351MC #Phonar – Session Five Reflection

For our fifth #phonar session, we mainly focused on interviews with Wasma Mansour and Dalia Khamissey taken by Jonathan Worth. Whilst listening to these interviews I thought about the themes that both of the photographers were discussing and made notes on a couple of quotes that I found really interesting. These quotes can be found below:

Wasma Mansour:

  • It was a collaborative negotiation of this image making” – “It’s important to priorities her preference

Dalia Khamissey:

  • Three pieces of advice:
    • “Photographers should make sure that they understand they are telling someone else’s story – they should know they are very privileged in being able to tell someone’s story”
    • “Photographers should show lots of respect to the people they are representing”
    • “Tell the story as it is”


Thinking about the interviews and the quotes that I selected, the main themes that these photographers discussed were power, collaboration the representation of the subject/participant, and narrative. Each photographer discussed the power relationship between the photographer and the subject and talked about how it is important, when creating a portrait of a particular subject, to try and make sure that the process is collaborative. This then links to the idea of the representation of the subjects as it allows the subjects to be more actively involved in the process, enabling them to discuss and decide how they want to be represented within the context of the project. Both photographers also suggested that we, as photographers, should understand that we our telling someone else’s story and that it is therefore very important to be able to represent the subject and the narrative in the way they want it to be seen.

These main themes are also linked to the topics of context, narrative and power that were discussed during week fours reflection. By sharing the power of the representation of the subject, through the use of a collaborative method, and understanding that they are telling someone else’s story, the photographer will adapt the narrative of the image through suggestions given by the participant. This will also allow the photographer to gain a greater understanding of the context surrounding both the subject and the photograph.

Bearing this in mind, the themes that were discussed in this session also loosely relate to the ideas surrounding single-point perspectives that were discussed in week two. Choosing to use a collaborative method within a photographic project will mean that the photographer will automatically have to adjust their preconceived ideas to be able to visually create the subjects/participants single-point perspective.

Looking at the main themes of this week, I feel that it is incredibly important for a photographer/me to understand the different ideas surrounding the power relationship. I also feel that collaboration and context are greatly connected as the more collaborative you are with your subject, the more context you will gain from the subject, and, therefore, the more successful your photographic project will be at conveying a particular idea. I will therefore be using this newly gained knowledge as a way of adapting my professional practise by becoming a more collaborative partner with future clients, which will, in turn, allow me to (hopefully) create more successful projects in terms of eliciting its context and narrative.