351MC #Phonar – Session Six Reflection

Week six of #Phonar saw us covering a lot of different themes and ideas as we got to listen to three different talks: two interviews with Sara Davidmann and Shahidul Alam (both taken by Jonathan Worth), and one presentation by Naill McDiarmid and Jason Scott Tilley.

These talks discussed themes including power and collaboration, context, and transportation mechanisms of an image. However, although all of these themes are very interesting, I feel that I have already discussed the idea’s of power, collaboration, and context within previous weeks reflections (three and four). I therefore decided to look at the one topic that appealed to me the most, which was the idea about the transportation mechanisms of an image:

Shahidul Alam:

  • We in some ways need to transport people around us into a world where things happen in a particular way and help them to visualize this world by identifying mechanisms for transporting them.

To start with, I really struggled to understand this concept, but after some thought, I soon realized that this particular idea linked into the storytelling aspect of the image where, as photographers, we try to engulf the viewer in the narrative and context. Once I realized this, I couldn’t help but think that these transportation mechanisms must have changed through the digital age. This is because, as the accessibility of digital technologies is increasing, it would enhance the complexity of the transportation method through the layering of different digital aspects (including hyperlinks and navigational tabs) that allow a more active viewing when looking at an image online. This therefore means that the idea around transporting mechanisms also links in well with Fred Ritchin’s idea about how storytelling is being confronted with complexity (found in week three’s reflection).

All of these themes discussed also link back to week four and five’s discussion on context, narrative, power and representation (please see reflections), and has allowed me to think of the digital age as a more complex viewing medium that has not only adapted our (the audience’s) way of viewing images, but has also adapted our way of viewing the world. We are confronted with an enormous amount of images making it difficult for us to focus on the more important stories, and it is therefore more difficult for us, as viewers, to be transported to a “different world” through the viewing of a single image. We are indeed confronted with complexity. This has therefore made me think about future digital projects I may create and has allowed me to consider different experimental techniques (such as including audio) as a way of fully immersing the viewer, within my project, during their individual viewing.