Photography and its Role in Conflict and Peace (Notes)

Research Trail Notes

Tutsi corpses in an abandoned school, Nyarubuye, Rwanda, 1995 (Sebastião Salgado)

Tutsi corpses in an abandoned school, Nyarubuye, Rwanda, 1995 (Sebastião Salgado)

Migrations – Humanity in transition 1st Aprill 2000 ; Sebastiao Salgado; Aperture

Sebastiao Salgado:Exodus by Lelia Salgado; Taschen Books 2016

I watched Salt of the Earth – A bio documentary about the photographer Sebastiao Salgado recently, and felt awestruck – by the images, the stories of the individuals, groups and cultures, and also of the lengths that Sebastiao went to to document the plight and suffering of people, around the world.

Although The Salt of The Earth covered a vast proportion of Salgado’s creative work, I cried when watching the plight of those who were fleeing from the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 (Genocide against the Tutsi)

The image above highlights pain, suffering and abandonment to me. Just looking at the photo, without reading the book or reflecting back to the film, questions come to my mind.

The man in the background appears to be nonchalantly walking past the scene as if this is an everyday occurrence, so I wonder how quickly does it take for a person or a culture to become desensitised to death and murder… or is he walking past afraid, afraid to reach out, fearful of his own safety…or was he involved in the murder of these people?

Where are the police? Why are there no crowds of people horrified by the tragedy? Who will bury the dead? How long have the victims been left after their death? How were they killed? Who killed them? Why were they killed? Who cares?

Who Cares? The question is not a flippant disregard for the plight of these Tutsi, it’s a question for me to consider when making photography. Do I care? What do I care about? Do I want to use photography to create drama for the amusement of those who are in no way collected to the suffering of those I wish to document? Or do I want to use photography as a means of eliciting change in the world?

Can photography be used a means of creating change? Personally – I hope so I will explore this during this project.

Sebastiao Salgado

Sebastio Salgado

http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/

Starting Point :- The Salt of the Earth; Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado; Curzon Artificial Eye; 2015

http://www.bjp-online.com/2015/05/sebastiao-salgado-i-had-travelled-to-the-dawn-of-time/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/humanitys-spirit-and-cruelty-in-focus/article26454376/

Photography and its Role in Conflict and Peace – Part 3

Salgado: Glauber Rocha and his comrades, they meant a lot to me, because it was front-line contested cinema. But, hear me, much of these guys’ work, like my photography, was not made because these people were activists, it was made because it was their way of life—you live like this, your ideology is this, and your language is photography or cinema, and your life comes from that.

http://povmagazine.com/articles/view/the-pov-interview-sebastiaeo-salgado

During TED talk, “And I knew the Politics. I became a little bit radical. I was member of leftist parties, and I became and activist”

“Brazil radicalized very strongly, we fought very hard against the dictatorship. In a moment it was necessary for us either to go into clandestinity with weapons in hand, or leave Brazil….and I started to do the photography that was important for me”

“many people tell me that you are a photojournalist, that you are an anthropologist photographer, that you are an activist photographer. But I did much more than that. I put photography as my life. I lived totally inside photography”

“…Migrations…during the time I was photographing this, I lived through a very hard moment in my life, mostly in Rwanda I saw in Rwanda total brutality. I saw deaths by thousands per day. I lost faith in our species. I didn’t believe it was possible for us to live any longer,”

https://www.ted.com/talks/sebastiao_salgado_the_silent_drama_of_photography#t-11376

“The first time I looked through it I knew I had found a new way to relate to things,”

“Photography is not objective,” he tells me. “It is deeply subjective – my photography is consistent ideologically and ethically with the person I am.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/9945900/Sebastiao-Salgado-A-Gods-eye-view-of-the-planet-interview.html

Salgado interview by Nancy Madlin PDN

http://www.pdngallery.com/legends/legends10/story.html

“I want people to come out of this show and see immigrants in a new way, with a new respect. I want the person who is sitting at a restaurant in the United States while a young man from El Salvador or from Mexico serves him, to see through the pictures, that it is a long, long trip to get there and is sometimes very dangerous.”

Rwanda Genocide

“At every turn, it seems, we return to this troubling equation, implicating news media – both within Rwanda and internationally – in the genocide. In looking back on this period, it is important to examine the role of domestic hate media and the international media in tandem in one collection of papers. As uncomfortable as this connection may seem, we cannot separate the two. We are looking at the role of the media, the power of its message and the impact of an information vacuum.

In the autumn of 1994, French journalist Edgar Roskis, wrote in Le Monde Diplomatique of ‘un genocide sans images’, a genocide without images. His article, translated and reprinted in this collection, underlines the point that because most foreign journalists fled the country, the indisputable crime of genocide very nearly went unrecorded. Roskis cites French photographer, Patrick Robert, who was working in Rwanda at the time for the Paris-based Sygma photo agency. ‘There were six American correspondents,’ Robert recounted. ‘They had scarcely arrived when their editors gave them all orders to come home

A year later, at the height of the Rwanda genocide, the lack of media images probably helped the cause of those in Washington, London, Paris and other major capitals who wanted to avoid mounting an international intervention in another African country.

When news reaches the general population, it shapes public opinion. When there is a lack of statesmanship, public opinion can force a government to make decisions. Getting information out to the general population and holding decision-makers accountable – by continuously berating them about what is going on and what they are doing or not doing – is more crucial than a few talk shows and a couple of newscasts.

The media can be both a weapon and a conscience to humanity. Journalists can be powerful, individually and collectively. But they can also be manipulated very easily if the depth of the subject is not there. For future journalists, my advice is get yourselves a lot more cultured, learn some geography, some anthropology, some sociology and maybe even some philosophy. Bring more depth to your questions and to your analysis. And stay dynamic in the search for the truth, for you are an instrument of the absolute called ‘justice’.

When the genocide ended little more than 100 days later, perhaps as many as a million women, children and men, the vast majority of them Tutsi, lay dead. Thousands more were raped, tortured and maimed for life. Victims were treated with sadistic cruelty and suffered unimaginable agony.

Newspapers generally gave the same amount of space to the evacuation as to the massacres, then reduced their coverage of Rwanda to focus on Bosnia and the elections in South Africa. Photographers arrived quickly, but what they got were pictures of corpses, never photos of massacres at the moment they took place. To my knowledge, there is only one video image of a massacre taking place (the film shot by British camerman, Nick Hughes, in April 1994).

Patrick Robert, from Sygma Corbis Agency, explained that a month after he returned to Paris from Rwanda, he had still sold almost none of his pictures from Rwanda. He was there, but no one wanted to see. Journalists were there: but who would listen to them, or read their stories?

of whether media content of any kind has the capacity to affect foreign affairs decision-making.

Critics and policymakers alike assume that it does. Critics who favour robust international responses to humanitarian crises tend to fault the news media for not paying more attention to Rwanda in the early weeks and months of the crisis, implicitly suggesting that, had more attention been given by the news media, Western policymakers might have responded differently

THE MEDIA AND THE RWANDA GENOCIDE; Allan Thompson; Pluto Press; 2007; London

“What the viewers in London weren’t seeing in scale was what I saw in pictures arriving back in Nairobi – corpses piled high, decaying skulls and skeletons, terribly injured children.”

19
Media Failure Over Rwanda’s Genocide Tom Giles

Engaging with the literature on visual representations of human suffering, being a witness, and trauma, this article discusses visual representations of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and especially the art photography of Alfredo Jaar, Robert Lyons, and Jonathan Torgovnik of the aftermath of the genocide. It explores the conditions in which photography can succeed in disrupting stereotypical political interpretations of the killings. Art photography, it is argued, may help transform the viewers from being consuming spectators into being participant witnesses who self-critically reflect upon their own subject positions in relation to the conditions depicted in the image. By discussing photography of the aftermath of the genocide, the article acknowledges the unrepresentability of genocide; by focusing on visual representations, it reflects the extent to which political space is nowadays constituted by means of images; by concentrating on Rwanda, it contributes to the necessary process of examination and self-examination in connection with the killings.

Rwanda Revisualized: Genocide, Photography, and the Era of the Witness; Frank Möller; Alternatives: Global, Local, Political Vol. 35, No. 2 (Apr.-June 2010), pp. 113-136

All above taken from – The Media and the Rwanda Genocide; Allen Thompson; Pluto Press; 2007

Research Trail 4

Projecting Trauma

Research Trail 5

Conversation with Benjamin Lowy – Joerg Colberg

Motivations for going into photojournalism “I pulled out Nachtwey’s Inferno. And I sat for hours in the store consumed with what I saw. Beauty and horror merged together, the randomness of life multiplied by the chaos of war. After that… I knew what I wanted to do.”

“I’m a first generation American, my father was born in a concentration camp, and that history, what happened to our family, was a constant reminder of the burden of the past and its need to documented and remembered.”

Discuss the risk – Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros– Tim a British photojournalist – Chris an American war photographer -who were killed by Libyan forces in Misrata whilst covering the 2011 civil war. “Journalistic independence, as an abstract idea, is worthless if the journalist is dead or kidnapped. There are way too many examples of people trying to tell the story in ridiculously extreme situations and paying the price with their freedom.”

Iraq Perspectives

Iraq | Perspectives, Benjamin Lowy; 2011 Duke University Press;

Benjamin Lowy http://www.iraqperspectives.com/

 

Shooting images from inside a Humvee from the American armed forces. Tried to show what life was like for the soldiers and the Iraqi people, but had to also retain personal safety and it would not have been safe to photograph differently. Is aware that to a large extent his images are taken from a perspective because of this, so cannot be totally independent reporting, but also felt that using the frame of the window he was shooting through became part of the picture that emphasied that disconnection.

 

“the same time, the framing mechanism of the window itself became part of the picture, it became a metaphor for the barrier between our worlds.”

“I think the most important thing we need to remember is the concept of relative realities. That what happens in NY and Iraq are separated by vast cultural, economic, and geographic differences, and getting people so disconnected to care about others is very hard. By providing information I hope, at the very least, that I was able to record the war for history’s sake. Did I educate? Did I inform and affect? I’m not so sure. I’m not so sure that people want to be affected.”

“the public today is more visually sophisticated than ever before. The overwhelming dearth of information available on the internet tends to weaken the impact of content. Important stories get lost in the fray. So as photographers – as creatives and not just journalists – we have the added task of developing a connection to our audience. We need an image that will engage the viewer, that makes our audience question what they are seeing, that allows them to take a step closer to the image and thus the content.”

http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/extended/archives/a_conversation_with_benjamin_lowy/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hondros

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Hetherington

 

Research Trail 6

A visual framing analysis of British press photography during the 2006 Israel–

Lebanon conflict; Katy Parry; 2010; Media, War and Conflict, Sage Pub (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1750635210353679)

“The highly selective use of press photographs, along with their brief captions, may present a strong, forceful idea about a distant conflict. By omitting other possibilities, there is a danger of one-sided representation.” P69

“The framing of a photograph, the time-bound capture of a particular composition, is one instant captured in a ‘decisive moment’, a window through which the implied spectator sees the world as shaped by the photographer’s point-of-view.” P69

Raises the question “Are there visual elements that evoke cultural ideas or values related to the frame?”

When discuss the images used in the American media during the Iraq wars she highlights how the media select images to either reinforce or not negatively show a nations ideology. “it is suggested that the lack of direct involvement, or rather culpability, for civilian deaths increases the likelihood of their depiction reaching the national press” p79

 

Research Trail 8

Regarding the torture of others; Susan Sontag; New York Times; 23rd May 2004 (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/magazine/regarding-the-torture-of-others.html?_r=0)

Writing about photography taken by American Military personnel of them abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib

Abu Graibh

Image reported by http://www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=8560 (Obtained by ABC News)

“For a long time — at least six decades — photographs have laid down the tracks of how important conflicts are judged and remembered…The Bush administration and its defenders have chiefly sought to limit a public-relations disaster — the dissemination of the photographs”

“Apparently it took the photographs to get their attention, when it became clear they could not be suppressed; it was the photographs that made all this ”real” to Bush and his associates. Up to then, there had been only words, which are easier to cover up in our age of infinite digital self-reproduction and self-dissemination, and so much easier to forget.”

 

Propaganda

In fact, racist propaganda wearing the mask of democracy – the common thread of extremist media – was also voiced by official channels and managed to find assent, whether through distraction or genuine conversion, among Western partners.

The solution it put forward was radical and unyielding. In November 1991, Hassan Ngeze asks one question: ‘What tools will we use to defeat the Inyenzi once and for all?’ The answer is in the adjacent illustration where Kayibanda and a ‘beautiful’ machete appear alongside each other (Anon. 1991f). This allegory intends to demonstrate the rationale for the elimination of Tutsi by means of murder, implying that this is inscribed in the republic’s history and that it is based on the need to protect the Hutu from the permanent threat of feudal bondage. Kangura refers to past violence as examples to follow.

“Which is not to say that the acts of taking pictures and listening to others are not problematic: they are and they are easily romanticized (which they should not be); but there is also need and reason for a witnessing of the lives of others”   –   “Photographs, visual stills and documentaries cannot guarantee their status as evidence, nor their place apart from systems that produce and reproduce violence. For it remains the case that what we perceive and what we experience in looking are structured in accordance with gendered and racial logics.”    –   “it is time to start denying the image of the suffering body a place in our understanding and politics of violence.    –

The visual fix The seductive beauty of images of violence Jane Kilby; European journal of social theory; March 14 2013

“Anthropologists who make their living observing and recording the misery of the world have a special obligation to reflect critically on the impact of the brutal images of human suffering they foist on the public. As medical anthropologists our terrain is the suffering body. The texts and images we present to the world are often profoundly disturbing. When we report and write in an intimate way about scenes of violence,  genocide, and extreme social suffering, our readers have the right to react with anger and to ask just what we are after (after) all?  Indeed, what do we want from our audience? To shock? To evoke pity? To create new forms of totalising narrative through an ‘aesthetic of misery’?  What of the people whose suffering is being made into a public spectacle for the sake of the theoretical argument?  – Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology by Nancy Scheper-Hughes (Editor), Philippe Bourgois (Editor) Wiley 2004

 

Reference Materials

Books/Journals

Migrations – Humanity in transition; Sebastiao Salgado; Aperture; April 2000

Sebastiao Salgado:Exodus by Lelia Salgado; Taschen Books; 2016

The visual fix The seductive beauty of images of violence Jane Kilby; European journal of social theory; March 14 2013

Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology by Nancy Scheper-Hughes (Editor), Philippe Bourgois (Editor) Wiley 2004

Rwanda Revisualized: Genocide, Photography, and the Era of the Witness; Frank Möller; Alternatives: Global, Local, Political Vol. 35, No. 2 (Apr.-June 2010), pp. 113-136

The Media and the Rwanda Genocide; Allen Thompson; Pluto Press; 2007

Projecting Trauma, War Photography and the public Sphere; Haim Bresheeth; Third Text; Vol 20, Issue 1, Jan 2006, P57

Iraq | Perspectives; Benjamin Lowy; Duke University Press; 2011

A visual framing analysis of British press photography during the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict; Katy Parry; Media, War and Conflict, Sage Pub; 2010

 

Internet

https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/254383078921786843/

http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/

http://www.bjp-online.com/2015/05/sebastiao-salgado-i-had-travelled-to-the-dawn-of-time/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/humanitys-spirit-and-cruelty-in-focus/article26454376/

http://povmagazine.com/articles/view/the-pov-interview-sebastiaeo-salgado

https://www.ted.com/talks/sebastiao_salgado_the_silent_drama_of_photography#t-11376

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/9945900/Sebastiao-Salgado-A-Gods-eye-view-of-the-planet-interview.html

https://www.oca-student.com/sites/default/files/oca-content/key-resources/res-files/mraz_salgado.pdf

http://www.academia.edu/16793479/P3_Final_Version

http://www.iraqperspectives.com/

http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/extended/archives/a_conversation_with_benjamin_lowy/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hondros

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Hetherington

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1750635210353679

http://www.pdngallery.com/legends/legends10/story.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/magazine/regarding-the-torture-of-others.html?_r=0

DVD

The Salt of the Earth; Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado; Curzon Artificial

Frame and Framing

Having read through part of my course handbook today, I found the subject of how we frame images within the photographs that we make. As I was wandering around on my way to the bus I took different images that could represent frames within a frame. These are not meant to be quality photo’s, just an exploration of framing. I didnt have my macro set up with me, so the photos of rain on the window are a bit wasted here, but to me they represent that with the right equipment you can frame an image within a drop of water.

I have used transitional spaces, windows, window display, fences, street lights and shelves in supermarkets for my initial exploration.

I hadn’t made a contact sheet in lightroom before today, so this was my first exploration. The contact sheet saved as a PDF, but I wanted the sheet to show here rather than have a link to it, so I opened the sheet in Photoshop and then saved it as a JPEG.

Lightroom (20170605_121006.jpg and 17 others)

Frame and Framing

Having read through part of my course handbook today, I found the subject of how we frame images within the photographs that we make. As I was wandering around on my way to the bus I took different images that could represent frames within a frame. These are not meant to be quality photo’s, just an exploration of framing. I didnt have my macro set up with me, so the photos of rain on the window are a bit wasted here, but to me they represent that with the right equipment you can frame an image within a drop of water.

I have used transitional spaces, windows, window display, fences, street lights and shelves in supermarkets for my initial exploration.

I hadn’t made a contact sheet in lightroom before today, so this was my first exploration. The contact sheet saved as a PDF, but I wanted the sheet to show here rather than have a link to it, so I opened the sheet in Photoshop and then saved it as a JPEG.

Lightroom (20170605_121006.jpg and 17 others)

Zoom Blur Experiment

Reading a photography book a couple of months ago I discovered a picture that was taken using zoom blur. I read tat the photographer had set a low shutter speed, rotated his zoom from wide angle to telephoto.

Preparing to go to an airshow last weekend I decided that I would try out the zoom blur. I took my ND filters, knowing that it was going to be a hot sunny day and I would need to slow my shutter speed down. Even with a mid to high Fstop my images would have been over exposed without the ND filters.

The following three images are images that I like (I have only used auto tone in Lightroom, no other processing).

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 1/6sec, F13, 170mm

I like this image even though there are some technical faults which could be corerected (some vignette from longer focal length, sloping horizon, yellow block to left of the bike, painted lines). This image was taken by moving the lense from wide angle to telephoto, moving the lense slowly before releasing the shutter, and the effect makes it look like the rider (Dave Coates) is heading for a crash with the crowd and is jumping of his buggy. The zoom blur creates a punchy image thats full of action.

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 1/13sec, F11, 27mm

Similar technical faults with the addition that the front of the scooter shows motion blur from not using a tripod. However, what I do like about this is that Dave is realtively in focus, and themotion makes it look like I am retreating from a moped that will soon hit me. The image also has context, you can see the barrier and the crowd on the left and in the distance, the other bikes and van in the middle of the image, and the grass to the right, all of which show that this is part of an organised display. This image was taken as part of a series (continuous high) where I was moving the lense from telephoto to wide angle.

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 1/20sec, F9, 50mm

What worked well here was turning the lense from wide to telephoto in keeping with the motion of the musician at the centre of the image.It creates a very shallow depth of field with movement towards the man as the object.

 

The following three images do not work.

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 0.5sec, F22, 85mm

There are a few things that do not work here. Not using a tripod leaves the image with noticable blur from movement of the camera. Not being in line with the lines on the concrete and paint mean that the lines show paralels and shifts either side, and they look very messy. Because of the position of the Hawk in relation to the lines it was not possible to have the plane, lines and myself all inline. Solution – don’t take the photo, go to a plane that is lined up or somewhere where there are no lines.

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 1/15sec, F5.6, 70mm

With the front of the bike being so close to the viewer, centre subject, having a blured light and movement on the handle bars all make this a poor image.

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 1/13sec, F11, 155mm

Aaargh, yuck, permanently delete me please. Poor contextualisation, handshake, subject to full in the frame. Disaster.

 

Will I be using zoom blur in the future? Yes, particulalry for sports photography. I took several hundred photos using this technique and there were a few that worked well. There were a couple of static images that looked quite dramatic as well, but I probably wont use this technique on static subjects. I believe that the best shots I got were when I was zooming from telephoto to wide angle in most (not all) instances, and more so when I was turning the lense at the same speed that the object was moving.

Be prepared to take lots of photos when making use of this technique, especially for sports photography so having spare batteries and an additional memory card are needed. Using a tripod would not have worked for these images, as the object was moving at high speed and making use of the full arena. If I knew that I was going to be taking images where the is no lateral movement, then a tripod would work, but in this instance it would have meant carrying extra equipment that would have hindered my photography.

Game of Thrones – White Balance – Light and Shadow

Being a photographer doesn’t limit me to learning only from photography. Composition, lighting, subject, object and balance can be studied by viewing art, sculpture, theatre and movies.

I can’t get out to a gallery at the moment because of managing health and prior commitments. But I can still observe, evaluate, critique, learn and develop.

Game of Thrones is amazing. Reading the books was a joy and I’m loving watching the box sets. One more series to go and then I’m ready for July. Bring it on.

But enough of the thrill of the story, where does it fit in to developing as a photographer?

White balance is new to me. I’ve been taking photos and then making use of lightroom to process my images. “But Richard” – I hear you say – “if you learn how to manipulate and use white balance you have more creative control in your camera”.

and that’s where game of thrones comes in. Game of Thrones is set across a vast continent – snow in the far north, seasonal inland areas, hot coastal cities and desserts. Scenes are shot outdoors, inside tents, in rooms with a mix of day light and candles, in vaults, cellars and temples with only candles for lighting (I’m beginning to see where additional lighting is used of screen too).

I’m starting to notice blue lighting, yellow lighting and white (bleach) lighting.

Today I saw series 5 episode 9 – the fighting pits in Mereen, and it made sense of what I had read about low saturation with high vibrance. The skin tones were natural and the colours quite muted but still observable. It created a natural scene in the arena where the subject (fighting in the pits) and the object (the fighters) were dominant.

 

I’ve also been evaluating and deleting photos from the airshow I went to last weekend. I took around 3000 photos and I’m having to be stricter with myself than I have been in the past. Is this a good quality photo? Will I really use this photo? Is this photo of a good enough quality to send to the subject? I often give photos to people. For example with the Tour de Yorkshire I sent photos to the teams and riders.

If it’s a no to any of those questions I make a quick mental note of why I’m rejecting the image and how I could have taken it differently.

 

Time to read then bed. Night.

Photography and its Role in Conflict and Peace (continued)

Research Trail

I have undertaken a lot of research now:- watched interviews on Youtube; read interviews; read journals; read books; taken quotes and also read a report United Nations Internation Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

I will write up my research at the end of the week, so my focus hear is on learning, and research. From my persoanl journal yesterday.

  1. I have spent more time than was necessary on this research project for the level of study, and the intended aims of the research trail learning. Partly because of my enthusiasm and partly because of poor methodology with research.
  2. Use google scholar and wikipedia references to develop a list of resource sources – yeah I understand that Wiki is often not encouraged for academic research, however, by searching “Documentary Photographers Wiki” I got a list of international documentary photographers with links to them and 12 references to books, journals and publications.
  3. Youtube search for TED talks and interviews (Primary Resources)
  4. Make heavy use of British Journal of Photography, Magnum and Aperture
  5. Other on-line photo journals and newspapers for written interviews, and stories written
  6. OCA student resources
  7. When making notes copy and paste into a word document, and include the source, name of book/journal, author, year, publisher and page (a fraction of time now saves a chunk of time later)
  8. Keep referring to assignment outline and stay on track

Motion Blur Zoom Experiment with a 10 stop ND Filter

Coming to you live from underneath the tail of a Hawk fighter/trainer aircraft. Sitting out a thunderstorm at Durham Tees Airport.

There hasn’t been much flying today so I haven’t got many aircraft shots. I love airshows but I didn’t come here to photo them.

From a photography perspective it’s been a good day. I came here to experiment with zoom motion blur using a 10 stop ND filter. I saw some photos a couple of months ago, and was waiting for an opportunity to experiment.

I’ve had my shutter speeds slow so I could take photos of a motorbike stunt rider, releasing the shutter whilst already zooming in or out.

It’s been a lot of fun. I have a few images that I like. I chose not to bring my tripod as I was carrying two cameras and food, so I was aware that I would lose some photos because of hand shake. But 3 memory cards and spare batteries mean that not having the tripod was a compromise I could afford to take.

Feeling like a happy bunny.

Photography and it’s role in conflict and peace – Research trail – Introduction to HE Part 2

It’s been a day of contemplation and consideration. I made use of a bus journey to develop an ITEP map (similar a spidergram or mind map). I have plotted my primary and secondary research methods and planned which individuals and organisations that I wish to contact.

The most thought provoking part of the day was considering the work of Benjamin Lowy in his book Iraq | Perspectives; Benjamin Lowy; 2012; Duke University Press.

Composing an email that I will send to Getty Images Reportage, the Telegraph newspaper and Stop the War Coalition was really a positive exercise. I decided on my research themes because I believe photography can be used as a platform for change because an image creates an emotional impact and provokes thought. But I have also added a question about the role of photography in propaganda. There is a possibility that photography can be used to halt change by creating feelings of outrage, hatred and justification for violence.

So now I have a counter arguement.

Doing the ITEP map gave me the opportunity to collate keywords and phrases that I can use in Google scholar to aid my research.

In the words of Hannibal Smith “I love it when a plan comes together.” The A Team; Universal Television 1983.

The email I composed.

I am a photography student with The Open College of the Arts, and I am currently exploring the role of photography and it’s Role in Conflict and Peace.
I have a few of questions that I would like to put forward and would appreciate your input if you have the time.
1) What is the aim of using images during a time of conflict?
2) Who are the intended audience?
3) Does photography have such an emotional impact that it is in its own right a medium for social and political change?
4) With the rise of organisations such as ISIL, is it realistic that any one image can be used as propaganda for opposing sides in conflict, and thereby changing the role of photography to one of maintaining impasse and preventing change?
Many thanks.
Richard

 

Photography and its role in conflict and peace – Research Trail – Introduction to HE

Photography and its role in conflict and peace

Tutsi corpses in an abandoned school, Nyarubuye, Rwanda, 1995 (Sebastião Salgado)

Tutsi corpses in an abandoned school, Nyarubuye, Rwanda, 1995 (Sebastião Salgado)

Migrations – Humanity in transition; Sebastiao Salgado; Aperture April 2000

Sebastiao Salgado:Exodus by Lelia Salgado; Taschen Books 2016

I watched Salt of the Earth – A bio documentary about the photographer Sebastiao Salgado recently, and felt awestruck – by the images, the stories of the individuals, groups and cultures, and also of the lengths that Sebastiao went to to document the plight and suffering of people, around the world.

Although The Salt of The Earth covered a vast proportion of Salgado’s creative work, I cried when watching the plight of those who were fleeing from the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 (Genocide against the Tutsi)

To me, the image above highlights pain, suffering and abandonment. Just looking at the photo, without reading the book or reflecting back to the film, questions come to my mind.

The man in the background appears to be nonchalantly walking past the scene as if this is an everyday occurrence, so I wonder how quickly does it take for a person or a culture to become desensitised to death and murder… or is he walking past afraid, afraid to reach out, fearful of his own safety…or was he involved in the murder of these people?

Where are the police? Why are there no crowds of people horrified by the tragedy? Who will bury the dead? How long have the victims been left after their death? How were they killed? Who killed them? Why were they killed? Who cares?

Who Cares? The question is not a flippant disregard for the plight of these Tutsi, it’s a question for me to consider when making photography. Do I care? What do I care about? Do I want to use photography to create drama for the amusement of those who are in no way connected to the suffering of those I wish to document? Or do I want to use photography as a means of eliciting change in the world?

Can photography be used a means of creating change? Personally – I hope so I will explore this during this project.

 

Sebastiao Salgado

Sebastio Salgado

http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/

Starting Point :- Salt of the Earth – Decia Films – Written by Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier.

Other sources Viewed

http://www.bjp-online.com/2015/05/sebastiao-salgado-i-had-travelled-to-the-dawn-of-time/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/humanitys-spirit-and-cruelty-in-focus/article26454376/

 

 

Blogging – As a Learning Log

I have had reservations about how to go about using other peoples images as reflective practice and learning. My reservations were more about how to use the images of others without falling foul of copyright.

I have no problem with the idea of blogging as a learning log. I think it is far more effective than keeping a note book and printing images or collecting them in a scrapbook.

I am currently going through “Introduction to Studying HE- Developing your learning log” and thought it would be useful to review and OCA Blog. I have just had a look at he learning log of James Payne, and particularly liked his page on photographic lighting. He discusses lighting in general (and I will read the rest of the blog in more detail later), but I particularly like where he talks about diffuse lighting (from large light sources) creating soft shadows, and small light sources creating hard shadows.

I feel that as a photographer I should know more about light – Photograph (LightWrite or writing with light). I have a basic understanding of lighting, shade, time of day, weather – my favourite lighting is post rain sunshine, where there is enough cloud cover to soften the light and enough light to create clarity and depth of contrast. But my understanding is basic and I have a lot to learn.

I keep a written journal at the moment to reflect upon my practice and development, but I wouldn’t say that it is critical learning or indepth reflective practice. James has helped me to see how I can be more reflective and critical.

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