Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Photography & The environment.

Photography is a very powerful, universal medium. The visual power of a photograph has the ability to change people's opinions, and impact people in a way that no other form of media can, after all, seeing is believing.
This visual power can be applied to important topics, problems or issues to raise awareness and prompt action in turn from the audience.
Environmental issues can benefit from photographs as a form of raising awareness and activism, as Sylvia has mentioned, the Franklin river was saved because of the beautiful photographs taken by Dombrovski and Truchana.
I researched Yann Arthus-Bertrand who is a brilliant photographer and also an eco-activist, which is reflected in his style of shooting. His images are captivating and powerful, and are not only indicative of the natural environment, but eco-systems and animals as well.
One moving picture I came across of his is shown below:

I think the visual world, not only photography, has extreme potential to move people and create active protest and activism within the viewer so as to make them fight for a particular cause or belief. Aesthetics can be so powerful as a form of evidence that cannot be denied.

The article provided, written by Tom Bonyhady, raises convincing topics about photographs and the environment. He argues that photographs are extremely important because alot of the time the general public has not experienced first hand the places or species that need help. Which is a valid argument, not everyone has come face to face with lions or african elephants or endagered species. Photographs show us what's at stake, what we have to lose.

With regards to the aesthetic appeal of a location having direct links to the affect a photograph can have on environmental activism, I think the uglier it is, the more help it needs. Being able to show the audience how bad shape the enviroment is in can act as a powerful source of information in itself.

Assignment 4

Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

These two fashion photographers, as Cotton states, have a constructed approach to their fashion photographs by first carefully creating a narrative or story and then basing their composition/casting/photograph on the preambled creation.
The chapter also mentions that the fashion world has (at least) some influence over this approach to photography, saying that the genre requires a high turnover of ideas and experimentation in a fast-paced environment to ensure new ideas are always churned out, and that the photographers take a different approach to the photographic process when creating artistic photographs where they are not ruled by constraints. These two photographers also use digital practices to further their fashion photographs in post production etc.
Some example of the pair's contemporary fashion work (carefully constructed) is shown below.

Similar to the careful, pre-constructed approach to the photo taking process, but on a much more extreme scale, Gregory Crewdson takes construction to an extreme.
Crewdson's approach to narrative within photography is highly composed and maticulously thought through. Preperation for one shoot takes 2-3 days to perhaps produce only one photograph and has been described as an "organism that takes on it's own life". Like the pair of fashion photographers above, he uses digital software to further his creations, but contrary to their approach he uses digital practices to create collages in photoshop.
Crewdson uses choreographed lighting to establish a constructed world and to help tell a story using light and colour. His photographs can only be described as massive productions with an almost cinematic effect.
Some examples of his work are below:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Assignment #3 - The issue of girl models - Bill Henson & Vogue

There is undoubtably a growing notion that the artistic worlds are using younger models in their practices and that there is extreme analysis and scrutiny of the aforementioned being practiced as a concerted action. I personally believe that the media and so on are fuelling the fire by placing such scrutiny on these artistic practices, which in turn is going to push the artists to push the boundaries to get a response. Once artists know they can get get a response out of controversy of course they are going to explore it, it gets their work out in the open and talked about. I'm sure there are many people in the world that know the name Bill Henson purely because of the controversy caused by the photographs he has produced.
Of course, like anything in photography, context is the key issue. The intention behind using the models, the context the photos will be viewed and the meaning of the photograph are important to consider before rendering the photos as carnal, malicious or abusive.
Has the photographer chosen these young girls specifically to pose and sexualize for an indecent audience, or have they chosen to use the model for their form and aesthetics to create a meaningful photo? Has the child AND their parents given consent?
Having come from a dance background since I was around 2.5 years old, I've grown up with issues of sexualization and exhibition of the human body through aesthetics, costuming and movements. There are always going to be perverse people in the world, they can walk through the streets and eyeball eight year old kids, watch movies, tv shows, use their imagination. Some people are sexually attracted to animals, does that mean we should stop using images to advertise Zoo's or pet shops? I think it's very important to remember there are at least two sides to every story and everything can be done tastefully, meaningfully and memorably.

I don't really know where I stand on this issue.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Assignment 2

After reading the text excerpt "Ethics and Photojournalism" from the chapter called "Contemporary Issues", the issue of Communication vs Exploitation became very vivid to me.
The author raises issues in the text, stating that when he was looking at his photos he "was not absolutely certain the work truly communicated, rather than exploited". I think this is a very valid point given the topics that photojournalism generally explores in this day and age. As a majority, photojournalists these day explore negative topics that can easily fall into the trap of being exploitative, or appearing exploitative. The context of the photo is important when deliberating the message being conveyed by the photograph too. For example: when taking photos of people in need, is the camera just shot at the subject and then the subject forgotten about, or does the photo result in direct action that wouldn't of been explored unless the photo was taken and displayed.
Photojournalists need to understand that they hold the key to a very powerful medium and that the line between communication and exploitation within photography is very thin.

Prize winning image by Kevin Carter; who was ambushed by questions of why he never helped the girl he was photographing, arguably being exploitative. However I think with this 'exploitation' comes a massive share of communication as well. This image is now viral among the internet and the public alike, and hence has communicated a strong message just by being viewed. A very powerful image.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One Single Contemporary Photograph.

Image by Ryan Mcginley.

I first saw this photograph when I dropped a magazine which opened at the exact page the image was featured (IT WAS A SIGN!)). I love that it lacks in distractions (Lack of colour/patterned backgrounds etc) yet can remain so detailed in the subject matter. The contrast of textures within the subjects appeals to me too. I find something different to look at every time I view the photo even though it's so straight forward.