act of taking pictures is a semblance of appropriation, a semblance of rape.” (Sontag 24). Overall, photos may exist only as a world of images, nothing more: shadows of reality and the truth, but more critical judgment may show otherwise. Seeing this doubt in light of what Sontag claims shows that photography’s hold on society may be great, unfortunately in a melancholic way. Yes, be wary of the falseness of photos, but also think of one’s own judgment. Perhaps a “semblance” is all one needs in order to make sense of this hectic earth. Photos are a cheat for the photographer to lead you to his or her opinion, I am learning very quickly to keep my eyes open even if I am very cynical about it. A lot of it will come down to the credibility of the photographer and the openness to share out of camera shots.

 

Another way of telling Berger writes "All photographs are possible contributions to history," "and any photograph, under certain circumstances, can be used in order to break the monopoly which history today has over time" (109). Feelings of opposition to history, however, are constant, even if unarticulated. They often find their expression in what is called private life.

A home has become not only a physical shelter but also a teleological shelter, however frail, against the remorselessness of history; a remorselessness which should be distinguished from the brutality, injustice aµd misery the same history often contains . ... And so, hundreds of millions of photographs, fragile images, often carried next to the heart or placed by the side of the bed, are used to refer to that which historical time has no right to destroy. ( 105- 108) 

 

In his short verbal section of Another Way of Telling (Berger 42) Jean Mohr conducts an interesting experiment. He shows five photographs to a market-gardener, a clergyman, a schoolgirl, a banker, an actress, a dance-teacher, a psychiatrist, a hairdresser, and a factory worker, and records the story that each constructs to describe what is seen and it confirms my thoughts that every single person will see something different, depending what is going on in their own lives and experiences.

 

Later Mohr explains "what was happening" in the photo. In each case, the engagement by the viewer is revelatory of his or her interests and world view, seldom revelatory of the "real" story behind a particular photograph. For Berger, the "silence" surrounding Mohr's photos is an important prelude to a hermeneutic moment, that is as much about the art of photography as it is about the particular subject matter that Mohr captures: "Are the appearances which a camera transports a construction," Berger asks, "a man-made cultural artefact, or are they, like a footprint in the sand, a trace naturally left by something that has passed?" Edward Said, John Berger, Jean Mohr The answer is, both. The photographer chooses the event he photographs. This choice can be thought of as a cultural construction. The space for this construction is, as it were, cleared by his rejection of what he did not choose to photograph. (Berger 92-93)

 

And so while there is debate about honesty in photography, I have accepted the fact that is my ball park per- say, I am happy to create an image I see in my head. To challenge the viewer to keep looking and see what is there in an anachronistic way.

 

BERGER, J., MOHR, J., & PHILIBERT, N. Another way of telling: a possible theory of photography (2016)

 

SONTAG, SUSAN. “In Plato’s Cave.” On Photography. New York, Picador, 1977

 

 

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