351MC Photography and Narrative – Session Eight

On Wednesday 19th November 2014, I attended my last ever #phonar lecture. For this session, we started off the day by listening to a catch up interview with Fred Ritchin from the ICP in New York (taken by Jonathan Worth, Becky Woodall, and Olly Wood), before moving on to watch a short film called “Shooting Time” created by Jamie Macdonald about his father Ian Macdonald. The notes from this session can be found below:


There are no iconic images of the recent wars because of the accessibility of digital technologies allowing for citizen photojournalists


Catching up with Fred Ritchin from ICP in New York:

  • After Photography:
    • Photography is an imprint of the visible reality – we have entered an era where this is no longer true
    • We have gone from the photograph to the image
    • First paradigm shift – thought it was the end of painting but photography just led the way for more experimental painters such as Picasso
    • We are going through a photographic evolution
  • Bending the Frame:
    • Wrote Bending the Frame to address the issues of the citizen photo journalist
    • With all of this expansive possibility, how will we affect society with everything that is going on – we need to use imagery in important ways
  • Metadata – we can peel the lid off of the image and can see whether the photograph has been tampered with; the image is therefore more truthful than the photograph
    • General problem is how do readers perceive it? – It doesn’t really matter what is in the metadata, it is what is represented within the image
    • There is a general idea that we don’t really care for the world, we just want to see it in our own image – for example magazines in the US such as “Self” or “Life”
    • For many people there is a skepticism because of all of that
    • This is the longest running war in the US and we don’t really have an iconic image – the metadata of an image doesn’t save this
  • Proactive photographers are those that make a change through their imagery through affecting the audience and inspiring them to act on the issue within the image
  • Looking at the example of photographers collaborating with artists – yes we are looking back to the old medium, but we are also making progress into a more expansive medium
  • How we mediate events through lenses – does this affect how we remember the event?
    • For example, skype – we are seeing a part of you, we are not experiencing your physical presence
    • Screen memories – screen out particular memories in the past; we edit out different aspects which relates to what we include and exclude as photographers
  • ICP in New York
    • 5000 students
    • All kinds of community programmes that gets the students involved
  • We often talk about single images – however the photograph and the video are now hybrid forms, they are in dialog now; we can stop a video to make a still photograph
  • Rear View Mirror – we go through the world looking in the rear view mirror; we can only define new things through looking back to the old ways
  • We need to deconstruct something enough to be able reconstruct it
  • We need to try and formulate the better question, we shouldn’t always try to look for the best answer


Ian Macdonald by Jamie Macdonald:

Shooting Time Loop-1 from Jamie Macdonald on Vimeo.

  • Ian Macdonald – photographer from North East of England
  • Documented post-industrial Britain – depict a time of place and change gradually fading from the landscape
  • When he makes a photograph, he goes out into the atmosphere. Things begin to happen and you make responses to them
  • You could get an impression and an image that actually meant something – there was a desire to make pictures
  • Key think about photography is that he makes the pictures – he frames the picture, develops the film and prints the photograph
  • Francis Hodgson
    • Ian Macdonald is still asking questions about how the world works before he asks questions about how the world fits into a frame
    • His photographs are read rather than seen
    • His images are about culture and history
    • There is a thought that photography is a naïve activity – Ian Macdonald is highly literate I previous photography
    • He didn’t photograph things he didn’t understand
  • In the world of photography, the book and the exhibition are ways of showing your work but we need to understand that people have special photographs of their own
    • He’s anti-exhibition – it’s only a byproduct
  • “As long as we have chemicals and paper to print, like a fossil that is fixed into the ground, the image of Kenny will remain”
  • He was drawn back to the same area of industrial works – He wanted to satisfy his curiosity, satisfy his needs, to express his feelings – industry has its own beauty
  • Time passes us by, it’s constantly a stream


Storify of Session: