Social Identity.

How do you think the role of photography in our culture is changing, when you think about how it is being used on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc? I’m particularly interested to hear your opinions on how you think photography, particularly self portrait photography, is being used to define an individual’s identity. How is our ‘identity’ constructed through the choice of photographs we post online?

My Response:

As humans from early Greeks to modern day we have demonstrated an interest in self-exploration. Our current ‘selfie’ craze is a revolution, which reinforces our social identity over the Internet. Sociological research shows that humans are only capable of intimately knowing 150 people, due to social networking we feel we ought to share with more, as man is a social creature and the thought of loneliness drives us mad.

The problem being is we’re rapidly collecting online friends and not distancing quantity vs. quality. In a world where time is money and we are pressured to achieve more, when it comes to socializing it takes place in real life, in real time where you cannot control how you look or what you say. We’re obsessed with building an online persona so we can present ourselves as we want to be seen, we can edit and therefore delete. We can share pictures of when we look our best; it’s endless personal promotion.

However, sacrificing mere connection for conversation is what makes us feel lonely, we claim to have all these online friends but how many of them can you spend a day with, how many can you have a personal conversation with? We share to feel connected, to define ourselves and to feel less alone but in fact it’s doing the exact opposite as you loose physical human interaction.

Technology is rapidly changing who we are as we feel more and more lonely and vulnerable we turn to social media for what we believe to be stability, a controlled network of friends. Sharing a ‘selfie’, getting likes and comments makes one feel good about themselves but what is the actual value of this? We’re slowly forgetting how to physically interact socially face to face with one another, as we feel more comfortable hiding and controlling who we are via technology.



During our lecture today we learnt about semiotics which is simply the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.

“It is…possible to conceive of a science which studies the role of signs as part of social life…We shall call it semiology (from the Greek sèmeîon, ‘sign’).  It would investigate the nature of signs and the laws governing them…Linguistics is only one branch of this general science. …”

Saussure, Course in General Linguistics, 1916

We can deconstruct an image by what we already know, the obvious suggests a narrative from what we already know due to our social and political upbringing. By reading the signs in the picture such as the words, gestures, colours, etc we are able to come to a conclusion of what it means to us based on our experiences. Other religions and cultures may read images in different ways. I believe that as soon as the creator presents an image it will become open to interpretation. No matter what the creator intends to portray in the image it still has the ability to affect someone else in a different way.

I have decided to find an image I know nothing about and try to read the semiotics from what I can see without being distracted by what I already know about the artist and photograph.

Joan Jonas, Mirror Piece I, 1969.

Joan Jonas, Mirror Piece I, 1969.

My interpretation:

Knowing nothing about this artist and piece I have come to the conclusion of what the image and title suggests to me.

Using the mirror suggests to me the artist, subject and viewers reflection on perception. I believe that showing the bare legs in a field and being 1969 the era has had an influence on this image. The rise of the hippie counterculture which involved a lot of sex and drugs may have been the vortex of this image. The mirror suggests to me another dimension in a way, which the use of psychedelia certainly enhances and opens the mind to the possibility of other dimensions.

The use of reflection could be an interpretation on the reflection of the model and the exploitation of their sexuality, perhaps she is hiding herself because she is ashamed or embarrassed by her naked body as society suggests we should cover ourselves up.

On the other hand, sat on the grass suggest that she is grounded within nature and is portraying to the viewer that being naked is okay, it’s completely natural and that we should be comfortable with our bodies. There is no reason to hide them on a summer’s day, it is not an offence to be free.

What does the image portray to you?

Garry Winogrand.


Rubinfien et al, 2013. Garry Winogrand, (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), Yale University Press. 

An evaluation on my review interrogation. (Look to The Suburbs).


Subsequent to our group review session we came to the conclusion that Mark Durden’s review ‘Look to the Suburbs’ in Source Magazine, for Garry Winogrand’s book was a success. The lack of personal response and opinion left us to make up our own judgement about the publication. After reading the review we agreed that the content was informative and well structured enough to inform us of the interesting elements in this book. The review certainly sparked an interest for me regarding the work of Garry Winogrand who I was unfamiliar with beforehand, and it has certainly made me want to read the book. For me this makes a successful review in promoting a product, wether that be the intention or not. Not all reviews intend to promote or advertise a product but in this case it fits that criteria in a subtle and professional manner.

Can art affect everyone?

Can art affect everyone?

Article by: Francesco Manacorda

Tate – Blogs & Channel


Available from:


ART TURNING LEFT – How values changed making, 1789-2013.

Tate Liverpool: Exhibition.

08/11/2013 – 02/02/2014


Jacques-Louis David
The Death of Marat (La Mort de Marat) 1793–4
Oil paint on canvas
1113 x 856 mm
Musée des Beaux-arts

© Musée des Beaux – Arts. Photo: C. Devieeschauwer

Available from: 


Review –

What is the intention of the article/exhibition?

The article breaks down the choices curators make when putting together an exhibition and the issue it tackles. The article begins to start a debate on their contextual issues of the exhibition influenced by the left-wing values from 1789-2012. Asking the widely interpreted question ‘Can art affect everyone?’ the title alone engages anyone who is remotely interested in art to understand Tate’s fundamental mission and ethos of achieving this as a subtext to the exhibition.

What effect did the curators have in the outcome of the exhibition? 

Their strategies to display the work has been carefully thought out in a way which will reflect history, narrative and interest but also allow the viewer to engage through a form of distantiation in order to reflect on their own question’s to the works.

How important/controversial is the show?

This is the first exhibition to examine the procedures and reception of art, which has been influenced by left-wing values. Although not completely factual the interpretations are somewhat historical influence in themselves. It raises awareness of the importance of social and political influence on the movement of art, weather it is intentional or unconscious at the time or not creates controversial criticism.

Is the article/exhibition open to interpretation?

The article title is a question and in the first paragraph it states Francesco Manacorda ‘invites you to think differently about the idea of ‘art for all’ and share your view.’ The exhibition intention is to encourage viewers to abandon conventional readings of an image and rethink how art can be influenced by a role in society. This article is perfect for someone who is curious about the exhibition and is looking to question it and get involved in innovative responses. The Tate have sparked all sorts of questions related to the show and encourage feedback via social networking in the closing paragraph.

Is it informative and authentic?

A gallery founded in 1897 Tate is the most well established art galleries in the UK. The writer of the article, Francesco Manacorda is an Italian art expert and a newly appointed artistic director of the Tate Liverpool. I have learnt it is important to question sources online. The web gives the ability for anyone to publish their thoughts and opinions. I am interested in reading well-written and authentic articles by people who simply know what they are talking about.

The article is not a review of the exhibition so it is less informative about the work but it’s an extension on the thoughts related to the concepts around the show. There aren’t many facts and little information about the show but the article mainly strives to ask questions of the reader/viewer in order to spark curiosity in a debate.