Phonar – David Campbell on Narrative, Power and Responsibility

Click the link above to see the full Storify post

Professor David Campbell

I attend a open class called Phonar that highlights aspects of narrative to the student photographer. In this weeks session we mostly tackled the responsibilities of the photographer, how image makers should engage in the issues that they are photographing.

Professor David Campbell talked in depth about narrative and not only how it can be used to photograph, but also to understand anthropological issues. There are different strands of narrative that should influence our own response to an issue. If we research personal stories, academic interpretations and the photographing context surrounding an issue, then we can start to make images and get a democratic view of what the narrative is. Below are some of our tweets from Campbell’s talk that take what he says and try to make more sense of it.

The talk expressed the need for research, collaboration and purpose. To make our images stand out from all the content circulating online we have to give informative that others can’t. By talking to people who the images might effect and reading around the context we can provide a more coherent narrative. Only then our work will have a greater purpose than amateur images. Something that wasn’t discussed was the advantage of high resolution and quality of the data and the image. Context is key, but quality and aesthetics seduce people into images. Research will obviously provide the importance of this, through the skills of photographers who you sought inspiration from. But it is important that the binary of context and quality is addressed in a digital environment.

For my project, I see the importance of putting a face to an issue. People in jobs live a life that students aspire to be a part of. By photographing the faces it can express a narrative of their process after understanding the context of how they got to that job. The location and the posing influence the narrative, so it is important that it is a collaboration between subject and photographer. If I empower the subject, their story can be told how they want it to be told, and express a fair narrative with purpose. Reading texts and articles before photographing has helped me understand the importance of the process, so that the context is there to support the eventual image.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s