PHOTOGRAPH Visual Documents
Time to explore more categories of photography, or photographic genres. The three types we will look at are documentary, portraiture, and photojournalism.
From the beginnings of photography, the photograph provided a visual document or record of people, possessions, and places. The invention of the Leica, 35mm camera, which eliminated the need to lug around large equipment, made way for Photojournalism as the medium for news gathering. In its heyday from the 1930s to the 1950s the magazines, Life and Look, printed newsworthy events through picture stories, or photo essays. You will be visiting the famous Life Magazine (now online) for our field trip this week. Your essay will allow you to explore one documentary photographer and discuss the power of the photograph on our society.
Portraiture is one of the most common ways that the camera has been used to document our social world around us. A photographer who chooses the setting, pose, backdrop, props, lighting and point of view can be represent people in many different ways. Your camera project for week eleven will allow you to make such decisions in capturing the people around you, and give you the opportunity to use photography to reflect your own personality in a self portrait.
Right up to this moment are photojournalists around the world making images in still and moving format for our consumption. The camera project for week twelve calls for you to be a photojournalist who will report an event as it unfolds in front of your camera.
Visual Documents (essay assignment below)
The photograph as visual a visual document may be Victorian “snapshots” or cartes-de-visite, studies in motion by Muybridge, or Atget’s Parisian street scenes. Select a photographer, perhaps Eugene Atget, Gordon Parks, August Sander, Diane Arbus, Dorothea Lange, Robert Frank, Lewis Hine, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, or another, whose work demonstrates the concept of the photograph as a document. When and where did the photographer make the images? For what purpose? Who was the intended audience? Using specific examples, explain how the photographs fit the definition of “document” as it applies to photography.
After reading the articles concerning the validity of digital images, do we “read” visual documents differently today?
As with all essays, your information needs to be cited within the text (including citing all images) and include a works cited in either a MPA or APA format. I am looking for quality writing, and would assume that your essay should be at least two pages (aside from any inserted images).
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