Phonar contributor David Campbell takes a step back from the furore surrounding the World Press Award winning image by Samuel Aranda to consider what the debates tell us of how we understand such images.
If you go through all the posts discussing Aranda’s photograph collected by Kleppe, the variety and richness of the interpretations is remarkable. People have understood it as a Christian icon, a 19th century orientalist painting, a sculptural form, a depoliticization of the Arab Spring, evidence of the hegemonic Western eye, a sign of a bloody conflict, a rendering of universal humanity, a personal moment of compassion, an affirmation of the strength of Islamic women, and an image whose beauty forces us to look. #
This range of readings demonstrates neither a problem with the photograph nor a failure of criticism. To the contrary, it shows how photographs are polysemic and polyvalent – as part of their condition, they are inescapably open to multiple readings, and can often sustain different if not contradictory readings. The proliferation of clashing interpretations demonstrates the naturalist faith is untenable. If a photograph were just what it ‘is’ there would be nothing to discuss and the pictures’ public role would be minimal at best.
Our . . . → Read More: World Press discussion cont..
This week’s session was a departure from the scheduled one and saw the students debating the merits of the World Press Awards winner. We’re keen to hear your voice on this, the class decided almost unanimously that the image was unsuitable and should not have won. Discuss.
No task for next week, you’re in charge of that now ….. only three weeks to go…. but after having done a mural printing workshop today the attending students will be considering scale for final pieces.
Jonathan . . . → Read More: Week 6 roundup…
This week’s session saw the full gamut of emotions. It was the first class I’ve taken where students laughed, cried and then bounced off to make images full of enthusiasm. If you only visit one class this year then visit this one. Be inspired to make images in the dark by Gary Schneider and then be moved to think about why you take pictures at all by Graham Macindoe.
. . . → Read More: #picbod week 4 session notes and task
Today’s session took a different start to the one scheduled. Instead we re-visited what it means to be working openly as part of a virtual community and I’m afraid some students got put on the naughty step and so it went something like this……
“The open class only works if you feed it. You/we have to engage online, upload and share your work, comment on other people’s, tweet your notes and any links you think appropriate to the discussion etc. If we don’t then it doesn’t work. That was the deal when we set out and we all signed up to it – me included.”
.. and then it carried on a bit like this :
Everyone set up a twitter account (if you haven’t already) please set one up now and send me your twitter id.
Okay now set up a flickr account and send me your id.
Now send us your blog address.
Excellent. All of the tasks so far should be online put your best images on Flickr and tag them picbod.
Now sit back and listen to the Elinor Carucci interview and tweet your notes as you listen to it. Please tweet your notes and hash tag them #picbod so that . . . → Read More: #picbod Week 3 session notes
The following are notes from today’s ‘Intimate vs Private’ seminar and discussion:
Recap doing last week’s task, how did people find it?
Last week’s session was very practical. It was about creating / choosing an environment
that enabled our photographic encounter (we called it a negotiation).
Begin by going through the books and getting some feedback.
- Elinor Carucci ‘Closer’
- David Hilliard ‘Photographs’
- Larry Clark ‘Perfect Childhood’
- Larry Clark ‘Tulsa’
- Diane Arbus ‘diane arbus’
- Diane Arbus ‘Revelations’
- Susan Meiselas ‘Carnival Strippers’
- Barry Kay ‘The Other Women’
- Sally Mann ‘Immediate Family’
- Richard Avedon’The Sixties’
- Nan Goldin ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’
- Nan Goldin ‘Ballad of Sexual Dependency’
. . . → Read More: Seminar notes: Intimate vs Private
This week Elly Clarke gave a lecture titled ‘The Scientific Body’ to #picbod students. Elly’s notes from the lecture are below.
Leonardo da Vinci – Vitruvian Man and early anatomical drawings.
First known anatomical study of foetus in the womb.
Vitrivian Man as symbol of harmony and symmetry of the universe. (As opposed to Michaelangelo’s ideal bodies representing something close to God; this is about where man fits in with the whole universe, illustrated by his symmetry.)
Specola Collection in Florence – the first great collection of anatomical wax models; open to all since 1775. Religion/Reason. Philosophers argued that the supremacy of God was demonstrated in the perfection of the mechanics of the human body – which allowed for ‘dual reasoning’ (‘science’ and religion together, rather than them being counter to one another.) New discoveries seen by many to bolster religion, not dispel it. (Porter, 1997) Model makers strove for perfection in wax to mimic God’s handiwork.
In the eighteenth century, public displays of highly realistic wax anatomical models were intended to help reinforce and reify new medical and philosophical ideas about how the body and the mind function.
Influential text of the time: John Locke (1632-1704) Concerning Human Understanding proposed the notion of tabula rasa . . . → Read More: Lecture notes – Elly Clarke, The Scientific Body