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.

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