The Photo Which I Didn’t Post Yesterday, And Why

A situation evolved before me yesterday, one with a humanistic, moralistic and Sociological perspective. Whilst I was waiting for a bus a naked guy parades up and down the street. He was speaking non aggressively in a language which I didn’t recognise. On the whole people were ignoring him, other than an occasional person who tried encouraging him to cover up.

At this point I decided not to take a photo, because I didn’t want to write or publish an article which would have been embarrassing for him. I suspected that his mental health was influencing his behaviour.

The police arrived, and the aforementioned naked guy assaulted the police officer. The officers colleague shouted “tazer” and as the guy went to assault her she fired the tazer.

When the guy was face down on the floor I took a photo, reasoning that he couldn’t be identified, and the discharging of a tazer is of current Sociological importance and is “newsworthy”

However, I’m not a photo journalist, its not my style of photography. There is a significant debate upon the arming of police with tazers, which is worth exploring. But I still decided to delete the photo rather than publish it.

oznorWO

Seeing a police officer assaulted, and an unarmed man tazered is frightening, and would have been more upsetting for the man and the police. I believe the guy was having some form of mental breakdown, and ultimately it’s why I didn’t publish the photo.

I’m in favour of the police having tazers. There have been several vicious assaults on the police recently and they need to be able to apprehend an assailant, for their own, and the publics protection. Arguably, if yesterday’s event had have played out in other countries the guy could have been shot dead, so I’m in favour of more tazers over more guns.

There is a need for photo journalism and documentary photography, and yesterday I was faced with a choice. We all do as photographers, we all have our preferred genre and field of expertise. Most of the time there is no right and wrong in photography, and yesterday was a personal choice that suited my weighing up of external and internal drivers.

 

Brighton – An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

The intention behind this series was to create a simple documentary of a day out, but to shoot the photos from a kneeling position. Using a crutch makes photography difficult to do whilst standing up, so I thought I could make use of the need to kneel by exploring the altered perspective. I will write a further post to write about what I’ve learned about this, and to discuss the difficulties I’ve had with white balance and digital developing.

Of note, I felt reasonably comfortable whilst making the street photography for this series, which is an unusual experience for me.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

The Plan, And Personal Projects

The Plan is simple. I’m taking a break between Foundations in Photography and the undergraduate BA in Photography. I will resume my studies in January. Study is so good for my mental health that I have considered enrolling immediately on the degree, but I also don’t feel that’s right just now.

I haven’t read photography books for some time, so I have reintroduced this progress. I don’t particularly enjoy reading these texts, but my practice does benefit from it.

qrf

My personal projects are important for my development. I have started to photo the London underground stations, both inside and out. The inside is a plain photo of the sign and surround, and I’m trying to capture points of interest outside of the tube station (not always possible as some of the surrounds are dull. My intent is to do this for the whole 270 tube stations, and I want to capture the mundane commute, but also include points of peace or joy along the route. I’m considering producing a poster size map of the London underground system and making a collage using 3 inch by 2 inch photos to present this series. The following two photos are the inside and outside of Charing Cross.

Charing Cross 1

Charing Cross 2

I’m aware that photographing a square mile will be an aspect of Express Your Vision, which is the first module of the degree, and I intend to use London’s Square Mile for this.

Today I am photographing my trip to Brighton from the perspective of me kneeling down. I simply want to try a new perspective with my photography and to document a simple journey. Love, peace and joy to you all on this beautiful Sunday.

qrf

Update On My Photography And Art – The Value Of Documentary Photography

Hi all.

My recovery from my overdose and consequent surgery is going well, which is good for my photography and art.

I’m so grateful that I have the energy and desire to continue with my final assignment. I’ve managed a few hours of embroidery over the past few days. By making use of the research I conducted, and adapting the input from others, I now have a very good technique for embroidering on top of photography. Result!

I have several pressure sores. Some of these were acquired whilst unconscious following my overdose, and one which I acquired in hospital whilst under sedation. A good friend suggested that I photograph the one on my arm, the one acquired in hospital, and create some documentary photography.

I liked the idea but felt it was not particularly practical. So instead I decided to photograph the consequences of a failed suicide attempt. During my stay at the Heart hospital (they saved my life) I was in a single room, which gave me the freedom to make Photography of my experience. The Heart hospital is where I had surgery to remove a septic abcess and part of my right lung, and where I had a cardiac arrest.

The critical care unit at the Whittington Hospital was the first ward that I was on. They somehow managed to bring me around from my overdose. It wasn’t expected. They informed friends and family that I wasn’t expected to pull through. However, I survived. I was in no fit state to take photos in the Whittington until just before I left, so I have very few photos from there.

During my recuperation with friends and my cousin I’ve taken some photos of my recovery. I shall evaluate and collate all of these and put together a documentary series.

Of note:- during my coursework I reviewed a documentary series called “Ray’s a Laugh” by Richard Billingham, (see here). I feel that documenting my failed suicide attempt is similar to the style of Billingham, and has opened my mind to the value of documenting the everyday. Many people try to commit suicide, and considerably more survive than die (over 15 successful suicide attempts per day in the UK). This is why I use the term “everyday”, I’m not dismissing the tragedy of suicide or attempted suicide. There is good work being done to prevent suicide and I hope more will be done in the future.

Documentary photography in the style of Billingham, and my own series, creates a space for reflection and discourse, and this can create connection and change.

Here are a couple of photos from my series. Not quite sure when I will get the time to put my series together as I have so many medical appointments.

qrf

qrf

Review – Jeff Wall

Brief:- In preparation for Assignment Three, we need to say a few words about staged photography. In advertising and cinema you find a highly artificial, constructed form of photography. Often multiple elements are layered in a final composite. Great care is taken with the arrangement of elements to guide the interpretation of the photograph. The term mise-en-scène, simply means ‘putting in the scene’ and refers to the placement of objects in space. Imagine a totally blank, empty studio. You want to create a scene in the studio depicting a small ancient dwelling inhabited by a hermit in the Sinai desert. You’ll need a lot of light to represent the sun. You’ll need a sky backdrop and plenty of sand and sandstone to create the dwellings. You’ll also need to research and find ancient artefacts that would have been used by an ascetic person. You’ll also need a hermit (actor). This is the way a movie is made, but it’s common to advertising and art photography too and is called ‘staged’ or ‘constructed’ photography. Key practitioners are Jeff Wall and Cindy Sherman. Jeff Wall goes to great lengths to create what sometimes appear to be ‘documentary’ street scenes that reflect a telling human situation. Cindy Sherman consciously played with the identity representations of women in movies by photographing herself in different female roles. Her later work makes use of prosthetic make-up, costume, props and sets to emphasise the ways women were represented in historic paintings. Take a look around the place you live. In what ways does the place and the objects in it say something about you? You may not have built it, but you probably chose most of its contents, painted walls, carpeted floors, etc. You placed every item in that space. This is personal miseen-scène. In staged photography you’re telling a story, a fiction that may have a connection to something real or true, however staged it is. All movies, plays and fictions, however far they depart from everyday reality, have a kernel of truth in them.

Jeff Wall (b 1946)

Wall,-J;-1984;-Milk;-ATFig. 1. Milk (1984)

Description of visual elements

Window with stairwell inside, bricks which make a wall, green bush. pavement sloping to the left, light from upper left of the screen, shadow cast where brickwork juts out from the main wall, the photo frame is slightly smaller than the man if he were to be standing, man sitting on floor, no socks, shoe has no laces, looks dejected, sitting slightly hunched with one knee bent under, body leaning into second knee which is upright, forearm rest on knee milk is moving out from a carton to the mans left, spilt milk flying through the air, leather jacket, hair looks greasy but tidy, shadow cast over most of his face so that his expression is not easily seen, clothes look in good condition as do the shoes, one sleeve is rolled up and hand on that arm is in a fist.

My interpretation:- There are two visual discrepancies that highlight that this is a staged photo – the tidiness of the crop and the condition of the clothes and the shoes. These are just too crisp.

The staging suggests that the man is homeless and is sitting in a good, relatively affluent area. The partial view of the building on the left of the image, with the bush outside hints at the area being an office based area rather than commercial or retail. The building becomes a prop, as does the very clean wall behind the man on the floor. The lighting has been used to hide his face so that his expression is hard to read, and the mans greasy hair is also a prop, it’s used to create a narrative. It’s meant to do so in conjunction with the mans clothing (which doesn’t work for me), and the uncovered arm, with the hand clenched into the fist is building upon the narrative to show that he is angry. The flying milk may suggest that the guy is angry at having his photo taken and has shaken his arm in protest. Maybe he will get up and attack the photographer, or it could be that the fist and the sudden jerk of the hand, which has led to the milk being spilled, are a warning of aggression which is relaying “stay the fuck away from me”.

 

Wall, J; 2015; Listener; ATFig. 2. Listener (2015)

Description of visual elements

Six men surround a man who is kneeling on the floor, one is in full frame and is leaning over the man, dominating him with his height, very close crop with little background, other than the top left of the corner, where there is a quarter circle shaped blue wall. There are six men around the edge of the frame, only partially visible. Despite being on the edge of the frame they are in very close proximity with the guy on the floor. They are wearing  jeans, t-shirt, trackies and one is wearing chinos, the guy on the floor is wearing brown trousers and no top. The ground is barren, dry, dusty, and the guy on the floor has bits of straw on his trousers. He is wearing sandals and the others are wearing plimsoles, trainers and workman’s boots. The man on the lower left of the photo is looking towards the camera, his arms are folded over his chest. The other guys have their arms and hands in quite open and relaxed manner. The sun is almost directly overhead and the shadows are short.

My interpretation:- There is an air of menace and aggression in this scene. The guy on the floor is being towered over, dominated by the man next to him, oppressed by the overhead heat, and surrounded by the other men in a very close space. The straw on his trousers says that he has been on the floor in other positions and he may have tried to crawl away from his assailants at some point. He is being shouted at or spoken to very aggressively, although the man to his right doesn’t have closed fists. The open relaxed posture of the other men is a relay which says that they are relaxed and comfortable with violence. This relay keeps the oppressive aggression within the frame. The context of a dry barren wasteland is the stage that says the guy has been taken to this place so that the confrontation cannot be stopped by others, there is a purpose and intent to the confrontation. Is the guy going to be assaulted? is he going to be left there? Is he going to be killed? I don’t think he is going to be killed. The close proximity of the camera, which is being allowed to photograph, tells me that this assault is a warning to others not to cross this gang. That they know the guy on the floor will not be reporting the assualt. The man on the floor looks uncomfortable but I also think that he looks very relaxed, he doesn’t look afraid, and this is a visual discrepancy to me. The clothing of the men looks clean and relatively new. They are involved in some form of organised crime which gives them a good income, but they remain dressed in the manner of their peers, in their neighbourhood. They operate in the area that they live and probably grew up. Small time organised crime.

 

I find myself left with the impression that it is very difficult to show emotion in staged photography, and even with people as skilled as Wall there are visual discrepencies which can be noticed.

Illustrations

Figure 1 Wall, J; 1984; Milk [Silver dye bleach transparency; aluminum light box]; AT: http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/photography/picture-galleries/2010/march/30/the-world-of-jeff-wall/ (accessed on 03/06/2018)

Figure 2 Wall, J; 2015; Listener [inkjet print]; AT https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/nov/03/jeff-wall-photography-marian-goodman-gallery-show (accessed on 03/06/2018)

Review – Ray’s A Laugh

Brief:- Photography is often used as a tool to document the specificity of visual appearances. We’re all familiar with this use in passport photography, anthropological photography and crime photography. There’s no pretence at aesthetic quality: the photographer points the camera at the subject and tries to take a neutral ‘visual document’ which stands as visual evidence for what it represents. This mode of making pictures can be useful to all photographers as a means to research their subject. Whether this results in ‘finished’ pictures or not doesn’t really matter; it’s a means to gain visual knowledge. Take a look at Richard Billingham’s Ray’s A Laugh – a collection of family portraits originally taken as visual research for a painting project. It’s important to make a distinction here between what we can know through experience and verbal language and what is specifically visual. Thoughts aren’t visual and neither are emotions, although you can photograph the physical manifestations of these. Political ideologies aren’t visual but you can photograph people and events that illustrate them.

Billingham, R; 1984; Untitled (RAL 6) [Fuji long-life print on aluminium]; ATFig. 1. Untitled RAL 6 (1995)

1Fig. 2. Untitled R (c1995)

Initial thoughts:- Family life, snap shots, nothing significant, photo’s that anyone can take of their family. Documents of lower class, family life that is stricken by poverty and social exclusion. Taken by a family member with a resentment to the lifestyle that they have been brought up with? Desolation, unhappiness, drunkenness, degradation. Ray appears significantly underweight, possibly brought about by alcoholism/alcohol dependence. He struggles to eat properly, despite the full plate of food its unlikely that he will finish it, he’s drunkenly falling to sleep and his dinner will soon be spilled upon him. Liz, probably drinks but is not dependant, her addiction and way of coping with her emotions and the struggle of a life of exclusion and poverty is via food. Hopelessness, despair, life is hard. Irony – Ray most certainly does not appear to be a laugh.

Now this is where photography becomes interesting. Billingham took these photos as research for a project, and from the brief there is an assumption that these are a record of ‘what is’, apparently neutral, dispassionate and a visual record. My reading of the photos is entirely the opposite and is cognitive, emotional, symbolic and has a reading of the families circumstance and lifestyle that is based upon my perspective. This is of note because it suggests that if I am taking test photos, or making photography for my own visual research then the viewer may have a response that I was not even exploring, Maybe.

However, I argue that it is impossible to record a subject that you are emotionally involved with from a neutral perspective. If I had have walked into the family home and taken the exact same photos at the exact same moment, would my distance from Ray and Liz reduce the emotional impact upon the viewer? From my own photography I believe so. When I presented assignment one to my tutor, she picked up my discomfort and lack of emotion in two of the photos, both were photo’s that I didn’t feel a connection with the subject.

In my opinion Billingham was exploring his emotions through his visual research. If we are honest here the research was done for a painting, the painting was not going to be neutral, it was meant to be expressive and have an impact, and this is what was being photographed, the emotions that Billingham felt about his parents.

Illustrations

Figure 1 Billingham, R; 1995; Untitled (RAL 6) [Fuji long-life print on aluminium]; AT: https://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/richard_billingham.htm (accessed on 03/06/2018)

Figure 2 Billingham, R; 1995; Untitled (R [Fuji long-life print on aluminium]; AT: https://www.americansuburbx.com/2012/05/richard-billingham-rays-a-laugh.html (accessed on 03/06/2018)

Feature Image Billingham, R; c1995; Untitled (RAL) [Fuji long-life print on aluminium];  https://www.americansuburbx.com/2012/05/richard-billingham-rays-a-laugh.html (accessed on 03/06/2018)

Review – Gillian Wearing

In preparation for exercise 3.5 Photographs from text we are asked to take a look at “Signs that say what you want them to say and not signs that say what someone else wants you too say”.

Gillian Wearing (OBE) (1963)

'I have been certified as mildly insane!' 1992-3 by Gillian Wearing OBE born 1963Fig. 1. I have been certified as mildly insane… (1993-3)

'I signed on and they would not give me nothing' 1992-3 by Gillian Wearing OBE born 1963Fig. 2. I signed on and they would not give me nothing (1992-3)

Wearing, G; 1992-3; Work towards peace [Fig. 3. Work towards peace (1992-3)

For this series Gillian worked with members of the public, requesting the opportunity to photograph them, and asked if they would write something pertinent to them on a large piece of paper. It’s a very clever concept, but also very simple. Its a collaborative process that allowed her to produce an image with the people that she photographed, rather than taking photos of them. She photographed people from varying walks of life, gender, race, sexuality, and the result is a series of photos where all are equal. They are equal because they have all been allowed to speak for themselves.

It reinforces to me what I have just read in The Civil Contract of Photography, in which Azoulay states “Anyone who addresses others through photographs or takes the position of a photographers addressee, even if she is a stateless person who has lost her “right to have rights… is nevertheless a citizen – a member in the citizenry of photography” (Azoulay, A; 2008; pp85). She goes on to discuss that the viewer is also a citizen of photography and that we are all involved and participate in the photo and its understanding of it, especially so in documentary/reportage/disaster/conflict photography.

Wearing’s approach is a very interesting one and it makes me think about how often this occurs, especially in comparison with mainstream documentary or reportage photography. Generally a photographer, who is working for a media outlet or other interested party, will have a brief and a duty to take photos according to the taste/politics/demands of the editor or organisation. How often do photographed people have the opportunity to consent to having their photograph taken, let alone to be a co-author?

The approach makes me consider my own photography in relation to the genres of street and events. I have worked with direct consent where I have explained my studies to people and gained their permission to make their portrait, at events I have worked on assumed consent, in which people are fully aware that photographers are around, and if they try to hide their face then I do not photograph them, and I have also taken some street photography without consent. This is not to say that any style is better, or correct, they all have their value, but I do like Wearing’s style, which is an approach that I have made use of for a project with homeless people (although I asked them what they would like to say to accompany their photo, rather than providing them with the means to write their own words) (Keys, R; 2018).

This is not an approach that I will be using for exercise 3.5 but certainly one that I would like to build upon in the future, and my tutor and I have discussed this previously.

 

Illustrations

Figure 1; Wearing, G; 1992-3; I have been certified as mildly insane… [chromogenic print on paper]; AT: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wearing-signs-that-say-what-you-want-them-to-say-and-not-signs-that-say-what-someone-else-66092/5 (accessed on 12/05/2018)

Figure 2; Wearing, G; 1992-3; I signed on and they would not give me nothing [chromogenic print on paper]; http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wearing-signs-that-say-what-you-want-them-to-say-and-not-signs-that-say-what-someone-else-66092/3

Figure 3; Wearing, G; 1992-3; Work towards peace [chromogenic print on paper]; AT: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/gillian-wearing-signs-that-say-what-you-want-them-to-say-and-not-signs-that-say-what-someone-else-wants-you-to-say-work-towards-world-peace

References

Azoulay, A; 2008; The Civil Contract of Photography; New York; Zone Books; pp85

Keys, R; 2018; Homelessness – People are only invisible if we choose to ignore them; Online AT: https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/homelessness-my-photo-essay-published-by-the-sociological-mail/ (accessed on 12/05/2018)

Devlopment In My Ideas About Taking Tourist/Holiday Photos

As a parting gift from my cousin following our holiday, I was given the book Britain’s First Photo Album (Sergeant; 2012).

Sergeant visits some of the many places that Frith and his team made photos of Britain, explores the history, and then emulates the photo that Frith took in that place. Some of the emulation is taken from where Frith took the photo, and others are Sergeants own ideas of the current location, based upon Friths work and how it relates to the modern day.

Francis Frith, (1822 – 1898) became a photographer after making his money from a grocery business that he established. When he sold the business he travelled and then decided that he wanted to photograph the towns, villages and cities of Britain. Although he began this journey alone, he soon developed a company of other photographers who helped him in his project. He was documenting the face of Britain, and he had a knack of making photos in places where change was happening such as the end of an industry i.e. the end of the canals and water mills with the growth of the railways.

However he also made a lot of tourist photography. Steam locomotion and the introduction of a reduction in Saturday working hours and also bank holidays, meant that workers and the middle class became tourists, and tourists want souvenirs.

I have read half of the book already, and am amazed by the changes when comparing Friths photos with those of Sergeant. The photo can be a document that highlights current change, but can also be representative of change over the years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stone Cairns and Banburgh Castle, Lindisfarne, Richard Keys, 2018

 

 

References

Sergeant, J; 2012; Britain’s First Photo Album; Dinton; The Francis Frith Collection

www.francisfrith.com/

Types of Portrait Photography

I have been exploring the uses of publicly displayed portraits. The photos for this edition of my digital sketchbook have been taken with my camera phone. The terminology is my own and may not be appropriate academic terminology.

I am aware that this post doesn’t demonstrate all of the reasons for the making and use of portrait photography, just what I have considered over the past few days.

Going from top left across.

1 – Targeted advertising, brand promotion (young female with financial means (select body size))

2 – Health promotion, discussion, with text relay (bold typeset, bottom right)

3 – Authorship, status

4 – Targeted advertising (family, social)

5 – Promotional, targeted  (young adult, friendship, joy)

6 – Emotional, photojournalism, documentary, relay

7 – Descriptive, relay, photojournalism

8 – Attraction, targeted advertising (male, tradesmen – this was my assumption. However I looked into the demographics of sun readers. 60% of readers are male, readers come almost equally across the NHS social grades. See reference below)

9 – Branding, group identity (reinforces belonging to a social group)

10 – Generic advertising (I have included this to highlight the difference between a portrait as targeted advertising, and generic advertising which doesn’t require a portrait.

11 – Descriptive, promotion

12 – Targeted advertising, leading, relay

13 – Targeted advertising

14 – Promotional, documentary, branding , group identity

15 – Health information, targeted advertising  (employment), statement of brand values (equality/diversity)

16 – Nostalgia, group identity

17 – Targeted advertising

18 – Branding

19 – Promotional, group identity

20 – Branding, targeted advertising  (activity specific)

21 – Branding, targeted advertising

22 – Branding, targeted advertising

References

https://www.statista.com/statistics/380735/the-sun-and-sun-on-sunday-reach-by-demographic-uk/

 

Review – Bill Brandt

Bill Brandt (1904 – 1983)

Brandt, BillFig. 1. Northumbrian Miner at His Evening Meal (1937)

Initial Thoughts:- Real photo of a Northern Miner and his wife. Pulls no punches. Doesnt clean it up, doesn’t wait for sunday best, Makes the photo as it is. Miner – Dirty, stained with coal dust, hands filthy, doesn’t wash or change before eating, wooden table and wood shows signs of ageing, well provisioned with basic food, sugar, meat, sandwich, suet pudding?? loaf of homemade bread. Man – devoid of expression, Woman – looks dejected, fed up, not eating with her husband. This is a working meal of a shift worker, eating alone, going back to work? Mug, glassware, cutlery, ornament on stand mass-produced. Washing is hanging up above the table (jumpers, bedding). The womans handbag is hanging up. Its well used, but hanging up and not left around, it’s not an every day occurrence to use the handbag. This family is not well off, but neither are they broke, although every penny gets accounted for, and everything is repaired, reused, and looked after (the wallpaper is in very good condition, and the only sign of age is where it peels back from the door frame).  There is a painting on the wall behind the washing, and the figure looks to be appearing from behind the washing, looking down at the couple. Do they even talk to each other anymore? Does he just go to work, come home, eat, go back to work and sleep? Does she just cook breakfast, do the washing, tidy, clean the house, cook lunch, do more washing, do more cleaning, cook tea, darn clothes, sleep? Does she have any friends? Does she get time to talk to wives of other miners? He has community with his co-workers, she has little. This is not living. This is existing for existing sake. Where is the pleasure? It is not in the eyes or demeanor. Miners housing. rented not owned, tied accommodation, no work – no home.

 

Robert-GravesFig. 2. Robert Graves in His Cottage at Churston Devon (Circa 1941)

Initial Thoughts:- What a contrasting photo. bohemian, writer, thinker, space, time, cleanliness but busyness. Home is owned, his cottage, can’t see the whole house, but the representation is sparse in the way of possessions (other than writing equipment), does this suggest the cottage is inherited? Regardless of wealth he has enough money in the bank to live comfortably, to write (what doe he write? essays? books? Poetry? – he isn’t a journalist (his clothing, writing in personal space, draft of essay or book. Perhaps a student but I don’t think so. He is a free-thinker, creative writer) He wears several layers of clothing (appears he has four tops on). He is also an artist, there is a tube of paint and several brushes on the table. He drinks from a bone china tea cup, whilst he writes and paints. He has more than enough money in the bank. His is expression is studious, interested. His skin is healthy. What a difference a bit of money can do.

These photos are a tale of two halves. Both images have allowed themselves to be photographed in their own homes. Is photography real? Can photography ever be claimed to be factual? That debates for another day, but I do believe that these are realistic. They havent been staged. This is how the people in the photos live. It says a lot about society, then and now, that those who “have” can enjoy life and have some freedom and choice, satisfaction and the pursuit of their own ideals. Those who “don’t” just exist. All though in the UK there is more comfort and opportunity for those from the poorer side of the divide, there is still a chasm in the quality of life between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The images bring out the angry marxist in me, and sadness. How can I not feel for the couple in the first photo. But I am also like Mr Graves. I want to explore, to learn to express, to challenge, to create, to make a difference. The anger is because there is enough money in the world for everyone to live a free and comfortable life. There really is. So why do we follow this stupid capitalist system so that we can give the 1% more. There is enough for everyone, and yet we still allow this happen. We switch off our minds, buy the next car, the next phone, the next house, the next lie that tells us we should work harder so we can own more, achieve more, and we forget that there is already enough in the world for us to relax, to chill, to have the space to enjoy each others company.

These are timeless images. There is a truth within them. They are also not making a statement about what is right or wrong, but questions arise within the eyes of the viewer, when these portraits are seen in comparison.

What have I learned from these photos? Portraits are more than shots of faces. Allowing space around a person can contextualise their photo. Portraits can make social statements. Portraits are taken for different reasons, some make statements, some ask questions.

Illustrations

Figure 1. Brandt, B (1937) Northumbrian Miner at His Evening Meal [Gelatin] At: https://www.1fmediaproject.net/2013/03/06/bill-brandt-shadow-and-light-at-the-museum-of-modern-art-presents-a-major-reevaluation-of-the-artists-career/ (accessed on 04/10/2017)

Figure 2. Brandt, B (Circa 1941) Robert Graves in His Cottage at Churston Devon At: https://billbrandtarchive.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Portraits-male/G00005CApULC3wVQ/I0000tX1uxdB2Cpc (accessed on 04/10/2017)

Also Viewed

https://billbrandtarchive.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Portraits-male/G00005CApULC3wVQ/I0000TCSNXZyQv0g (accessed on 04/10/2017)

https://billbrandtarchive.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Portraits-female/G0000p2oj30TCuuk/I00000kpBRDZ7y80 (accessed on 04/10/2017)

http://visualarts.britishcouncil.org/exhibitions/exhibition/bill-brandt-photographs-1982/object/robert-graves-in-his-cottage-at-churston-devon-brandt-1941-portraits-p4724 (accessed on 04/10/2017)

http://www.billbrandt.com/news/2015/5/6/barbara-hepworth (accessed on 04/10/2017)

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/robert-graves (accessed on 04/10/2017)