I have just come across this photographer on YouTube Alexey Titarenko.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3IgZUJTlOo All I can say is WOW! Long exposure with a tripod and my guess using an ND filter. The black and white film has turned the Russian commuters into smoke as Titarenko puts it like something out of Greek mythology.
I mention it in my blog as Adams’ work, Serra Nevada the John Muir Trail was pivotal in persuading Congress and President Roosevelt to in act a law to protect the wilderness of the Serra Nevada which became known as Kings Canyon National Park. It struck me that documentary photography can take on many unexpected forms and can sometimes make a difference.
This image by Duane Michals cleverly uses hand written text to suggest a personal relationship between the author of the caption and man in the image. The black and white print eliminates any distracting colours to concentrate the emotional feeling of love. However, is the picture a genuine snap shot of the artist and his ex? or is it a composed image? Who took the photograph? Why was he of she in the bedroom with them?
I would suggest that this is a posed photograph and the hand written text intentionally alters the context to suggest a personal memory a reflection on a past relationship; but fiction all the same. Below is another image which we can see is posed and the hand written message adds humour to the context.
An interesting project by Karen Knorr with privileged access to London’s Gentlemen clubs of St. James’ in London. Knorr photographs in black and white appear to be taken of a medium format camera and are very sharp and well composed. She has cleverly added texts constructed out of Parliamentary speeches and news she has added new contexts and meanings to these images to put across her ideas of British politics and democracy and the status of women in an entertaining way.
To me, this is a little like the idea of Sophie Calle’s, ‘Take Care of Yourself’. Knorr has taken other peoples text and linked it with carefully composed pictures with a feminist point of view. However, the similarities stop there as Knorr is clearly an outsider and has little in common with her subject; so she has had to use speeches that members of clubs like this have said in Parliament or have been quoted on the news to create a narrative that puts across her documentary message in an entertaining way. Calle on the other hand was an insider as she shared a common experience with fellow women.
The project, The Day-to-Day Life of Alfred Hastings by Kaylynn Deveney is a good example of Postmodernist art. Deveney has taken the idea of making the ordinary, banal moments in her neighbour’s life as the subject of her project. Deveney is looking at her neighbours habits and routines in a fresh respective and by asking Mr Hastings to add his own captions to her photographs of him and his home new meanings are added to the pictures that give it a more intimate / personal, insider, style than if she had simply added her own. This I think was a cleaver way to add more layers to this work. This project is similar to ‘Objects in the Field’ in so much as the author (Deveney) writes about her experience working with Hastings and her personal observations. However, in this instance I believe the artist was more successful in building a good relationship with her subject and was able to share a mutual vision. The reason for this I believe was that they had more in common with each other and the photographer did not have to make as much of an effort to find common ground. Mr Hastings wrote poetry and his love of flora and fauna suggests a man more open to artistic and visual ideas and arts that proved both useful and helpful as Mr. Hastings helped Deveney develop her ideas with his helpful comments and clearly a good partnership developed that appears to have been missing from Rickett’s relationship.
One in 8 Million is an interesting online photo project in which a diverse range of people living in New York city talk about themselves with a slide show of still and black and white photographs that play-out in time with the audio narration. The pictures have been photographed to compliment the transcript and are a good example of how the theory of relay and on occasion anchoring is used with the audio. A very interesting social documentary on the diversity of New Yorkers. The interviews reflect what the individuals personality and identity from a woman into sexual bondage to a reformed drugs dealer, An immigrant from Nepal who is a baggage handler at JFK to a Blue Chip Broker and everyone in between a total of 54 different subjects all with there own story and collection of photos, that runs for two and a half minutes each. Very interesting and entertaining. Martin Parr, comments that in order to make interesting social documentaries he makes the entertaining to disguise the intended social message.
Rickett, interviewed D. Willstrop and with his permission printed some black and white negatives of photographs made by his three mirrored telescope that he built at the University. Rickett, using digital technology for wider tonal print and aesthetic qualities she exhibited these photos with some of her own with examples of scientific instruments and linking a video and text. Rickett’s text consists of a narrative of her experiences working with Dr. Willstrop and juxtaposing this with childhood anecdotal experiences that complemented her story.
This postmodernist documentary approach is based upon a professional relationship that Rickett developed with Dr. Willstrop in order to understand his work and create and artistic project from it. Using the insider technique of meeting and getting to know Dr. Willstrop, Rickett hoped to find ways of aligning her artistic practices with Dr. Willsrops scientific practices, hoping that she could find away through their commonly shared interests. She however feels that she failed to achieve this and although she was able to put together a good exhibition she still doesn’t know if Dr. Willstrop liked it or not. The exhibition appears to have been fairly successful and interesting; but reading between the lines, I wonder if the three mirrored telescope project was a painful memories for Dr. Willstrop that Rickett was racking up.
Sophie Calle is a French photographer living and working in Paris. Her project ‘Take Care of Yourself’ was inspired by a text message from her boyfriend who was dumping her by text. The idea for the title was from how he signed off his text, “Prenez soins de vois” (Take care of yourself). Calle writes that the idea came to her just a couple of days later after she had shown the message to friends and asked for there comments, she maintains that her agenda was never for revenge but was simply an inspired idea for an artistic project. She makes no mention of the ex-lovers name and although she knows he was unhappy with the project, he decided (perhaps sensibly) not to interfere.
Once she decided to use her text as the subject for her project she spent two years showing around her text to a 107 professional women, photographed them reading it and invited them to analyse it according to their job: The text’s grammar and syntax was torn apart by a copy editor, his manners rubbished by an etiquette consultant, his lines pored over by a Talmudic scholar, his text re-ordered by a crossword setter, evaluated by a Judge, shot up by a markswomen, second guessed by a chess player, performed by actress, Jeanne Moreau, a psychiatrist called the author of the text “A twisted manipulator” Taken from an interview with The Guardian, ‘He loves me not’ and a Guardian article about her exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery also see Review to the Whitechapel Art Gallery exhibition.
I found this to be a very funny, cleaver and entertaining idea of addressing a very personal and upsetting experience. On one level in is a way she is getting even, on another level she is rising above it and by turning it on it’s head she is making art out of it. On yet another level she is empowering other people who perhaps have experienced something very similar in their own lives. I like the way she has creatively produced different images of the text, a ballet dancer reading it as she conducts stretching exercises on the bar, a lady reading the text with the text overlaid on the whole image, another turned in to a greeting card for example.
This project is a very interesting example of postmodern work it makes us consider our modern life styles and methods of communication and how this impacts on us as individuals and as human beings. This insider position is also a reflection of modern women and their growing empowerment.
I have cut out three pictures from a daily news paper and added my own captions to the photos to alter their contextual meaning.
There are two types of messages that can be linked to a photograph, one is called an anchor and the other is called a relay.
Anchor is a message that controls the meaning of the picture.
Relay is a message that can complement an image. If you select songs to listen to on You-Tube they are sometimes accompanied by photographs that link certain passages of the song to the image and the relay method appears to work well here.
Anchors – The Clooney’s meet Angela Merkel
The Clooney’s negotiate for celebrity asylum in Germany.
George Clooney offers Angela Merkel a part in his next movie.
Angela Merkel asks the stars of Hollywood if they have a spare room for an asylum seeker or two…
Angela Merkel is coached by George Clooney before her speech to the European Parliament.
George Clooney complaints to the management that it just isn’t Nescafé!
Friends of the Clooney’s are airing concerns for George and Amal’s marriage, stating that Amal often privately complains that she feels ignored and marginalised in public by George.
With the support of his wife George Clooney publicly denies sending a lewd and explicit Valentines card to Angela Merkel.
I have thought of seven new messages that anchor this in a new context and I am sure many more could be invented.
Relay – The Clooney’s meet Angela Merkel
Hey you with the sad face, why don’t you come back to our place and live it up.
“I’m sorry, I thought I saw a bureaucrat!”
“Ein Nescafé bitte”
A carrier in marriage counselling, it’s more than just a job.
“The Lynx affect – LYNX deodorant.
“Dr. Amal and I have been examining your test results and……..”
“He looks much older than he does in the movies.”
Again I was able to come up with seven relay messages for this photo.
George Osborn poses in front of No 11 before he takes his Budget speech to Parliament.
George Osborne in a public show of expense cutting reveals he takes to work a packed lunches.
George Osborn warns the British economy is still in the red.
George Osborn returns from the European conference with a written guarantee from the German Chancellor.
George Osborn, is seen sporting the new Armani man-bag.
Prime-minister demotes George Osborn to head of No 10’s post room.
Osborn returns the queens favourite handbag, “I was able to rescue it before security blew it up.” He later reported.
I was able to produce six alternative anchors for this photo.
“I’m putting your taxes up for a start!”
“Allah is Great!”
Is he holding the future to your pension?
Good budgeting tips.
I was able to produce six relays for this picture.
English Rugby team
British Rugby team learn of the death of a rising star player.
The ball just misses the posts and England looses the match.
English Rugby players are asked to sing the national anthem from memory.
Mako Vunipola is ordered off the pitch for an illegal tackle.
The moment the terrorist blew himself up.
Hackers share shocking selfies of Mako Vunipola on stadium’s big screens.
I managed to produce six anchors for this image.
Tense nervous headache?
“I can’t look!”
Have you bought your lottery ticket?
“Hold my hand lest I fall…” (Jim Reeves, Take My Hand Precious Lord)
On this occasion I could only think of four relays for this picture.
I can see from these new anchor messages that an image can be turned from serious to comical or used for advertising / Political or socially concerning messages. Similarly a relay message can do similar things including linking to literature such as poetry or lyrics to a song.