Talk the talk |Week 10: Theory in Practice| Positions and Practice

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[Disclaimer – Unfortunately, due to major time restraints and difficult living circumstances, I will be taking notes in my physical journal, but my thought sharing posts for the remaining weeks of module ones lessons will be shorter than my previous blog posts, they will be back to normal for the second module, apologies]

 In conversation

I took some statements from this weeks interview with Colin Pantall and will share my thoughts on these.

 “and the internet happened as well which subsequently would have killed it anyway.”

– Quite a statement, one that I personally agree with, but the way he says this with such certainty, I can imagine someone who would disagree becoming quite triggered.

“the internet was still going and it really gave me an idea that your photographs aren’t necessarily what you say they are. When they go out in the public’s sphere, they’re open to all kinds of interpretations. So you really have to shape them.”

– This was interesting, it’s good that he mentions “it really gave me an idea” as opposed to just saying “photographs aren’t what you say they are” alone. I felt I could really learn of this as I believe it to be quite true which is another example of how critical theory can help us grow. I do think having to shape your images mower days is becoming increasingly more important.

“I think photographers aren’t that smart in story-telling and you get people who make excuses like oh the pictures tells the story or this tells the story or you can draw your own conclusions and I don’t think we should really be doing that.”

– Personally, i’d say ‘some‘ photographers aren’t that ‘good‘ in story telling. Being someone who not only suffers from dyslexia leading to difficulties in both grammar and getting my point across in words (hence one for the reasons I love photography), but hugely appreciates the aesthetic values of an image, I wouldn’t say its fair to say that all photographers aren’t “smart” in story telling. I also wouldn’t agree that these reasons mentioned are “excuses” as I actually enjoy letting the audience come to their own conclusion when viewing a image of mine, they own their perspective after all.

“They’re more interested in photography than ever before, but it might not be the particular kind of photography we’re interested in. How can we get more people interested in that. I think, tell better stories is one thing.

– Again, a statement in which I believe I can grow from. I have always been more drawn to the ascetic values of a photograph alone and I do think I need to become better at explaining the stories for my photographs to give them more depth.

“So different people have different interpretations of what these pictures mean. So if you ask one person, it’s like that to me and you think, if you ask another person, there’ll be a particular meaning for it and stories will clash.”

– I mentioned in my previous post a similar description of critical theory and how the stories that would come from one another from diving deep into an image can help us learn. However, in this case, I’d have to say that the word “clash” is a tiny bit strong. This normally wouldn’t bother me, I don’t disagree with what he is saying, it makes sense, but critically evaluating the words, to me the word clash revolves around fighting, arguing, aggressiveness. Call me a peacekeeper, but i’d settle along the lines of “stories would be exchanged“, just because I believe the aim of critical theory is more to grow, not clash.

In all an interesting interview, I particularly found the talk about the opposition Margret – Chronicle of an affair against Sally Mann’s family album.

Theory in practice

What do you think are the effective means of communicating and contextualising photographic work?

First off by being respectable to others when stating your opinion about someones else’s work from your own. I think its best to remind ones self to use works like “I think” or “in my opinion” when critical describing (easier said than done I know), as we all scientifically have different perspectives as human beings and I believe that should be respected. Especially, when talking about someone else’s creation.

I think its good to open up, get right down to the core of what photography and your images mean to you. Your intentions, motivations, what you think the images portrays and how you think others will perceive it before hearing another’s feedback. I see it as a never ending rabbit hole, the question ‘why?’ can be asked again and again when viewing an image to give it a deeper meaning.

What are the things that you should avoid?

I think you should avoid not listening or showing interest to someone else perspective, you may of course not agree, but at least hear them out. I think when contextualising an opinion an avoidance of sounding arrogant would be preferable, for example, talking as if it’s ‘your way or the high way’ reduces any space for growth and is also not an approachable/interactive manner. Any harsh, offensive words to other photographers work should also be avoided as you don’t want to offend the creator of an image.

How might you find new ways to do this?

By inventing a cable that sticks into the back of your head connected to your thoughts/vision that is linked to a computer for others to view.. Just kidding. But who knows that might happen one day. On a serious note, I think when describing a photograph of your own or another’s, it would be interesting to create a questionnaire with broken down individual questions like ‘how did you feel when you first viewed this image’ or ‘in one word, describe how you feel after knowing that this photo was actually..’ etc etc.. I think you get the picture (pun by accident). The results could then be stuck into a graph or a spread sheet, breaking down someones reaction to a photograph in a more scientific/mathematical scale. This is something I may actually try for my project.



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