Week 3: Reflection

The presentations made me realise that there is a stigma towards certain genres of photography. The photographer is seen as eager, emotionless and solely set on getting the ultimate shot, regardless of what this means for others (particularly subject matter).

As highlighted in the first presentation, there were a selection of films highlighting the voyeuristic nature of the photographer and there is a lack of empathy presented in war films where photographers are featured. They are always intent on capturing the raw reality of war, which can be confusing to people without experience in journalism/photojournalism.

The films that made think were “The Road to Peredition”, “Peeping Tom” and “Blowup”, as they made me question the nature of popular genres of photography, like fashion and photojournalism. This also made me question how I could be viewed as a photographer. Do the people who have declined shoots with me have a preconceived idea of what my goal could be? Are they afraid of certain notions of my personality? Though I do not follow the paths of the photographers featured in the films, I wonder if it is uncommon or if there really are a lot of sexually frustrated photographers or simply photographers with a lack of empathy. As I have said many times in the past, I could never seek the things that many photographers in other fields photograph, such as war or crime scenes. Where does that element of hardness come from?

I know that photojournalists are seen as notorious, particularly when considering certain outlets like The Sun newspaper or various other tabloids. This builds up a stigma towards the authenticity of the news, the imagery and the notoriety of the people who would broadcast this kind of information in the first place. There are very mixed reviews on photography and photographers as a whole, but it tends to vary across each field.

I believe that I am influenced by these kind of stigmas, in the respect that I research and consider the ethics behind my work, particularly when working with people. I don’t want to be seen as someone with a hard exterior, simply looking for the best shot. I want to be seen as someone telling a story but with a compassionate mind and informed decisions, so seeing photographers in the light where they are the villain or manipulating their subjects, really does disgust me (despite this being fictional).

I tend to stay away from emotional or raw subjects, such as death, gore, violence or particularly sensitive subjects such as illness, as I like life to be portrayed in my imagery and though these subjects have interested me when featured in the work of others, I don’t want to be that kind of photographer. I feel like my heart is a bit too fragile for certain aspects of this career.

In regards to responding to changes in technology within my own practice, it is not something that I have particularly delved into. If anything, the advancement of technology has encouraged me to fall back into old practices, such as analogue photography and the use of film. Despite this, I can’t dispute that certain advancements in technology are useful and can be effective in portraying certain points, however, I don’t believe that the technology should necessarily dominate the practice.

For example, in Damon Winters’ work, he used a smartphone and filters to enhance the imagery. Though this is somewhat taboo to many people, I don’t find this ineffective and find the images to be beautiful, whilst they also convey the initial point behind them very well. It’s sad to me that so many people lost the meaning of his work and simply made it about filters, which somehow made this more into an artistic piece, according to many.

The filters enhance the image in a way that PhotoShop would, however Winters didn’t necessarily have the utilities to use this kind of software, whilst he also found the phone to be an unobtrusive way of photographing day to day activities. A camera adds an element of pressure, whilst the phone is casual and a subtle way to capture special moments.

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