Assignment 1 brief proposes “looking at the thesis in classic and contemporary photographic texts which layout specific ways of considering and making sense of photography. Choose the argument in one of the texts read to frame the perspective of your practice, and link it to one the topic areas.”
Having read the texts that were set during this module I have started considering which of the texts would link most directly with the area that I have chosen to represent during this assignment. At first I felt that Fred Richin’s text would be an obviuos choice as he talks about the manipulation if images when used in the media. However , after re-reading the text I feel that it is too political and would be better suited to back up work if I had chosen to use the Freedom of the Press or Occupy Movement as my area of study. So, I have decided to re-evaluate the texts and feel that Barthes ‘Camera Lucida” fulfills my proposal to a greater extent.
As I am exploring the way in which media manipulation of images can lead to women having a distorted image of themselves and low self esteem, I feel that Barthes writings and Studium and Punctum really help to support this idea. We live in an age where it is almost expected that photographs in glossy magazines will have been manipulated. However, even though it is expected, these images portray an ideal of perfection that is so out of reach to the average woman it can lead to feelings of worthlessness and failure.
Although the images themselves can be nothing spectacular, pedestrian even. Barthe argues that he views such images in “a kind of general, enthusiastic commitment of course , but without special acuity. However what breaks this element of these pictures is the Punctum or ” element which rises from the scene, shoots out like an arrow, and pierces me.” When Barthes spoke of punctum , he talked of the impact that an image can have on the viewer. For images of models that have been manipulated to create an impossibly thin, clear skined woman, the punctum lies in the subjective response of the viewer. Women can look at such images and then question why they do not look like the model. It is this punctum that holds the gaze and ultimately can have such and impact on the viewer that she starts to lose self confidence. Such images have a lasting and detrimental effect.
With my images, I want to try to ensure emphisis is away from body perfection and instead to lay it bare. The human body is flawed and full of imperfections, yet this is normal. Images of photoshopped women are not, and I want the punctum of my images to show that it is ok to look a certain way. To disarm the viewer by the naturalness and lack of “perfection.”