“A picture is worth a thousand words”
My task for this assignment is to write a 1000 word essay on an image of my choosing.
I can choose anything I like a from famous art photograph to something from the family album but the image must have scope to make a rigorous and critical analysis.
If choosing a well-known photograph, take time to research it’s context – the intentions of the photographer, why it was taken, whether it’s part of a series, etc. Add all this information into the essay in order to be able to draw a conclusion from my own interpretation of the facts.
If I choose to use a found photograph, a picture from my own collection, or perhaps one from an old family album, use it as an opportunity to find out something new. Look directly at the photograph for information. It may be interesting to compare and contrast memory with the information being seen anew ‘reading’ the picture so intensely.
You must use the facts as a means to draw my own conclusion about what the picture means to me. I may wish to apply what I’ve learned in part 4 regarding translation, interpretation, connotation, signs, punctum, etc. Be sure to get the definitions correct!
Follow though association and other images that relate to the discussion. directly or indirectly. Look at the broader context of the image and it’s background and specific narrative as well as my own personnel interpretation of it and what thoughts it triggers for me. Follow these associations in a thoughtful and formal way. Enjoy the process!
The first task for this assignment was to decide upon the picture, I had just finished assignment 3 and I was holidaying in Spain where I could relax empty my head and ‘re-boot’. After the first week I was able to think again and ideas began to come to me, I had taken my laptop with me so that I could use it with my camera and I began to search for ideas. My first idea was of a photograph that I came across earlier this year taken in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by an American photographer in 1944. The image shows local Germans forced to tour the concentration camp and I was fascinated by the expressions each of these civilians made, some visibly shocked and ashamed others indignant and cold. However, one night after a meal in the port we came home to the flat and put on the video and chose to watch Gone-with-the-Wind. I hadn’t seen this movie in years and I was taken by the photography and some of the scenes that were so good. I was particularly taken by the last image from part one. Scarlet O’Hara has returned to Tara having escaped the siege of Atlanta only to find Tara pillaged by the invading Union army starving she eats a raw horse radish that she has dug from the soil with her bare hands. At this point we see a transition in her from desperation to determination and the scene ends with her standing under a battle scared tree making an oath to god that no matter what she has to do she will never go hungry again. This was a very powerful scene and a very powerful image provides a strong sense of foreboding for part two.
This was my first idea for an essay. US Army photograph, 1944.
This image I photographed in the Spanish fruit and veg. market of Altea that neighbors my holiday home town of Calpe a year or so ago. I saw this scene and discreetly pointed my point and shoot Canon camera and caught it right at the best moment.
This was the image that I was so taken with in the motion-picture and I was luck enough to find it on the web.
When I returned to England I emailed my Tutor my suggested options and asked for his opinion. He replied the image from Gone-with-the-Wind. I was pleased that he had suggested this image as by now this was my favorite option.
After carefully looking at this picture I highlighted the cloud formation to help with my essay.
I also looked at how this image is composed.
I then began to make a list of basic information to start the research process which I typed as a word documents. Preperation for assignment 4 I then began researching through websites and for additional ideas on essay writing I read, Reading Photographs, Basics Creative Photography, by Richard Salkeld, published by Bloomsbury, Understanding a Photograph by John Berger, published by Penguin,’One Way Street and other writings’ by Walter Benjamin, published by Penguin, the essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ 1975 by Rachel Rose. The Bible and ‘Inferno’ by Dante Alighieri, published by The Folio Society.
As I researched I kept a record of the source on a word document that I could refer to again later. Notes Having accumulated my reference material I began to write my essay, at this point I was not concerned with the word count as I could cut away as necessary. Working Title I also included images in my basic work. when I came up with a title for my essay I resaved the document under it’s new name and continued to work on it. Draft-1-Its a Lilly! I then emailed my Tutor for advice on my word-count and he advised that I was allowed + or – 5-10%; so I made sure that when stripping away I had an idea of my safe envelope; so as not to take out anything unnecessarily Final Draft-Its a Lilly I then edited down my list of reference material relevant to my final draft and added it Notes for draft .
Finally I checked with my Assignment criteria to make sure that I had understood and followed it.
I then read it to my wife and she pointed out that the only thing I had not mentioned was how the picture made me feel. It was such an obvious observation but in my had not thought to mention it! This is a good example of being too close to the work to be able point out the obvious. this I easily rectified as the original attraction was the sense of foreboding and unease that this image conveyed.
The idea of the title for my work came through my research in to Technicolor and I watched several very good documentaries on YouTube that told the story of the development and use of technicolor which included an anecdotal story from an aging actor who played one on the Munchkins in Wizard of Oz who was puzzled why the always called out “It’s a Lilly!” at the end of a scene.
This time I only got one response from the Facebook OCA forum when I put out my request to critique my essay, but I took on board the comment that I should change the title for the last paragraph which I agreed with. I decided to change it from ‘Conclusion’ to ‘So why the title’. However, I also sent my work to a friend who I could rely on to give a good constructive critique and he came back with some suggestions to shorten a couple of sentences and punctuation corrections sending me his suggested amendments highlighted in red. ShaunDraftEssay from this I made my final changes Amended Final Draft-Its a Lilly-1