Guest Lecture David Campbell : Narrative, Power and responsibility

David says how in  photo journalism and documentry photography that there tends be some very powerful off repeated commonly sited ways of thinking about the relation of the image and the world, an image an politics and what the image can do in terms of compacity for change and this becomes a form of justification a rational for fair amount of photography practise and its worth in questioning that. David says a quote from tod papa george, a photographer that has been working through the 1960’s onwards and has been noticied through out the past few years.  Quote: If your pictures aren’t good enough, then you are not reading enough.

The question of narrative and context are fundamental in anything, preparing and producing photographic work thats interesting he thinks that work that is most powerful is the work that understands itself and its own context of production and distribution and publication but context in the issues it is trying to portray visually in the images, he thinks that behind the better work. David is saying really about a relationship between the idea of a story, to the idea of an event or an issue and as no automative relationship. Between these things and the story that you produce overtime through images, through associate form of representation and so on.  A story will have a connection to an event or an issue or a place or a person but the relationship, the making of a relationship is between an event, issue and something that is specific to time and spaces to this larger story. He also says that narrative is making the whole set of practise of mediations that makes events, issues and other things appear to us as it locates them in storys, it locates them in ways in telling dimension of those things that we can transmit information about those events about those issues to other people and its because of that in any project.

Research and reading helps you to show that way you narrate. A narrative is not something that you just pick up and absorb, its your project of showing narrative, this can help by listening to other people that narrate those things.

When david says that research and reading is a source of help to show a narrative this refers back to what papa george says that if pictures aren’t good enough, it means your not reading enough and also if your pictures arent good enough then you are not close enough. The research is how much you want to find out and get to know your subject, the closeness tells the narrative more in a project, it becomes more truthfull in a way.  David also says even though you want to show every little bit of a story you can’t, you have to include and exclude to create a narrative. I can see what David means, there is a process you have to take when creating a narrative, if the story goes on for to long then it starts to drag and then you can lose your reader/viewer, breaking down the story will make it stand out and this is the process of excluding. You have to be aware of what is being excluded and included throughout creating a narrative.

He explains that one of the reasons why narrative is extremely powerful is because it offers a sense of cohearence, if offers a sense of purpose eventhough life itself doesn’t have that. That sense is the subjects the voice, that is what a narrative so powerful, it is not a text, a text you dont get that sense of the subject but in an audio that is added to photographs then it does make them more powerful, giving the subject a voice.

The power of narrative it is the dessire, we dessire storys that offer us that look like they can give us a beginning and an end, even if we know that thats so simple, even if we know that it is not exact. It is the dessire we have to events and issues in life that we seek completness. So what David is saying we strive for a story, we view the story and it offers us a sense of that completness of our own lives. For example we see that there has been a flooding, we want to find out more, whether it has effected people, what the causes of the flood was and also what is happening now, looking in to headlining news they catch us, if there is something going on in the world we have the dessire to find out more and to look in to it more as it is of interest of us.  So a good start of a narrative is that catching point to wheel the viewer in.

David thinks that the most important thing is individuals and the context of the storys and the question that you ask about this is how can individual a person, in body or reveal the large issue that you think is relevent to the story you are doing.

So this person may have a story that isquite common in the world and it is the context that you put in to the story that makes this one story stand out to the others.

This lecture from David Campbell I have found really interesting and it has helped alot, there are the main points that tell what story you are trying to tell, the most important. I have found in past projects I have always told the story wrong because I look at the story and try and fit everything in. I never consider the main point that would portray this main part of the story perfectly. I have felt that I have photographed the story in the wrong way, the photographs did not link to the story I was trying to tell. The lecture will definetly help with future projects, reading in to the story and finding the parts that are the most important in the story will be what I will look out for and this will create a more powerful narrative.


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