Thoughts on Part One

What was your idea of documentary photography before you worked on Part One?
How would you now sum it up?

My initial thoughts on documentary photography saw it as a genre documenting truth and reality with fairly strict boundaries creatively. A method to record a story, record history, important social or political events.

I now see it has more possibilities and fluidity creatively. Ideas can be presented in a unique creative way to tell a story rather than simply recording a series of events with a camera, shots could be staged to represent a thought process or message as part of the overall story. I guess that’s where the artistic element seeps in. The work of Paul Seawright was a good example of this, reflecting many years after an event in his documentary photography in an unconventional way.

What are the differences between documentary, reportage, photojournalism and
art photography?

I think the genres were maybe once more defined, they have now become or are becoming less clear which could be a good thing as genre definitions are not always accurate but they do help to understand  a topic when learning.

For me Documentary photography is a more in depth study of a subject matter, a more detailed approach whereas the likes of photo-journalism and reportage relates more to the news media for example in the tabloids, magazines and new channels and used to support a news story. You could say the difference between Panorama and the 10’oclock News on the BBC.

There has been some interesting reading and learning for me through part one of this unit but I have also found a lot more that I don’t like, this is a voyage of discovery and it is always best to be honest with yourself along the journey. I am deeply sceptical of news media, I find like a lot of people these days that I don’t really know who to trust and it can feel that way sometimes with the photography that supports it.My body cringes and tightens with frustration at the thought of Commercial Photography and Advertising. Street Photography….argh! I understand other photographers thrive on it, or its how they earn a living, their bread and butter. That’s totally kewl but its not me and I don’t want to focus my energy too strongly in that direction if I can help it. I have a really strong interest in Wildlife, Nature, the Environment and Landscape photography. It lifts me up and inspires me. I am really developing an interest for Photography that reflects on the Social mood or commentary and the power of self creation through Art Photography.

It is all part of developing a personal voice, a personal understanding of the world and where I fit or don’t fit in,  that really fascinates me.



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