Practice in Context week three

Ways of seeing

Outdates? – made in the 1970s however what is being said is rather forward thinking.

  • its interesting his comments about what he said about

The narrative of images

Benetton adverts are renowned for being controversial

Here is an example of one of their adverts below:


It is controversial due to the fact that it is a black woman breastfeeding a white child. You immediately think that the child is not biologically the Mother’s child and breastfeeding is quite an intimate thing that it breaks a boundary and is unusual to the audience.


Subjective and Objective

  • Objective – you list what is in it, therefore it’s factual
  • Subjective – opinion based. It works differently for different people and how you interpret it. Personal history, like and dislikes play a part of this.


‘Their First Murder’ – 1941 in New York City (USA)

  • Shown the photograph on the left initially, it is hard to understand what is going on.
  • Until you see the story to accompany the

Migrant Mother 



Migrant Mother, Dorothy Lange 1936

Californian farmworker, aged 32, sold her tent and car to buy food for her children. Living on scavenged vegetables and wild birds. Working for the federal government Dorothea Lange took pictures to document the depression. Dust Bowl ravaging lives.


The importance of having an open press

  • allowing anything to be documented and uncontrolled by any government organization.
  • Photographers such as Don McCullen in Vietnam on the front line which provoked the protests.
  • However it is therefore down to the press what they print and many stories are ignored or overlooked. Furthermore it has made our paparazzi the most ferocious and vicious in the world.


Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Company



Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Manhattan, New York City on March 25, 1911 was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in US history.


Napalm Girl 

  • The image is cropped – therefore taking out the context as the photojournalists are taken out of the photograph.
  • The photograph allowed


Photography used for colonization




  • asserting control over people
  • showing native people from native lands
  • connected to society – what it makes us become throughout identity.





Male and female stereotypes

Although not photography, it is interesting to see the way in which images have changed socially and who might be presented as being in power or ownership.

Four Views of an Aboriginal female – 1870 – (below) although not the original a photograph a similar photograph none the less.




  • Objectifying people as an object
  • using them as a commodity
  • it makes them become inanimate







‘a photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image) an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or deathmask.’


Thomas Ruff, Portraits, 2000

Passport-like images, with the upper edge of the photographs situated just above the hair, even lighting, the subject between 25 and 35 years old



The resulting Portraits depict the individual persons – often Ruff’s fellow students framed as in a passport photo, typically shown with emotionless expressions, sometimes face-on, sometimes in profile, and in front of a plain background.






7 year, Trish Morrissey, 2004


Happy Accidents – makes the audience feel like they are part of something

  • it feels honest to the audience
  • used in fashion to endear to the audience
  • fake authenticity
  • example Victoria Beckham


  • the photos which were altered in the communist regime of Russia.
  • To begin with to people were not aware of image manipulation.stalin-photoshop-doctored-airbrushed-out-enemy.jpg






Repeating imagery 

Abu Ghraib – 2004


  • The reality of the American military machine
  • the exposure of it all
  • thanks to digital media there photographers were exposed
  • Guantanamo bay was visualized from the rumors that had be heard

National Geographic – digitally edited the cover of their magazine and it changed what people though of a truthful magazine.


Time Magazine – digitally darkening OJ Simpson’s skin

Adding to persona of being bad evil.


The Decisive Moment – choosing that moment to change it and have something different and captures the audience’s attention.

Task – Looking at Photographs, Victor Burgin – summarizing what the extract says

  • we see photographs everywhere, every day in everything we see
  • it builds the world around us
  • when we look at the beauty of the image we don’t see the process of it
  • can be used as a form of communication
  • photographs need a title or caption to explain the context
  • the connotations denote a meaning

Photography is indexical insofar as the represented object is “imprinted” by light and the chemical (or electronic) process on the image, creating a visual likeness that possesses a degree of accuracy and “truthfulness” unattainable in purely iconic signs such as painting, drawing, or sculpture. – in a selfie the arm becoming a feature that must point into the image and show where to look towards the focal point

“Photography is unlike art because you are looking at something real.” 


Berger – believes that there is still a segregation between men and women in photography as there is in renassance art.

  • Beger that in society believes women are to be looked at and for men to look at them
  • he argues in art women are used to be observed, raising this the negative sense that in society there is this bigoted view of the way things should be.
  • looking at an image where the model looks at the camera directly – when they see you they know that you see them and there is the constructive relationship
  • He believes that is makes women see this relationship that men see women in advertisement in this way and therefore women want to be seen in this way by men and if in advertisement this will have this effect.
  • the engaging gaze
  • Manet, Dejeuner Sur L’herbe, circa 1863 – the female clearly objectified as she is in the nude next to the fully clothed men
  • Mario Sorenti 1999 – creates the opposite to the previous painting


  • It was seen for a woman to look directly at the male gaze was scandalous. The female was too engaged and in control –
  • more recently it has changed to men – eg. Mark Jacobs BANG
  • legs open showing some availability
  • fashion and particularly perfume – has taken it to a very explicit side
  • Sisley – 1990s fashion advertisement was the heigh of explict advertisment campaigns.
  • DSQUARED2 – the disempowerment of women
  • Dolce Gabbana – looking away with the disempowerment away
  • Terry Richardson, 2007

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