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THE PHOTO ESSAY

FROM LIFE TO MEDIASTORM

Eugene Smith Country Doctor 1948

Key themes
1. 2. 3. Function and Role of the Photo essay. The form of the Photo essay. Context and communication.

The photo essay in the context of documentary photography Defining and critiquing documentary Bearing witness
The selective dramatisation of facts in terms of their human consequences. John Grierson 1926 (An interest in the actual, not subjective, motivation to teach or instruct) A witness to events, recording, preserving motivated by a desire to communicate and pass on to others. Everything that happens in the world must be shown to the other people around the world this is the function of the vector that the documentary photographer must have, to show one persons existence to another Sebastiao Salgado

A documentary photograph even a truthful one, never really tells us anything. Even though it is rooted in the actual, it suggests and alludes, like poetry and music. However, documentary photography, as a form of representational reality is as close to truth, albeit poetic truth as anything other than experience can be (and even experience is mediated by memory) Michelle Bogre.

Politics, activism and advocacy.


A single image can make a change Ed Kashi An intent to communicate and the photographers unshakeable belief that the photograph has a unique ability to provoke emotion underlie all activist photography because the photograph is so uniquely suited to being able to balance intellectual and sensory understanding. Activists believe that the viewfinder can or maybe must be a political instrument Michelle Bogre Photo is a small voice, at best, but sometimes just sometimes one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into awareness W. Eugene Smith Activism is different even than issue orientated journalism because activism focuses on solutions Ive always wanted my photographs to be a voice for the oppressed, a voice for the people who didnt have a voice. Stephen Shames Yet photographys inability to cause change coupled with its open meaning and its typically western cultural perspective were key issues raised by 1970s postmodern critique. The expose, the compassion and outrage, of documentary fueled by the dedication to reform has shaded over into combinations of exoticism, tourism, voyeurism, phsycholgism and metaphysics trophy-hunting, and careerism.The liberal documentary assuages any stirings of conscience in its viewers the way scratching relieves an itch and simultaneously reassures them about their relative wealth and social position especially the latter, now that even the veneer of social concern has dropped ay from the upwardly mobile and comfortable social sectors Martha Rosler Decoys and Disruptions

Documentary photography as a public art. Recent discussion of the genre have revisited what is meant by change and have considered the relevance of the empathetic response and the way in which the documentary image can activate the culturally embedded values of social responsibility present in many cultures. In western democracies specifically this forces a connection and application of those values to the experiences of the citizens of other cultures countering attempts to place others outside that value framework. Hariman and Lucaites. Barbie Zelizer. Photography as part of activist action The photography is only the beginning. Documentary in relation to other organisation and action that enables the viewer to perceive a way of responding rather than remaining a passive observer. Only those born into or those from a culture or community can truly understand that culture or community Giving a voice to the subject does not necessarily negate the role of the photographer Jim Goldberg & text, Multimedia use of sound.

JIM GOLDBERG

Storytelling, constructive a narrative, evoking response.


A narrative gives meaning to our lives, meaning to why we are here.. Our shareable world is, as Aristotle put it, created by the art of storytelling - it is what we all have in common. (Kearney, Richard 2002 On Stories) Aesthetics as a valuable vehicle or an affectation blocking genuine reactions to tragedy Only those directly involved have the right to look Susan Sontag Regarding the Pain of others. No I dont think youre ever an objective observer. By making a frame youre being selective, then you edit the pictures you want published and youre being selective again. You develop a point of view that you want to express. You try to go into a situation with an open mind but then you form an opinion, and you express it in your photographs. Mary Ellen Mark So the problem for the photographer remains; how to create images and a sequence thats sustaining and engaging, but asks people to wait, to not think they know, but to be suspended and uncertain along with those pictured whose lives are unpredictable and unraveling. Susan Meiselas

Mary Ellen Mark Tiny Seattle, Washington 1983

Susan Meiselas Carnival strippers 1976 http://www.susanmeiselas.com/

SEBASTIAO SALGADO
I dont want anyone to appreciate the light or the palette of tones. I want my pictures to inform, to provoke discussion and to raise money. Sebastiao Salgado

To aesthetize tragedy is the fastest way to anesthetize the feelings of those who are witnessing it Ingrid Sichy 1991 New Yorker magazine.

Saldados images begin at compassion and led from there to further recognitions. One of the first of these further recognitions is that starvation does not obliterate human dignity. David Levi Strauss. Between the Eyes: essays on Photography & politics (New York: Aperture, 2005) I believe the average person can help a lot, not be giving material goods but by participating, by being part of the discussion, by being truly concerned about what is going on in the world. Biography Sebastiao Salgado. www.unicef.org/salgado/bio.htm.

I dont want anyone to appreciate the light or the palette of tones. I want my pictures to inform, to provoke discussion and to raise money. Sebastiao Salgado

W. EUGENE SMITH:

COUNTRY DOCTOR TO MINIMATA

What use is having a great depth of field, if there is no depth of feeling

MINIMATA 1971-73

Eugene Richards Dorchester Days Personal essays/books with the voice of subject and photographer through text.

Context & communication


A public art needs to reach its audience

Television and the decline of the photo magazine followed by the editorial move away from political & social issues towards lifestyle and celebrity in the weekend magazine reduced the possibility of distribution.

In response photographers turned to the gallery Others developed their own organisations, publications and websites to reach their audience. Although the ability to publish on the web is not a guarantee anyone will see the work nor does it necessarily provide an income. On line news creates a greater market for images but it is now rare that the photographer alone constructs an essay or is commissioned. Galleries of stories are edited from a number of photographers work to construct the narrative. NGOs have become major partners and publishers of work.

Changing media and audiences have changed the form of the photo essay.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/ 2011/oct/17/pakistan-kalash-valley-taliban - /?picture=380551856&index=0

AIRSICK BY LUCAS OLENIUK


http://mediastorm.com/publication/airsick In Airsick: An Industrial Devolution Toronto Star Photographer Lucas Oleniuk tackles the global issue of climate change through a local approach. With the exception of two images, all 20,000 photographs were shot in Ontario, Canada. But they illustrate a global problem.

With a haunting original score by Randy Risling and evocative quotes, Airsick plays out like an unsettling dream. "We're addicted to fossil fuels and our infrastructure reflects that," says Oleniuk. "My hope is that one day this film will be seen as the way we used to do things."

UNDESIRED BY WALTER ASTRADA


http://mediastorm.com/publication/undesired India is a diverse country, separated by class and ethnicity. But all women confront the cultural pressure to bear a son. This preference cuts through every social divide, from geography to economy. This preference originates from the belief that men make money while women, because of their expensive dowry costs, are a financial burden. As a result, there is a near constant disregard for the lives of women and girls. From birth until old age, women face a constant threat of violence and too frequently, death. The numbers are staggering. Since 1980, an estimated 40 million women are 'missing,' by way of abortion, neglect or murder. 7,000 female fetuses are aborted every day according to the U.N., aborted solely because they are girls. One dowry death is reported every 77 minutes. Countless others are never known. The government has tried to intervene. Dowry and sex selective abortions are illegal. Yet both practices still thrive, in large part because of deep-rooted cultural prejudices. Today, eighty percent of Indian states are now facing a shortage of women. To compensate for this differential, young, unknowing women are bought from surrounding countries like Bangladesh and sold to young bachelors. Not knowing a word of the language, these trafficked women now face the same kinds of violence as other Indian women.

Read more: Mothers of a Hundred Sons: India's Dying Daughters.

WORLD PRESS PHOTOS - 2011


NEVER LET YOU GO28 April 2009 ALEJANDRO KIRCHUK (ARGENTINA) Daily Life 1st prize stories www.alejandrokirchuk.com.ar

Monica lies in bed, while Marcos talks on the phone. Marcos, 89, and Monica, 87, have been married and living in their apartment in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for 65 years. In 2007, Monica was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Since that moment, her husband devoted all his time to take care of her. The disease is considered a future epidemic because it mainly affects older people, and as life expectancy is annually increasing in global population, the disease is becoming increasingly common

Monica holds the blanket, one of the only movements she could do during her last year of life.

Marcos carries dinner to Monica, while she lies in bed. Five years after the Alzheimers diagnosis, her food must be processed and pureed due to her difficulties with chewing.

Marcos sits on his bed. The disease brings with it a number of effects on the patient's caregivers, ranging from physical problems and stress to emotional conflicts.

Marcos fed Monica every day for more than three years. "I learned to be patient by caring and feeding her. Each meal is an hour by the clock."

Marcos cleans some items in the bathroom, while Monica lies in the orthopedic bed. According to a study by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, caregivers of patients dedicate an average of 18 hours to the patient

Monica lies in the orthopedic bed. She spent her last year of life bedridden and absolutely dependent on her husbands assistance.

Marcos looks for a photograph of the couple in his wallet. It absorbs you all day. In the morning I wake up, I give her breakfast and change her diaper. Then accompany the nurses to make the healing of bedsores. Then give her lunch, in the afternoon change the diaper and give a snack, and finally in the evening I give her dinner and I change the diaper again. You spend all day, practically.

Receiving cuddles and caresses helps Monica in connecting, at least for a few seconds. Physical contact with Alzheimer's patients is as important as other relevant medical care.

Marcos leads Monica from her bedroom room to the living room. Although at times he grumbles about the time devoted to her care, Marcos did not see any other possibility. Tell me where she is going to be better than here. I treat her like a princess, here she has everything.

Marcos brings flowers to his wifes grave on her birthday. Monica died in their apartment, in Marcos's hands, as he was going to change her diaper. He visits her grave at least once a month in the cemetery.

Marcos looks out at the flowers on the balcony. Nowadays, he's facing probably the hardest moments of his life, not only because of loneliness and living without his wife, but also because he has to find a new life at age 89.

http://mediastorm.com www.foto8.com Vervephoto.wordpress.com www.blueearth/org www.daylightmagazine.org www.anthropographia.org www.documentography.org www.viistories.com www.worldpressphoto.org