Photography & Fiction: Pose! That’s not me

There were moments in todays lecture that left me feeling unnerved, purely because of the examples used. Overlooking this, I found this lecture particularly interesting, the first part was held by Nicola in which she mentioned many different intellectuals such as Marcel Proust and Charles Baudelaire.

One example Nicola used that was very interesting was the first photographic image ever to be taken. Named the View from the window at les gras, the image was taken in 1826 by William Henry Fox Talbot. The invention of photography brought about Proust and Baudelaire’s criticism of the new art form. Baudelaire saw it as a modern tool for modern artists, though he made it clear he himself did not consider it an art form.

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At this point Victorian photography became the next topic. This was the part that not only shocked me but unnerves me every time I look at them. During the late 19th century, photography was used as a physical form of a memory, rather than for art. It was common for parents to take photographs of the children they lost. We were then showed images of tools, that looked like tripods, to keep the bodies upright. However, some had a nanny, who’s face was covered with material, or even the mother of the child holding them. It was this that made them look so terrifying, as if they belonged to a horror film. These images would be displayed on the mantelpiece.

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The second part was held by Mark who explored more modern photography. Using Phillip Dicoricia as an example, who photographed pedestrians in Times Square during daylight, with out them knowing. When discussing these images, the majority of the class agreed that the idea of being secretly photographed even if it was for a modest and stunning photo, seemed a little creepy and even intrusive.

This led us to discuss when is a good or bad time to take a photograph, an example of this was the selfie David Cameron, Helle Thorning-Shmidt and Barak Obama took during Mandela’s memoriam. Not only was it extremely disrespectful, its quite clear when zooming out that Michelle Obama was not impressed, of course it went viral.

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