Archive for October, 2014


Phonar: Spoken Narrative Task

This task was single-handedly the hardest thing I have chosen to put myself through for the sake of my work. If I thought photographing my Skin for #Picbod was going to be the hardest thing I would do, I am obviously entirely unaware how much of a masochist I really can be.

However, like I realised with my #Picbod project, this was such a large step for me in a fantastic way. It was actually very therapeutic to expose myself, to become so vulnerable. The support I got from doing so shattered my feelings of fear and shame. I am fully aware that this will never leave me, but I am in a position of power as an image maker, so I can use it to my advantage, to heal myself and give myself the chance to maybe help others.

At 14 I had my voice taken away from me. It has taken me 7 years to get it back. Sometimes I stutter, it’s inevitable. But now that I have taken back my voice, I will make sure I use it. Some people still don’t have their voices, it can take so long, some never get it back. For them, and for me, I can try to make sure I shout loud enough for the both of us. 


Research

Lisa Potts

For this task, I started by listening to Lisa Potts Interview regarding the machete attack she went through while working at a nursery. I thought the way she told the story gave hints to how many times she had told it to others, and had it go through her head. The addition of specific details helped paint a picture of the event, while at the same time highlighting the moments that have become permanent in her memory. Her story and the way she tells it, for me, is a reminder of how traumatic events have long lasting connotations for the victim beyond the physical. You don’t just forget it and move on, you can’t.

For my personal story, I didn’t have as long as Potts, and I wanted to create something that spoke about the span of 7 years. I thought the best way to do this while still keeping it engaging for the audience was to speak with an almost poetic structure. With that in mind, I researched ‘Word Poems’ and ‘Poetry Slams’

‘Word Poems’

These two specifically have always been so brutally inspiring to me. They speak of the issue with the force necessary for people to listen, but without losing the emotion that is inevitable with something traumatic. I didn’t have a group to speak with, and I am not a forceful person, but I wanted to incorporate the word poems that inspired me into my words. I tried to punctuate certain moments with the anger and force I felt necessary while other parts became slower and quieter. I wanted the way I said the words to be as telling as the words themselves.

How to speak/ tell a story

I refuse to speak about this with the same detachment I have in the past, merely speaking about the technical parts of the event and not how it made me feel. Because when I speak with that detachment it’s a protection from how terrifying and upsetting it is, but at the same time I feel like I am restricting people from truly understanding how it feels and why it is important. Taking that protection away from my words also made me feel like I was giving a more truthful explanation of the 7 years that would engage people and actually make them feel invested and emotional.


This is my Spoken Narrative

This is the website for Crasac (Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre) who I spoke about in my Spoken Narrative and are the reason I am at the point I am where I can talk about it so openly -> http://www.crasac.org.uk/

It does so not matter if you did not report it or how long ago it happened, they will treat you as an individual and not judge. (Keep in mind there is a long waiting list for the one of one counselling, because there is such a high demand for the service)

Also, here is a link for Victim Support, they help victims of all manners of crimes, regardless of when it happened or whether it was reported -> https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/


David Campbell’s talk on ‘Narrative Power and Responsibility’ has made me consider how the power dynamic of a photograph can drastically affect a photograph when you are focusing on something traumatic.We have spoken about how the subject always has the least power in a photograph, and with a subject like rape that can lead to something dangerous. Rape is not just about sexual gratification, it’s more so about domination, humiliation and control. If you take a photograph of a victim, you are taking control and have the power to interpret that photograph as you please. This could end up being another form of assault, taking away there voice and power over something they possibly already feel entirely powerless with.

Anthony Luvera’s assisted self portraits combat this potential issue by giving the homeless people he was photographing the power in what they photographed about their life and then, instead of taking their portraits, helped them take their own. If photographing victims of rape was a potential subject, I think the only way to do it without adding to the trauma would be to give them as much control as they wanted to take in the situation, because otherwise you are doing nothing but using them for the personal gain of your wanted photographs, which could easily turn into nothing more but another trauma for them.

http://www.luvera.com/old/

One thing that I have begun to think about more, after this task, is how can I reliably tell someone else’s story, when I have only just begun telling my own? It’s a difficult situation where I want to give myself a voice, because I can be in control of my story, but if I ask to tell someone else’s story, I am asking them to relinquish a level of control, which with something traumatic like what I have spoken about, that would be the last thing I would want to do.

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The term Rape Culture is still relatively new in mainstream conversation, more common among feminist circles, and I realised after talking to my lecturers, and having to explain what it meant, that I would have to attempt to give a understandable definition of it in my presentation. This isn’t easy, as it covers a wide range of in depth problems that are not incredibly easy to define.

The simplest explanation is that it refers to ingrained cultural practices of our society. When people blame victims, or tell women to take steps to prevent themselves being raped, instead of blaming the rapist for their personal actions and accepting that it is not the job of the victim to prevent themselves being raped (which isn’t possible in most cases anyway).

When people ask questions, such as ‘what were you wearing?’, ‘why did you drink so much’, ‘why did you walk home alone?’, ‘are you sure you just haven’t regretted sleeping with them?’, that is rape culture. It ignores the basic human right to expect to be safe regardless of your personal situation, whether you are alone, drunk, or dressed in revealing clothing.

The best explanation of Rape culture I have found is here http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/03/examples-of-rape-culture/

Shannon Ridgeways explanation of the Term Rape Culture, coupled with evidence of moments of Rape Culture within our culture, gives an easy to understand definition.

We understand the word “culture,” from a sociological or anthropological viewpoint, to be things that people commonly engage in together as a society (ranging from the arts to education to table manners), and we find it difficult to link the word “rape” in with that concept.

We know that at its core, our society is not something that outwardly promotes rape, as the phrase could imply. That is, we don’t, after all, “commonly engage” in sexual violence “together as a society.”

To understand rape culture better, first we need to understand that it’s not necessarily a society or group of people that outwardly promotes rape (although it could be).

When we talk about rape culture, we’re discussing something more implicit than that. We’re talking about cultural practices (that, yes, we commonly engage in together as a society) that excuse or otherwise tolerate sexual violence.

We’re talking about the way that we collectively think about rape.

More often than not, it’s situations in which sexual assault, rape, and general violence are ignored, trivialized, normalized, or made into jokes.

One thing I have always believed, is that when you tell someone to take precautions to prevent themselves being raped, what you are basically saying to them is ‘make sure the other person is raped’. There will always be someone more vulnerable, more drunk, walking down a darker road. This idea that you taking precautions will prevent someone choosing to rape you makes no logical sense yet it is a belief entirely ingrained in our society.

I chose to focus on it as it is a problem that is personal to me and I believe it is an issue that needs to be discussed more, especially as it is virtually unspoken of in regards to photography. Sexism is spoken about, but how photography influences the prevalence of rape culture in our society has not been mentioned, and I believe it should, as it has a profound affect on our every day lives, particularly through the saturation of images in news, media and advertising.

Though my opinions of Rape Culture and my initial research into its definition is not related to photography, it is necessary to define the groundwork of my research before focusing on how it related to photographic practices. 

http://phonar.org/2014/10/professor-david-campbell-on-narrative-power-and-responsibilty/

https://storify.com/emma_shea/phonar-david-campbell

What have I taken away from this?

Our narrative is a culmination of other peoples experiences, interpreted by ourself. Our interpretation is affected by our own experiences. Two people could experience the same event and come away with two different opinions and concepts of what happened. We as humanity crave understanding in a world that isn’t linear, there isn’t a beginning, middle and end, but when a moment is told in such a way, we feel like we understand the world a bit more and make sense/ order out of the chaos of reality.

When you narrate something, it is just as important to consider what to exclude and to include. It is impossible to include everything. That exclusion can change the whole concept of a narrative. So, as storytellers, is it our purpose to figure out what to include to create a narrative as close to the truth as possible? Are we in fact just enforcing our personal opinions and takes of a situation onto people through narrative? If this is the case, how can we reliably interpret a subjects story without taking advantage and narrating it in a way that responds more to us and our opinions that to theirs?

Also,you can’t control how the Audience interprets the narrative. The subject really is the least powerful in the relationship. But at least the development of technology has given them a voice to defend themselves if they are so woefully misinterpreted that they feel the narrative is damaging to their image.

David Campbell’s interview was absolutely fantastic and really grabbed my attention. Narrative, Power and Responsibility are three things that have been brought up time and time again in our degree as things to consider, and Campbell really helped to put it into perspective.
He discussed how photograph can influence situations, but aren’t necessarily capable of single handedly changing the world. People do attribute change to photographs however, so they definitely offer a focal point for communities to rally around for a cause. Narrative in photographs is something I am personally very interested in, as I constantly attempt to create a narrative in my work based on issues of the world or giving a voice to undervalued concepts. Campbell discusses how narrative is central to photography even though the term is commonly attributed to literature and other forms of story telling. The reality is that photography is merely another form of storytelling with a visual narrative.
One thing I truly appreciate from Campbells interview, is his explanation that research, understanding and context are critical to have before creating an image. A piece of work that understands it’s own context and can inform itself is the work that sustains itself over years. As a photographer, we have drastic power in narrating events. It is impossible to include every detail, but leaving out information changes the narrative. What is important is knowing what to include to create the most truthful narratvie possible. A positive strength of digital media today is that a narrative can be created from multiple perspectives of observers and participants. In the end ‘What we take to be as important parts of our history today only came to be through the narration of participants or observers’. Narrative is important because it offers a sense of purpose and coherence in a world that doesn’t have any.
The world is chaotic but narrative creates order, which is something we crave.

  • I felt like Lisa Pott’s interview succeeded in placing us in the situation with the small details she so vividly remembered from that moment.
  • Her situation is reminiscent of the conversations we have had regarding the power of the subject, the media was forceful and desperate for her story with little consideration for her personal feelings on telling it.
  • Her personal retelling so many years later had hints of how many times she had told it, but also how many times it had gone through her head
  • the fact she could remember such specific details shows that something like that never really leaves you.

350MC: Research Project Proposal

This is my Project Proposal for my Symposium Presentation. I feel like I have a solid idea that has not been overly researched. So while this will potentially require more research from me that other peoples ideas, it also gives me a lot of freedom to tackle it how I feel appropriate, and not worry about reiterating other peoples ideas and work.

Research Project Proposal

 

Name: Emma Shea

Title: Rape Culture and Photography

Mode Of Presentation: Symposium Presentation

Description Of Subject To Be Investigated: I am hoping to focus my Symposium on Rape Culture and its relationship with photography, as well as the media. This comes from my previous interest in the subject of Rape Culture and its prevalence in society, which was brought on by personal experience and self directed research. I feel that despite more exposure on the subject, I have seen little specific analysis on how photography has an impact on the subject, and what relationship, either positive or negative, it shares. I believe photography has a lot of power with subjects that are emotionally charged, so it’s important to analyse whether it can, or already is, being utilised. How is it being used? What effect is it, or could it be having?

I will also include other types of media in my analysis, such as the Internet, film, and music videos, as they are intrinsically linked with photography and have a very far-reaching audience and impact on society and public views.

I intend to lead on from my initial research and knowledge of the increase in Rape Culture being exposed and discussed online, as well the analysis of photography by people such as Liz Wells and Ariella Azoulay. I will include national statistics and a brief explanation on what the concept of Rape Culture is, to introduce people to what I will be discussing and add credence to the relevance of the discussion.

My talk will link in with wider reaching discussions of sexism and objectification, how these affect Rape Culture in our society and how photographers and the media perpetrate them. This will probably include how photography used in mainstream media not only affects women, but also affects men, and the hyper-masculinity and restrictive gender roles represented adds to a much wider issue as to why rape culture is prevalent.

I will look at debates regarding whether photography is being used to reinforce Rape Culture in society, and is therefore detrimental, or whether I can be an effective force to bring exposure and knowledge, as well as being a voice for victims.

Sources To Be Utilised: I wish to include Internet blogs, articles, and videos, as I feel the Internet is an important platform for this discussion. I may draw on first hand experience, however I don’t want my presentation to become a personal matter. I will also look at News reports that are related along with photography books.

I will look at, and include photographers, bloggers and mainstream videos in my research, these will probably form the backbone of visual evidence I will use.

Methods To Be Used In Acquisition Of Sources: I will, as mentioned earlier, utilize Internet research for the purposes of my presentation. I will also use databases such as LexisLibrary, Locate and Art Full Text. The Lancaster Library will be an invaluable tool for books, however if they do not have what I am looking for, the Birmingham and the British Library are useful substitutes, though travel could be a concern.

Methods/ Forms Of Interpretation/ Analysis To Be Used With The Information And Sources: I will use my WordPress Blog to analyse and discuss my research and collate the multiple pieces of material I will be utilizing for my Symposium Presentation.

Rough Plan/ Schedule Of Work;

  • (Starting 14th October) – Collection of resources and research (Links, Books etc.)
  • Look More in depth into collected research
  • Spilt research into Sections (positives and negatives)
  • Begin designing layout of talk (make sure to gather and source images I plan to use)
  • Start writing/ Fleshing out talk
  • Get talk looked over at multiple intervals (Tutors, friends etc.)
  • Continue (keep eye of for new research material)
  • Put together PowerPoint in line with writing presentation
  • Have completed before symposium with enough time for practice, check overs with Tutors and any necessary changes

Bibliography:

 

Warscapes (2014) Fashion and Rape Culture [online] available from http://www.warscapes.com/blog/fashion-and-rape-culture [20th Oct 2014]

Penny. M (2013) ‘Laurie Penny on Steubenville: this is rape culture’s Abu Ghraib moment’. New Statesman [online] 19th March. Available from

http://www.newstatesman.com/laurie-penny/2013/03/steubenville-rape-cultures-abu-ghraib-moment [20th Oct 2014]

Tumblr [2014] This Is Rape Culture [online] available from http://thisisrapeculture.tumblr.com [20th Oct 2014]

Valenti. J (2014) ‘Beyond ‘no means no’: the future of campus rape prevention is ‘yes means yes’’. The Guardian [online] 2nd September. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/-sp-campus-rape-prevention-yes-means-yes [20th Oct 2014]

Tumblr [2014] Project Unbreakable [online] available from http://projectunbreakable.tumblr.com [20th Oct 2014]

N/A (2013) ‘’There is no way you are a virgin. You have done this before’: Rape survivors share attackers’ words in project which breaks down taboos of talking about sexual abuse’. Daily Mail [online] 22nd September. Available from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2428853/Rape-survivors-bravely-confront-fears-publicly-sharing-details-darkest-moment-courageous-photo-project-uses-attackers-words-them.html [20th Oct 2014]

Lynch. A (2014) ‘Fashion shoot glamourising horrific Indian gang rape removed by photographer after widespread outrage’. Metro [online] 6th August. Available from http://metro.co.uk/2014/08/06/fashion-shoot-glamourising-horrific-indian-gang-rape-removed-by-photographer-after-widespread-outrage-4822854/ [20th Oct 2014]

Bhasin. K (2011) ’13 Most Offensive PETA Advertisements’. Business Insider [online] 12th October. Available from http://www.businessinsider.com/peta-shocking-controversial-ads-2011-10?op=1 [20th Oct 2014]

Pennington. L (2013) ‘Has PETA Gone To Far? Sexism, Pornography and Advertising’. Huffington Post [online] 7th January. Available from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/louise-pennington/peta-has-it-gone-too-far-sex_b_2425174.html [20th Oct 2014]

Martinson. J (2013) ‘How did the media fail women in 2013?’. The Guardian [online] 12th December. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/womens-blog/2013/dec/12/media-fail-women-2013-stella-creasy [20th Oct 2014]

Everyday Media Sexism [2014] Everyday Media Sexism [online] available from http://www.everydaymediasexism.org.uk/ [20th Oct 2014]

Conway. D (2013) ‘The Next Time Someone Says Sexism Isn’t Real, Show Them These Shocking Role-Reversal Images’. Upworthy [online] N/A. Available from http://www.upworthy.com/the-next-time-someone-says-sexism-isnt-real-show-them-these-shocking-role-reversal-images?g=2&c=ufb1 [20th Oct 2014]

Wells. L (ed.) (2009) ‘Photography A Critical Introduction’. 4th edn. London: Routledge

 

Azoulay. A (2008) ‘The Civil Contract of Photography’. 1st edn. New York: Zone Books

Smith. M (ed.) (2004) ‘Encyclopedia of Rape’. 1st edn. Westport: Greenwood Press

This is not a complete list, but is a look at resources that have strongly influenced me so far.

https://archive.org/details/MayesRitchinWorthFull
What have I taken away from this:
Stephen Mayes and Fred Ritchins interview was fascinating because they had such drastically different views on whether technology and the media and it’s relationships with photography were positive or negative. One thing I truly agree with, is how ‘liking’ something online creates the illusion of helping with no real input. It makes people complacent. Another fascinating point that really grabbed my attention was the idea that we have become so over-saturated with images of violence that people look at them and feel they can’t help so do nothing. They have become entertainment, something to share on social media as something horrific without then doing something to help.The discussion of how online media has caused a dispersion of information, instead of a single front page for people to rally around is an interesting conversation, and I definitely agree with Stephen Mayes point of view more so. Ritchins statements are not untrue, but I feel my personal experience with online media actually makes information readily available to a younger audience, while newspapers are geared more so to an older audience. Also, if you buy a newspaper, it’s usually aimed at you as an audience that already agrees with the statements of the newspaper. However, with the internet you see a larger array of information from multiple points of view, and it becomes easier to source information. It’s not perfect, but I do believe it’s preferable to newspapers as the primary source of information.

This is my Storify for the interview I have linked to above.

https://storify.com/emma_shea/stephen-mayes-and-fred-ritchin-interview-discussio

350MC: Meeting Our Supervisors

  • Writing a proposal
  • 500-700 words main proposal
  • Bibliography is in addition to 500-700 words limit
  • 5 minute pitch

Daniel C. Blight

  • Writes about images and culture
  • ‘Chandelier Project’
  • Editor at photographer gallery
  • Written for mainstream media
  • Exhibition making
  • danielcampbellblight.com
  • First started writing in 2007
  • 2007-2009 set up gallery – was finishing post grad at the time
  • Journalism, art criticism, theory, academic writing, has begun writing outside of an academic context. Trying to avoid pigeon holing of
  • Try to got ideas across using language: instead of buzzwords, uses colloquialisms
  • Chandelier Project
  • chandelierprojects.com
  • Karen Moore Studio
  • Project space
  • Emphasis on photographic images in a experimental sense
  • ‘London Dust’
  • Jonathan Murphy: Cyanotypes
  • Interested in transient nature of photography
  • Artistic and scientific practice style
  • Origami roses submerged in cyanotype emulsion so they change colour over time.
  • No limits to what you can print on
  • Taking something traditionally photographic and seeing how it might extend to a more contemporary sense
  • Can see exhibitions online nowadays
  • Online images have become their own form of currency separate from the physical
  • Michael Grieve: anxiety, existentialism, death

 

Kate Mcmillan

  • katemcmillan.net
  • Graduated in 1994
  • Just completed P.H.D: things way are concealed, trauma in landscapes
  • Interested in how the photograph image can engage viewers in an empathetic or felt experience.
  • ‘Islands of Incarceration’
  • Commissions writers to write about your work
  • Use writing process to collaborate your process
  • Likes working with writers as it creates a forum to talk about your ideas.

Anthony Luvera

Collaboration

  • United Labour
  • Traitorous cooperation with the enemy

Who does collaboration benefit?

What does the artist do with the photographs?

  • More than just considering an image
  • Work by an outside observer will always inevitably be reductive in some way?
  • Good intentions will mask the power imbalance between subject and photographer
  • Put power into the hands of the powerless: if you are the one taking the photographs how are you giving them the power?
  • Anthony Luvera put the power in the hands of the powerless: gave people disposable cameras, so we could see what they were interested in.
  • Gave insight to what there life really was
  • ‘Art on the underground’
  • Stories he heard were really interesting
  • Didn’t just want to show random photos of homeless people – wanted to tell a story
  • Point was to involve these people in the creative process and give them a voice, not just take pictures

Residency (2006-2008)

Photography Journal ‘Photographies’

‘Not Going Shopping’

  • Queer people living in Brighton

 

This weeks task has us looking at Michael David Murphy’s ‘Unphotographable’ posts. We are to choose a post, and create a multimedia narrative of the description. ‘Use our own images, new or from your archive and you should create a accompanying sound-scape.’

I chose this post:

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 23.50.29

Sadly I became rather ill this week, so couldn’t recreate this post in the way I wished to.

PHONAR 'storyboards' This was a quick sketch for the idea I had for recreating it originally (the post office one was from another post I looked at), but being ill restricted what I could do. So, instead, I decided to draw on the idea that you can recreate a situation in peoples minds with just small aspects of the chosen concept. Thinking this as an opportunity to test my ability to react without all of the resources I would of liked to, I gathered from my room what I believed would be useful as props (luckily I have an old, black, leather-bound bible!), picked previously recorded sounds and photographs that I thought I could manipulate to fit, and took the rest of the photographs in my room.

I used close-up shots with a 24mm lens so the lack of a suitable background didn’t affect the subject, and used previous photographs of Coventry I had taken to flesh out the idea.

I struggled with the audio, trying to use Adobe Audition for the first time didn’t work for me and I think it has come out to quiet. Also, I was unsure what audio would recreate the situation in peoples minds.

However, I completed the task, edited the pictures to make them feel colder for a February morning and made a short video to collate the images and audio together using Adobe Premier Pro. I am not entirely happy with it in a broader view, but with the situation and resources I had to my disposable, I am happy I was able to create something for the task.

This is my take on my sensory mash-up audio. I wanted to try something a bit different. I would like to say I am much better at drawing that the video suggests, but I was trying to keep up with the sounds. I think it’s a little to long and not very interesting for how long it is, but I enjoyed it none-the-less, and think it’s at least different from what anyone else has done in my class, even if not entirely successful.

The audio was recorded while I was blindfolded and being led around. I wanted to try and create what I heard without actually knowing what it was.

https://archive.org/details/RitchinBtfInterview

What I took away from this interview:
The Changing face of photography Fred Ritchin spoke about how photo editing has given way to a society that no longer accepts photographs as the definitive truth. He commented on how if you change the words of an author, you diminish their voice and power, and you are doing the same if you edit someones photographs. Things as simple as cropping can drastically change a photographs meaning. In this instance, a picture editor has more power than a photographer.Ritchin also talks about how he believes photography (especially documentary photography) should be about being useful to the world, not just about taking photographs, this is something I can wholeheartedly agree with. Not everything Ritchin discusses is a negative slant on technology. Ritchin also discusses the new possibility with more accessible digital media to see an event through multiple different perspectives, not just a single point narrative. This builds a larger picture than we could of ever seen before from a single photographers camera. With the accessibility of cameras to everyone, being a photographer is no longer what is important, it is how you edit and process those images, and the narrative you tell through them, that is important, and what will set you apart from the mainstream amateur photography.

I am far to excited that Fred Ritchin did an interview with my lecturer for Phonar. It’s awesome! The concepts he brings forwards are ones I have been aware of, but he really has a way of showing you just how important these discussions are, and that they have a much wider affect on society than might be originally thought. I think this interview is fascinating, Ritchin is so confident about what he speaks about. He has a wealth of knowledge spanning so many years, his insight into how the future is shaped by and shapes photography seems so spot on it’s eery. He reminds of the dystopian future fiction writers like Margaret Atwood, that feel less fictitious as time goes on.

We as a group have been posting our notes on Twitter, I have created a ‘story’ on Storify to culminate theses Tweets in one place.

https://storify.com/emma_shea/phonar