Visual Narrative – The Importance of Context.

Within storytelling, Photography has always been a way to translate narrative from one person to another. There are many theories and relationships between the photographic image and the world, the most important thing I want to focus on is my intentions from my work from my intentions for my work.

Below are the key factors I will consider, research into and aim to include into my work:

Who? – Who the work is aimed at
What? – What the work is trying to achieve
Where? Is the intention evident in my work
When? When/ In which era or timeframe is my work set, are issues surrounding this considered and related back to my work.
How? How I believe I am being successful/ How am I controlling intent. How am I gaining interaction – by how its disseminated/printed/edited.
Why? Why does my work have meaning/ What isn’t coming across to others.. Why is this.

From listening to an audio book by David Campbell he talks for around an hour about how the image and it’s relationship to the world through varied well known photographers work and their narratives.
Campbell discusses Todd Papa George and how an observation was made by himself about Robert Cappa’s famous phrase ‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough’ where Cappa talks about how close said photographer is to taking a successful image, whereas Todd Papa George reinvented Cappa’s phrase and made it his own by saying ‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t reading enough’ in which he was relating to the absolute need to understand the issues and context behind the reason for taking an image before it is shot. To him this is important as it is the very initial stages of research and how a story is told/developed to make it successful. Campbell then  goes on to talk about the relationship between the story and the issue at hand which can be controlled by the Photographer, we narrate the events and we are the storytellers.
Construction is then mentioned, how including and excluding certain aspects make the angle comprehensive although not everything is included.
When looking at Linear or non Linear narratives there is mostly always a sense of time, space, drama, causation and personification. The event is the narration, the effect on surroundings, people.

Context is important to narrative which links to knowing the exact story you want to tell and having done your research before you go to take your images or film.

Lecture 4 class exercise :
In our fourth lecture we were given a number of 12 images of individuals in which a number of them were said to be criminals. This was much more difficult than first anticipated as it was a tough decision on whether to judge on what society sees to be as a criminal. Afterwards the answers were revealed and we were then asked to consider in which the time the photos would have been taken, such as how society would have viewed certain aspects in the 1940’s (Women smoking, wearing hats indoors) as to how we view them now – they are being viewed now in completely different context and these things are now seen as acceptable.

This exercise made me consider how the camera can lie due to how they have been lit, whether shot from a flattering/unflattering angle, the distance between the camera and the subject and whats in the shot all leads us as the viewer into making assumptions.

Below are images from the session:


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