Week 1 Webinar Reflections

As part of the first week’s webinar we were asked to select up to three of our own images that we feel relates to the theme of the global image. I cheated a little bit as I picked two images and then the set of three images below which provoked the most discussion during the webinar. I thought that these linked well with the theme of the democratisation of photography which is a topic I had also focused on during the online discussions.

week1webinar

In the first picture we see a man of simple means in Bastakiya, which is the old town of Dubai. He is wearing basic clothes, drinking water out of a polystyrene cup yet he has a mobile phone, a device that is not just used for a phone call as he is making here but also for taking photographs and sharing with family, friends or potentially the wider world.

I wrote about the way in which modern photography had acted as an enabler for those of lesser means to make photographs and in some cases to also forge careers in the industry such as in the case of Xyza Cruz Bacani or Mario Macilau. In this manner, photography is much more democratic when compared to some industries where progression can be dependent on wealth or familial connections.

The second image in the series is relevant here as it portrays the increased connectivity within the world today. Here we see a jogger who has stopped to connect to a free charging and wifi station on a beach in Dubai at night. The ability to access online resources provides our generation regardless of sex, race or social standing with a wealth of opportunities.

The last image portrays distraction. This is a portrait of my wife who I think was checking her work emails late at night and perhaps a little bit of Facebook or Instagram. One of the consequences of the increased connectivity is the speed at which photography can now move globally.

In looking at the three images together you can imagine someone with a smartphone taking a picture, connecting to free wifi and then it being consumed immediately by the user all within the space of a few seconds.

Technology has led to a saturation of the market and this poses a challenge to both the photographer in getting his work properly considered rather than being flicked through along with thousands of other images and the consumer in seeking out interesting content amongst all the other drivel.

There was a lot of discussion amongst the group around the sci-fi nature of the middle image and comparisons with Tron! The course leader asked about whether the images could also be read right to left rather than left to right which I thought that they absolutely could. He also proposed that I take this particular set of images further to try to expand the theme further beyond three images as he would be interested to see what would appear as the fourth and fifth images in a larger series. Something to take forward as a mini-project!

I was also advised that the three images together had a somewhat triptych feel to them, particularly with the smaller images either side of the larger image. I hadn’t considered this in the slightest when putting the images together and so it was interesting to hear that the way in which images are presented can have such an impact on the viewer.

A peer also referenced a photograph taken by Tom Hunter (“Woman Reading a Possession Order”) as the last image above seemed like a modern day equivalent with the use of technology. I had a quick scan of this and it was very interesting to see the comparison. I will definitely take a closer look at Tom’s work during the week.

There was a very interesting comment later on in another presentation how as photographers we can be somewhat mechanical. Whilst there is a lot of technical knowledge required, the mechanical nature can take away some of the artistic elements of our photography which is something that we need to battle with on occasion. There is definitely scope for my work to be less mechanical in nature.

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