250mc – Photography and Evidence – Conflicting Perspectives

Notes from today’s lecture given by Caroline Molloy. :

Photography and Evidence – Conflicting Perspectives

Barthes – Authentication chapter – Photography considered a truth more than writing. Can we question that truth?
Are you a reliable witness? YouTube – Guardian Advert -Points of view- considered most successful ad ever made. Do I see the whole picture in order to present a truth?

Cartier Bresson, “there is nothing in this work that ors not have a decisive moment” – his perspective is that photography should be documentary and shoot what you see.

Don McCullin – Biafra 1971 – most important documentary photographs ever made. documented the war and raised awareness. Added a truth to the situation.

Kevin Carter – Pulitzer Prize Winning picture – New York Times – 1994 – so controversial and photographer killed himself 3 months afterwards due to the guilt he had. Raised ethical question about observing. Should you intervene?

W Eugene Smith – Integrity of the photographer to tell the picture – Doesn’t mean that you cannot direct a picture so long as the essence of the image remains true. cited Diane Arbus as using the same technique   “Tomoko in the bath ” 1971 – highlights foetal mercury poisoning. Image became a symbol and the family asked that the image not be used because the personal aspect was taken away by the symbolism of the picture.

Susan Sontag When the photograph becomes a symbol do we lose the story of the individual. e.g.. Robert Capas civil war image.

Paul Hansen – World Press Photo award winner -2013 – palestinian children who has been killed by Israeli strikes, controversial because it looked too professional rather than documentary – lots of social media chatter about the authenticity of the image. Is it still a truth if there is post editing?

Russians erased historical figures from photographs depending upon the current truth of the

Richin argues are biggest threat as image makers are amateurs. example of the US soldiers abusing prisoners in Guantanamo.

Photograph of man in front of burning twin towers. raises questions about where , as a photographer , we position ourselves.  Tom Scooter. wanted to document it so that he could one day say he was there for future reference.

Photography and Death.- Indiana USA 1930 – Abe Smith and Tom Smith – Hometown Hosiptality.

How do we deal with death in photography – Audrey Leapman? – photographing death is last taboo as Sontag would argue.

Briony Campbell –  The Dad Project 2009 – taken when her father was dying of cancer. exploring the personal, how to make sense of death nowadays.

Andres Serrano – morgue pictures – fragile relationship between controversial subject matter and beautiful image.

Paul Smith- is there a way to represent death with the person in it. Bullets from crime scenes.

Task – research groups – Add paragraph on the following movements
Mass Observation Photography
New Topographic’s
Farm Security Administration Photography
Objective Style photography from the Dusseldorf Kunstakademie


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