The position of the photographer/the gesture of looking ‘inside’
Throughout the history of photography, we are exposed to environments we are yet to encounter for ourselves. Photographers such as Francesca Woodman introduces herself and other subjects within uncanny environments, forcing the viewer to intrude inside personal moments. Emphasising upon form which depict environmental portraits highlighting sensitive issues involving the human body. The viewer is truly immersed by the rawness behind Woodman’s viewpoint of herself and others. Long exposures capture movement forming an essence of her presence whilst contrasting with the ‘inside’ of the rooms.
We often take our surroundings for granted yet Woodman truly took advantage of the position she found herself in. Translated within interiors and the banal – subjecting the ‘inside’ as the basis of her photography is a knowable method to connect with an audience and express herself. The ‘inside’ can be seen as a safe place to anyone, we all have somewhere enclosed in which we seek comfort in. However, these photographs play with surrealism and carry an unsettling motion, situations in which we all seek to avoid yet feel interest in if exposed to.
Breaching the boundary point between the ‘inside’ and the viewer, leaves the photographer in a vulnerable position to expose the viewer to aspects of the world we overlook. The ‘inside’ is a vast environment bordering upon intrusive, who truly knows what occurs behind closed doors without such imagery.
Francesca Woodman, ‘providence, Rhode island, 1976’ 1976 (1976) Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/francesca-woodman-10512 (Accessed: 25 October 2016).
Francesa Woodman – surreal, notions of fear, environmental portrait
William Eggleston – timeless, photographing from the inside out, nostalgic
Where is the street today?
Street photography can be present in any given moment, wether captured through google street view or even CCTV, it is an unavoidable notion documenting the past 150 years. In spite of todays technology, photographers are persistent and still patiently wait for a shot. However, they are faced with new restricting laws and refined security. Unfortunately the increase in terrorism has also tarnished street photographers, creating suspicion towards their practice and to the extent of having to be granted official permits to shoot in certain public spaces. Even against this difficulty, photographers persevere and adapt to society as it is today, contributing to documenting our ever changing environment.
Howarth, S. and McLaren, S. (2011) Street photography now. New York: Thames & Hudson.
- Visual Exchange
- Reflects the individual
- Where the crowd is
- Cinematic moments
- Public spaces
- Wide Angle
- Dream like
- Negative space
Ansel Adams photographs centre around the sublime nature within Yosemite National Park. Depicted is a pure representation of a rock formation, provoking us with an overwhelming sense of danger through the sheer intensity and scale of the rock face, which contrast against the negative space behind. Adams perspective introduces nature as a far less calm environment compared to the picturesque landscapes documented regularly. Instead a more destructive feel is portrayed as if at any given moment the rock face may plummet below and out of our control.
Ansel Adams Monolith – The Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park 1927
Mark Power – 26 Different Endings 2003
In contrast, Mark Powers work bares witness to the everyday urban life. At first glance, the photograph can easily be read as another picturesque take on british life but with further inspection the banal elements creep through. His use of composition allows the eye to be tricked by the aura of the tree conflicting with the debris below. Powers organisation is somewhat simliar to Ansel Adams. Both have chosen to depict the scenes in front of them in their natural state despite possibly reflecting in a non-aesthetically pleasing manner. Their outcomes both form artefacts of these ephemeral subjects – the debris will eventually be removed and the rock face may morph over time from the elements. It is to say each photographer grasps upon the sublime in a simliar notion, allowing the viewer to appreciate spaces which are often overlooked whilst provoking you in a tolerable nature.
Susan Meiselas – Peasant supporters of FMLN. 1983
Depicted is a photograph taken by Susan Meiselas which portrays military subjects. As the viewer, the narrative is left to your own deconstruction of the subjects within. Focusing on their empty expressions, exhausted body language and fire arms held, the document clearly reflects the aftermath of a hostile war zone. There is a somewhat sense of hierarchy within the group due to the framing of the photograph. Meiselas has opted to only capture the lower body of the far left subject, thus leaving the viewer to their own interpretation. Are the subjects being forced against their will to be part of the war and lead by the faceless figure?
With the trust portrayed between the subject and photographer, we hope to assume Meiselas documentation is a faithful copy of events. The photograph bears witness to the war zone and therefore births a immortal record of a key moment in history. Without such record, it is possible any evidence of this event would not exist. Meiselas has exposed us to issues in which we haven’t yet experienced for ourselves. Shown through her choice of a wide angle supported by natural lighting which focally composes upon the age of the second subject, thus expanding the viewer interpretations of the narrative behind the photograph further.
Meiselas, S. and Magnum (2016) Latin America (1978-2004). Available at: http://www.susanmeiselas.com/latin-america/el-salvador/#id=liberatedzones (Accessed: 4 November 2016).