"Survey" by David Company
“Survey” by David Campany helped introduce me to the many different times of photography and more importantly how it can affect history and people.
“…he inverted the idea of the lone, self-expressive artist into a mesmerisingly blank mirror of consumer culture.”
“”[Photography] had been placed in the service of science, the law, news and other institututions as proof. Photographs were given an enormous amount of authority in daily life, supposedly telling us how the world is and what is important in it.”
When reading this, I was interested in the 1960s, not merely for the photography, but because of what the art did. First with Pop art, Andy Warhol took photographs and added a twist, which turned to focus on “consumer culture”. While this was happening, photography was finally being seen as a type of science, and it helped society see how the rest of the world besides them is living and what is, and should be, important. Without and social media, internet, common cameras, etc., the majority of society actually believed whatever photographers chose to show. So really, they could shape the world as they desired.
It is common to believe that photography is merely a hobby or something anyone can do. Ask the majority of people (who aren’t interested in photography) and you are likely to get that answer. I’ve always loved photography and thought it much more than that, and this article proves it. It shows just how influential photography was in history and still is today. It can show a life people may never live, reality, or even some type of alter-reality; this is up to the photographer, which is why it is an art. For instance, one thing that stood out for me was the part on feminism. It wasn’t because it was feminism specifically, but this formed the theory of representation, which is largely what photography is about. Photography is something that has been in history for quite sometime and has shaped the world so much as we know it, and it will continue to do so for the rest of time.
Roland Barthes Reflection
Roland Barthes was a French philosopher. He published an article called Camera Lucida around 1979 to show his point of view about photography. He talked about understanding desire and nature of photography. He said, “what the photography reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the Photography mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially.” I love this quote because I think it really defines photography. What he is trying to say is that experiences in life happen only once, yet a photograph can capture that experience and replay in an endless number of times. While memories can get distorted and twisted over time, for good and for bad, photographs show it like it is. They never lie or change anything; they show it exactly like it is whether it’s pain, happiness, melancholy, or anything in between. It is, as Barthes says in Buddhism, “sunya”, or, “the void”.
According to Roland Barthes, “Every photography is a certificate of presence.” I think it is really clear what he is trying to say. He tries to explain if you have an image in your hand, it shows that at one point in life that person or that object existed. There’s no doubts or question, it’s not something in your mind or imagination—it’s real and factually there.
Not many people see this in pictures. While they may take it to produce a memory, it is astounding at how much of an impact it can really have. A photograph is essentially proof of life, and capturing the moments of your life in many photographs is how to put a life together and cherish it.
Elliott Erwitt was born in France and he was a documentary photographer. He lived in California and Pittsburgh. His work is iconic work all around the world. He created advertisements, illustrations, essays, TV programs, and documentaries. He is mostly known for his photography skills. He captures small moments in life that are funny, sad, and mostly interesting. Most of his photographs show oddities caught in the moment. He also captured many moments that have made history. His pictures are real and they define a style and a single point of view that combines irony and small moments. He took most memorable photos of the 20th century, including portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Che Guevara. He was an eyewitness to history and a dreamer with a camera. His pictures were published in the international press and in more than twenty books.
He is a great photographer and I really love his pictures. One thing I love about his pictures is that they are not edited. They are natural setting pictures. I enjoy looking at his pictures and his sense of humor in every picture. He is one of my favorite photographers. I love how his photographic style proves that "elegance entails a simple purity of purpose" He sees what we see everyday, but he captures a moment or a perspective that transforms the ordinary into high art. Also, I love how his pictures are in black and white. It gives another point of view to the pictures.
I wish I was taking awesome pictures like him but he is an expert and we can learn so much from him. I love the way he used natural setting and travelled around the world. This is my dream; I want to take pictures that are similar to his. I love the use of contrast, black and white, in his image. It’s like he staged the pictures but they are actually just a natural setting. Sometimes I think people want to stage too many things and don’t capture the moment that is escaping them. I was amazed by his use of framing in his photos; they look really symmetrical. I know I need to work on framing so I think using his photographs as a guide will really help me. I like the way he only focused on the content instead of the overall form of the picture.
Sontag was an American writer and a filmmaker. In her book she wanted to discuss the problems raised by the presence of photography. She claimed it was a really good idea to study photography. By study, she meant to look at them and learn how to see and educate yourself. Photography shouldn’t just be a photo; she claims it should be about how one sees the world and how it changes the way one sees. She claims photography shouldn’t be about going out there and taking pictures—Sontag herself doesn’t even take any pictures. She said “there are a lot of other people taking them and that’s for the moment enough for me; and I feel already do see photographically.” She wants her readers to know you don’t have to go out there and take pictures to be a photographer; you can instead take other people’s work and turn into photography. According to the dictionary, a photographer is a person who takes photographs. Sontag is not a photographer because she doesn’t take pictures. However, she uses photography to express herself. She said, “my writing about photography represents the expression, in a certain sense.” She wants people to know you don’t have to take the picture to write about it. You don’t have to know about a picture to write about it. A photo can create so many writing themes for someone. She said, “the camera is this thing which can capture the world for you.” I strongly agree with her. The camera itself is an awesome invention; and it is the only tool that can take us back to “history.” However, a photo has an art in it that sometimes we forget to think about. You forget to learn from that one picture. Many of us ignore the art in the picture or we just don’t think photography as a part of art. However in her book she wanted to point out photography does really exist; a photo is just a piece of something and then it becomes important when you add the photography and your description of the photo. Her main focus was that photography destroys the boundaries and definition of art; someone can just take a picture and call it “photography”, without even discovering what it means. In the reading she questions the real meaning of photography—its purpose and future, and she also forces readers to consider the idea that photography is not just buying a camera and taking a bunch of pictures.
She says every time I look at the picture I see something else. According to Sontag, “photographs are these portable objects which are changed by their context.” She compared the films and photography; she claimed she likes film better because it has proper context and it’s available for everyone. For example, when I go to the movie theater with my friends and we watch a movie, we all have somewhat the same idea after the movie. However, if my friends and I were to look at a picture and put a context to it, we all will have different interpretations. She doesn’t like photography because of the different context that it can provide us; however, this is why I like photography because one picture can have a million meanings. Also, a photo has more memorable context, you can watch three minutes of film and not describe a single thin—at the same time, you can look at a picture and remember everything about it.