‘Throughout the modern era, photography has been enlisted to classify the world and its people. Driven by a belief in the scientific objectivity of photographic evidence, the logics utilized to classify photographs-in groups and categories or sequences of identically organized images-also shape our visual consciousness’ (Baker, 2015)
This is an adaptable session which encourages participants to consider a potential neutrality and objectivity of photographic vision. Through the construction of a typology, it encourages participants to also think about the nature of comparative and investigative viewing (whether the subject matter is face, places or spaces).
‘I am an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. My way leads towards a fresh perception of the world. Thus, I explain in a new way the world unknown to you’ (Vertov in Berger, 1972, p.17)
For participants to explore the aesthetic implications of a ‘neutral’ view. Can photographs ever be objective?
For participants to visually consider how typologies work. Do they encourage investigative viewing? Can they transform the banal?
Participant Outcome: 4 (edited) 6×4 digital prints per approach (Faces / Spaces / Places)
‘For the first time an image of the world is formed automatically without the creative intervention of man. The personality of the photographer enters into proceedings only in his selection of the object to be photographed and by way of the purpose he has in mind’ (Bazin (1967) in Trachtenberg, 1980, p.241)
You will need:
Digital cameras for all participants (and appropriate memory cards) *This session can also be run using Camera phones or Lumix cameras
Access to computers (or laptops)
An introductory brief & presentation for participants to outline the ideas and provide examples
A booked room to critique participants work (either via a projector or via print)
Blue tack to pin the work
Costings and Risk Assessments
‘This is a requiem for a lost world and shows that, through the passing of time, even that which was once considered purely functional and even ugly, can attain beauty when seen through the eyes of the most attentive photographers’ (O’Hagan, 2014)
Presentation ideas: constructing typologies:
Ask participants to read Sean O’Hagan (2014) ‘Lost world: Bernd and Hilla Becher’s legendary industrial photographs’ in The Guardian 3rd September 2014 available here
Ask participants to watch Francis Hodgson (2011) Thomas Struth – An Objective Photographer? In The Financial Times available here
Ask participants if they have thier own digital cameras and cards
Make sure you have access to computers
Make sure there are enough team members to support participants (never assume thier prior knowledge)
Decide whether you will project the work or print it.
If you are printing it (6×4) make sure the Photo Lab are aware and be aware of timekeeping so they have space to print the work.
*If you are running this session off campus, make sure there is access to printers or projectors
‘To see something spectacular and recognise it as a photographic possibility is not making a very big leap. But to see something ordinary, something you’d see every day, and recognise it as a photographic possibility – that’s what I’m interested in’ (Shore in O’ Hagan, 2015)
This is an adaptable session in which participants will explore the idea that through photographic construction, ordinary objects can be made extraordinary by making a scene and photographing it. It encourages participants to ‘think’ about these ordinary objects and gives a freedom to explore potential new uses of these. Participants are encouraged to explore aesthetics, lighting, framing, vantage point and depth of field, and investigate the idea of the ordinary being seen in a ‘new way’.
‘An ordinary object can be elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist’ (Duchamp in Obalk, 2000)
Aims & Outcomes:
For participants to explore the nature of the constructed image
For participants to work in groups to investigate different ways of ‘seeing’ a single ordinary object
To produce 5 (edited) constructed images which demonstrate different ways of ‘seeing’ this object
*This session works best when participants are in groups. Studio and location lighting may be introduced.
Participant Outcome: 5 x 6×4 edited Final prints
Research: Ordinary Magazine
Ordinary magazine: Issue #6 Air: Air is the general name for the mixture of gases that makes up the Earth’s atmosphere. It is the clear gas in which living things live and breathe. It has an indefinite shape and volume. It has no colour or smell. Air is a mixture of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and very small amounts of other gases. There is an average of about 1% water vapour.