Photography Essay, Research Paper
Different people interpret photographs in many different ways. The way the photo is interpreted by a person can depend on what kind of job they have, how old they are, and how or where they grew up. Photos can also have an emotional effect on a person and bring back memories. How do you interpret the photograph on page one? Does it bring back any memories? How does the photograph make you feel?
Jean Mohr says what is happening is “Great Britain, in the country. A small girl was playing with her doll. Sometimes sweetly, sometimes brutally. At one moment she even pretended to eat her doll.” Out of all the interpretations, from our group, which one do you find the most imaginative? Does Jean Mohr’s description make any sense to you?
Now there are different kinds of photographic meanings. Allan Sekula thinks, “All photographic communication seems to take place within the conditions of a kind of binary folklore.” His ways of describing photographs are; symbolist folk-myth or realist folk-myth and art photography vs. documentary photography. When photographs are read the photographs fall toward one of these two poles of meaning. Do you think there is any other way to describe photographs? Why or why not?
On page two there is a photograph with a caption that is not shown that reads “A Red Hussar leaving, June 1919, Budapest.” What do you see in the photograph? When John Berger reads the photograph, he says that there is drama going on between the soldier and the mother. He also looks at every item in the photo, the uniform, the rifles, the corner by the railway station, even the trees on the other side of the fence. He almost fabricates a story on what is happening in the photo, and what will happen sometime after the photo was taken. He also makes the assumption of who all of the people are and what their relations are to each other; a friend, a sister, a father, a husband. Berger reads photographs by what time period the photo was taken in. He believes that what happened around the time of the photograph is a necessity to know in order to read the photo properly and thoroughly. Now, read the paragraph on page three . . . Having read the paragraph, what do you see in the photograph now? Is the photograph any different to you now that you know what happened arround the time it was taken?
John Berger says that there are two ways to use a photograph, private use or public use. In using a photograph privately, the moment when the photo was taken lives in an ongoing continuity. For example, if you have a picture of a person or place you would most likely not forget what that person or place meant to you or made you feel. When a photograph is used publicly, the photo becomes a dead object because of the many interpretations people make of it. By hearing these interpretations you forget what the photograph means to you or how it made you feel. For humans, photographs are memories, weather or not they are good memories is in the eye of the beholder. Photographs document what happened on a certain date or time. The definition of what a photograph is varies from person to person. What do you think a photograph is? What do photographs mean to you?