Negative News Obsession. (Explicit Imagery)

Forum 2: Viewer or Voyeur

Please have a look at the following links and share your thoughts regarding the
morality and ethics of reportage photography.

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/mar/08/world-press-photo-sean-ohagan

 http://channel.tate.org.uk/media/1115319613001

 http://www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/shaped-by-war-photographs-by-don-mccullin

Stoned to Death.

Farah Abdo Warsameh’s Stoned to Death, Somalia, 13 December. Photograph: AP.

My Response:

Why are we obsessed with negative news?

It occurred to me from scanning newspapers everyday that the ratio of negative reportage is unbelievably high compared to the positive. What I wanted to find out was why are we so obsessed as viewers with negative news?

The work of evolutionary psychologist and neuroscientists suggest that we seek dramatic and negative events as our brain craves negative energy, our negative brain tripwires are far more sensitive than the positive and therefore we experience fear more than happiness. We have much more access to the wider world now due to social networking and the media focusing on the negative news constantly creates an atmosphere of fear and stress for the reader as they’re overwhelmed by horrific stories, however as we’re hard-wired to this we share and talk about these dramatic cases much more than the good news when it occasionally comes around. Of course, this is great publicity for the publications, the more shocking their front page headline and accompanying picture is grabs our attention even if we are sickened by it and this compels us to find out more about the situation from shock and intrigue more than the rare positive news, which only seems to be about trashy TV shows and smug gold-plated assholes like Simon Cowell these days.

Reading and seeing negative news all the time stimulates a state of depression and those who indulge in the bad news become stressed and are more likely to make rational unwise decisions which are influenced by consumerism, notice since the recession consumer sales in entertainment has risen rapidly as we constantly try to fix what we cannot mentally escape, even those who don’t read the news are generally still surrounded by it everyday due to conversation or social media.

Essentially bad news makes us think that we feel good about ourselves and we continue to read it, by this the media have us wrapped around their little fingers in fear and control. However, there is no reason why we cannot equal the balance out by simply surrounding yourself with positivity whatever that may be to you.

Photography and The Law.

Forum 1: Photography and The Law

Between 1999-2001 Philip-Lorca diCorcia photographed pedestrians in Times Square, NYC.
The resulting works were shown at Pace/MacGill Gallery in Chelsea. When Erno
Nussenzweig, an Orthodox Jew and retired diamond merchant from Union City,
N.J., saw his picture in the exhibition catalogue, he sued diCorcia and Pace
for exhibiting and publishing the portrait without permission and profiting
from it financially. The suit sought an injunction to halt sales and
publication of the photograph, as well as $500,000 in compensatory damages and
$1.5 million in punitive damages.The suit was eventually dismissed by a New
York State Supreme Court judge who said that the photographer’s right to
artistic expression trumped the subject’s privacy rights.

Mr. Nussenzweig’s lawyer, Jay Goldberg, told The New York Law Journal that his
client “has lost control over his own image” he went on to say
“It’s a terrible invasion to me,” Mr. Goldberg said. “The last
thing a person has is his own dignity.”

When is it right or ethically wrong to make an image? Think of yourself in the
position of the subject and ask yourself, am I happy to be photographed and be
unaware of it?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/17/arts/17iht-lorca.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/21532400

Head Series

Phillip Lorca diCorcia, Head Series, 2001. 

My response: 

This court case raises awareness of just how easy it is to photograph someone without them knowing. If we’re having any kind of dig at Lorca diCorcia for invasion of privacy then we ought to be reminded that he’s not even close to the only one doing so. We’re constantly being watched by CCTV alone, isn’t this an invasion of privacy or is it for our own good? I believe it’s for our own good as personally I’ve been involved in an incident on public transport to which I was disgusted to find out afterwards that there was no CCTV and I had no physical evidence of what happened. Of course it’s quite scary to know we’re potentially being constantly recorded in public but if it’s for our own safety then I can’t say that I mind.

As for Lorca diCorcia I appreciate his work and the look he was trying to achieve, however I do feel that there should have been some consent from the people he photographed afterwards out of curtsy more than anything. At least then he wouldn’t have had the hassle of the court case, even if he did win. If I was the subject I’d be flattered that someone wanted to use a photograph of me for artistic merit and appreciate that they’d asked permission even after they’d taken it. It seems ethically a little unjust to exhibit an image of someone without their authorization.

#Hashtags.

Proof that hashtags, tags and self promotion get’s your work seen!

An unexpected share from the Roman Road’s facebook page of my short review has motivated me to focus my main review for the project on this show. Without sending my short review to them I found by ‘liking’ their facebook page that their social media team has read my short review and shared it, which unexpectedly made me feel quite proud.

I have decided I will write my main review on this show as out of all the shows I have seen in 2014 this one has been occupying my mind the most. The seriousness of the powerful work displayed and curated in this particular way at Roman Road has a overwhelming affect on ones state of mind. Although quite dark issues I feel they are extremely important and raising awareness of this can perhaps help to eliminate aspects of these horrific situations the refugees face. In order for an individual to simply better their life is absurd to think that some people have no choice but to risk death before the opportunity arises.

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Even This Will Pass, short review available at: https://daniellepughvisualexploration.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/even-this-will-pass/

 

Watermarks.

Watermarks, are the pretentious or sensible?

I find that personally it’s the only way a photographer can protect their work from theft. We all see thousands of images floating around over the web day in and day out but unfortunately not everyone is as respectful to credit them, at least with a watermark it allows someone to view an image and if they admire it they can simply direct themselves to the artist/photographer within a web search.

Of course it seems a little pretentious and arrogant but you’re better safe than sorry, right? I’ve personally had issues in the past where I’ve taken photographs not thought much of them and posted them online, only to find a few years down the line they had been published in a magazine without any credit. It seems that a lot of photographs become more valuable over time, if we’re circulating them now without any tags they may become worthless, anonymous and overlooked.

Commercially it’s a great way to get your name out there alongside your images, it directs customers back to you for more work.

Things to be aware of is that your watermark mustn’t look tacky, it mustn’t be too big to overpower your photograph and distract from the piece but also not too small that it can be very easily removed!

I’ve found a happy medium within my own watermarks with the help of a graphic designer Zack O’Toole. Perhaps they are too distracting, perhaps they ruin the photograph but the way I see it is that if someone wishes to see more than they know where to find us… they can simply contact us to buy a print or the rights to an image. Photographers should be protecting their work, it’s not feasible for us to work for free forever. Besides I’ve never disregarded a great photograph because it had a watermark.

Controversy of Self Imprisonment.

The opening of our show, Self Imprisonment caused a lot of controversy.

We are aware that the idea was a tough subject matter to tackle, however we decided to proceed in a hope that it might create controversial debate and discussion, indeed it did exactly that.

The issues being  touchy subjects  depict a matter that a lot of people can relate to, unfortunately some were to be offended by how we had portrayed the issue. There was no intention to provoke any disrespectful intention but clearly when tackling such a huge issue it is hard to compromise with everyone’s interaction with the photographs. I now understand the importance of treading carefully when tackling a subject matter like this, it is important for there to have been a lot more discussions around the show before exhibiting it. Unfortunately motivating a group of students to do so proved harder than you’d expect as I have previously discussed.

Next time there ought to be a lot more discussion and preparation before dealing with such issues. Although creating debate and discussion is what we intended and I find the controversy exciting in some aspects. There should have been much more consideration before making any final decisions.

To clarify the idea was not intended to offend but more to portray how a certain mental state wether it be a mental illness or influence by drugs and alcohol can eventually take over and trap you within your own mind, leading to feelings of a captivity within yourself.

Self Imprisonment.

Self Imprisonment, Curation Show. 
24/03/14
Curation of a successful show proves much harder than you can ever imagine.
Knowing and understanding the opinions and preferences of the people you work with has a massive impact on the outcome of your show together. Sometimes decisions are not what you’d personally have liked but you compromise and work together as a team.
As a short brief within the unit there was no hope for a lot of students to take the workshop seriously, working with a large group of people proved difficult in equalling out the workload. It’s fair to say that only half of the group pulled their full potential weight whilst working on this project. Despite arranging discussions and prompting debate over our subject matter there was still a lack of response, as we were a team it was unfair that only half of us were to get on with the work while other sat back and took credit. The exhibition was not as successful as I’d have intended after waiting for others and then having to pull together last minute, however we eventually managed to produce an outcome.
The title of our show was: Self Imprisonment
Initially I was toying with the idea of alcoholism as a starting point and began to create discussion based around Richard Billingham’s work from the Ray’s a Laugh series. We agreed that we would each pick two images based around the idea. Once sharing our chosen images it was clear that we were exploring a theme of the line where drugs/alcohol/mental illness or any other issue that have the ability to take over your body and mind and have affect on the world around you, your friends, family, work, appearance, etc.
The idea is that a mental state especially under the self inflicted influence of drugs or alcohol can eventually trap you within your own mind and lead to feeling like a captive prisoner within your own soul.
Some photographs from our show, Self Imprisonment: 
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Ray’s a Laugh series by Richard Billingham. 
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Alcoholic Father with his Son, Unknown Photographer. 
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Another Family series by Irina Popova. 
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Shadow Chamber series, Recluse by Roger Ballen.
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Too Brightly Burns by Remi Rebillard.
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Below the Level Of Consciousness by Mark Edwards.

The Walk… in green.

Becky Beasley, The Walk… in green.

The Laura Bartlett Gallery, 4 Herald Street, London. 

22/02/14 – 06/04/14

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Becky Beasley The Walk…in green. Installation View, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, 2014.

Finding such spacious available gallery space in London is no short of a battlefield for artists and photographers.

The Laura Bartlett Gallery consists of a stunning rooftop open white space with an abundance of natural light and quality lighting surrounding throughout. For a minimalist this show is aesthetically stimulating, the spaciousness to conclude your own interpretations without being harassed by the artists preconceptions is a valuable experience. The space and light opens your mind to embrace the selected pieces of work within the room.

The work tackles the immensity of nature and how a human interacts with it. The show suggests the images are a reflection on Beasley’s childhood memories and a psychological analysis on the origin of nature and human relationship.

Although not disappointed by the show I feel there is room for much more potential within such a stunning gallery. Personally the most visually appealing image was one hung in the corridor which seemed like no part of the show at all. It seems a shame and waste to have almost bland looking pieces of work hanging in the main space. For example the rotating twig, aside that within the press release for the show it explains the intention and meaning behind the brass cast, to most people it seems like abstract contemporary art has gone completely insane. Are we now just hanging twigs up in a white room and calling it art? It’s laughable to some but clear that this show appeals to a minority of people who indulge within the creative world, minimalists and those who over think a philosophical meaning within abstraction.

More information about the exhibition at: http://www.laurabartlettgallery.com/exhibitions/the-walk-in-green/