Informing Contexts PHO702 Week 3 Forum: Subjective Traces, Spaces, Faces, Places
This weeks discussion and topic are extremely interesting to me; do constructed documentary images lie? how large of a role does interpretation and context play with regards to this? The examples used and discussed by others are Robert Doisneau’s famous image of a kissing couple was reconstructed but does this really matter? The original narrative was witnessed by Doisneau and the fact that the image that he is credited may not be of the original moment shouldn’t really matter.
Other instances exist that can be used to counter this stance for example Time magazine’s infamous OJ Simpson magazine cover, the original image, a police mug shot after Simpsons arrest was darkened as if to indicate he’s guilt. In this instance despite being found innocent he may well have been guilty but does this manipulation of the original indicate this? Although the image was altered the contents of the image remains the same the image was initially taken as a way of documenting a person and an event.
The simple manipulation of this image, makes the subject appear more insidious and sinister, it entirely changes the context of the accompanying image this is an example of a documentary photograph being manipulated to communicate a narrative outside of it’s original intention.
Another example of a documentary image regularly considered to be authentic (?) that has also been questioned is Joe Rosenthal’s raising the flag on Iwo Jima. The image is iconic and has been recreated numerous times, the original image hashed it’s authenticity questioned Joe Rosenthal missed the moment and so a second flag raising occurred to ensure that the image was captured.
In this situation, under these circumstances despite the image representing something that had already happened the symbolism associated with the event of raising the flag matters more than the contents of the image.
To an extent every image that we look at is not entirely founded in reality, whether this is due to limitations of the medium (Lack of depth, colour, exposure etc), composition, framing and cropping all of which enables to only see a snapshot of the true scene and never the entirety of what was happening.
My understanding of the world around me is intrinsically linked to my senses being able to hear feel smell as well as see a subject allows me to identify it as being authentic. The images that I am using for my current project involve an constructed image (I have controlled the composition, directed the sitter and used a strobe to add contrast and vibrancy) and will be accompanied with a supporting text based upon my interview with the subject. I also intend to on exhibiting the images include a short audio clip from the discussion highlighting key points from the discussion.
For each of my subjects although I have attempted to capture my subjects in a as candid a way as possible each of the images is still constructed and somewhat false. Despite me using my trigger capture each exposure the fact remains that in each sitting the subject has been informed of my intentions and has prepared in their own way for a photoshoot.
Despite trying to get each of my subjects to act as they would naturally the introduction of me and my camera to their natural environment makes it somewhat unnatural. Many of the subjects complained after the fact about the clutter found in their homes, and also dismissed my assertions that this was what I wanted to capture in my images as well as the conversation held between us.