351MC #Phonar – Session Three Reflection

Our third #phonar session was a very busy one. Starting with a talk by Kate Green discussing her #phonar and final degree show projects, we then had a session with Matt Johnston who discussed narrative in the digital age, before listening to an interview with Stephen Mayes and Fred Ritchin. All of these talks linked in rather well and discussed the overarching theme of photography and narrative (#Phonar!) in the digital age.

The main topics that appealed to me in this session were those talking about Metaphotographers, Hyperphotography, and storytelling. Within the talk with Stephen Mayes and Fred Ritchin, they discussed Metaphotographers (somebody who deals with the sifting and contextualization of the available media) and Hyperphotography (the idea of the non-linear narrative that links together different things including different types of media). They also talked about how the traditional form of storytelling demanded a simplified telling and how that has been “flung apart” through becoming confronted with complexity, and how photographs can sometimes be less about what actually happened and more about an idea of what happened.

These themes then related perfectly to a project that Matt Johnston discussed (before we listened to the interview) called “PinePoint” by Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons (http://pinepoint.nfb.ca/#/pinepoint). For this project, Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons both became Metaphotographers by searching for and incorporating different pieces of visual information and data within their final outcome. They practiced Hyperphotography through the use of different creative mediums as well as increasing the complexity of the storytelling by allowing the viewer to take control in the speed and order in which they viewed the story. They also, obviously, conveyed an idea of what happened through including different peoples opinions on the matter they were representing.


These main themes interested me greatly and related back to last weeks session and reflection through the inclusion of the idea of Metaphotographers. Creating a narrative through photographic pieces has always been of personal interest (as it should be for most photographers), and I feel that these themes suggest that this has become slightly more complex within the digital age due to the audiences increasing understanding of the photographic and digital mediums (allowing more manipulations of interpretations of individual pieces) and the growing varieties of viewing mechanisms. I also feel that this relates back to the idea of the multiple point perspective and that, with people bringing their own experiences to the viewing of a project, it makes it difficult for the photographer to understand and anticipate exactly how their target audience is going to react. However, I also feel that the digital age has provided us with greater resources to create and manipulate different narratives, allowing us to adapt and improve our storytelling capabilities through different digital techniques. Again, as stated in week three’s reflection, allowing me to experiment with different digital technologies in future projects to create more immersive narratives.