For the start of the introduction to this double cat module, we have been set the task to find three photo essays and one video and write some commentary on them.
- Video. The video I looked at was from Foto8 and was the story of boy named Iñaki who is a 10 year old who suffers with Asperger’s Syndrome, but is still very gifted for his age. It is called ‘Through Me’.
After watching the video partially, I began to see things I did and didn’t like about the video. The first thing I noticed was that the photographer documenting his life, looked like she had used a mix of cameras as there are some parts of the video, especially at the beginning where the visual quality looks more alike to a phone camera. I don’t think this detracts from what is trying to be conveyed in the narrative. If anything, I feel it enhances it as having that mix of different video quality it gives it a more personal feel as he is clearly comfortable with her being around and in that close contact with her.
I found that the video was focused around one person but still allowed for the interviewing of lots of other important people in the subjects life which I really liked as it opened up lots of separate perspectives and stories. The use of photographs from when he was younger were used well within the video, especially when his grandmother was talking about things he’d do as a child and then we as an audience saw the photographs illustrating it.
The fact that the photographer spent two years creating this photo narrative, really shows in the length of the material that she has collected and put together, but as a downside, I do feel that the video goes on for quite a while and unless you are completely engaged with the topic, it can become repetitive in its format. I also didn’t like that it took so long to get into the video and the verbal . The imagery at the beginning felt a bit random to me and I felt this could have been done better.
2. Photo Narrative. The first photo narrative I looked at was on The British Journal of Photography and was a series made by Sarah White. It is named ‘Wabi-sabi: Sarah White Celebrates the Accidents of Analogue’ and focuses on what people would sometimes call ‘mistakes’ in film photography and instead celebrates them.
I like the fact that not every image is perfect but they all work in a sequence when they are put together. Her photography also pinpoints her ideas towards ethics in photography considering we live in an age where digital retouching is common and a standard.
As a story narrative I don’t think it works to tell the story of one person or a particular ‘story’ in general because it is more a story based around mistakes of analogue, which is the thing all the images have in common, but I don’t think this topic creates a narrative as such. So as a story, I don’t think this is particularly the best example. I feel there is a valid point being made but at the same time I also feel it is not a great narrative story actually exploring a story.
3. Photo Narrative. The second photo narrative is 17 images in a sequence and is by J A Mortram. The series is called ‘Market Town : Helena : Every day is a morning after’. Out of the photo narratives I have looked at myself so far, this is one that I feel has the best narrative feel about it. It is clearly documenting the story of a troubled girl with a very prominent story to tell. It is very deep and focuses on problems that are happening not just to her but also within society and how they can affect and individual and the responses they take as a result.
Majority of the images are in black and white, and I am unsure whether this was a style choice or whether this was the format it was shot in. I can see the reason why the photographer may have chosen to convey this subject in black and white because of the nature of the topic and the dark mood it can set but I also think that it could have worked well in colour, especially towards the end when it appears there are some good things beginning to happen for the subject. There’s a beautiful combination of lighting sources in the images which I really like and it helps to create really strong images. The captions on the images are useful and do convey some information which also helps add to the narrative. There’s a good combination of varied shots, close ups, far out shots and not every one is portraiture which I feel creates the scene and allows an insight into how they are living.
I think, at times, it can be a little wordy in the writing and although every piece of information is important, you do find yourself skipping over a few things.
4. Photo Narrative. The third narrative I looked at was by Liz Hingley in a series called ‘Under Gods’. I was really intrigued by the religious aspect of the narrative she is creating in this visual story and the captions she provides give a sense of context. She has also given a short introduction the narrative but most of her speaking is done though her images and I really love this within her work.
I feel the narrative is good because there are many shots of different things in different locations, including people and environments they are in. I get a sense that it is not just the people that are important in this story narrative but also the places and how they treat them in their course of worship and I think Hingley has been quite successful in the way she maps out different aspects whilst still being considerate.
There is nothing I don’t really like about this series, because although she hasn’t exclusively followed one person or one religion, I still feel that it works as a narrative in exploring religion, even if it is not as in depth as other narratives may be. So I feel although she could have focused more on one particular subject, I don’t think what she has done is in anyway bad and has instead widened the scope for this narrative.