‘Photography as a starting point for interaction’ – Part 1 – Introduction
Alice Myers introduced the theme through examples by –
J. T. Zealy
Portrait of Renty, African-born slave,1850.
“… Very little is known of these pictures,and even less is known of what preceded their creation –– of the meeting between the slaves and Agassiz, or the manner in which he examined them in order to select those suited to become his research samples, or the way in which they were told that they would be required to pose for photographs, or just how they arrived at the photographer’s studio…”
The Civil Contract of Photography, Ariella Azoulay
The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems, 1974–75
Martha Rosler at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
“The Bowery, in New York, is an archetypal skid row. It has been much photographed, in works veering between outraged moral sensitivity and sheer slumming spectacle. Why is the Bowery so magnetic to documentarians? It is no longer possible to evoke the camoflaging impulses to “help” drunks and down-and-outers or “expose” their dangerous existance.”
Fully Automated Nikon, 1973.
“I decided to shoot pictures of men who made comments to me on the street. I had always hated this invasion of my privacy and now I had the means of my revenge. As I walked along Houston Street with my fully automated Nikon, I felt armed, ready. I passed a man who muttered ‘Wanna fuck?’ This was standard technique: the female passes and the male strikes at the last possible moment forcing the woman to backtrack if she should dare to object. I wheeled around, furious. ‘Did you say that?’ He looked around surprised, then defiant. ‘Yeah, so what the fuck if I did?’ I raised my Nikon, took aim, began to focus. His eyes darted back and forth, an undercover cop? CLICK.”
Signs that Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say, 1992–3
“I decided that I wanted people to feel protected when they talked about certain things in their life that they wouldn’t want the public that knows them to know. I can understand that sort of holding on to things—it’s kind of part of British society to hold things in. I always think of Britain as being a place where you’re meant to keep your secrets—you should never tell your neighbors or tell anyone. Things are changing now, because the culture’s changed and the Internet has brought people out. We have Facebook and Twitter where people tell you small details of their life”
One night I stayed in a women’s hostel “We’d love to help you” they said “but you couldn’t take any pictures of us unless we were wearing our abayas.”
Sometime I recorded private moments and was later asked not to show them. I needed a way to obscure the faces.
I rephotographed the little prints with a reflection and took them to show the girls. “That’s great” they said “but can’t you show a bit more of her eyes so people can see how beautiful she is.” Olivia Arthur – Saudi Arabia
Much of the work I undertake with people who have experienced being homeless is based on inviting the ‘subject’ to take part in creating a self-representation. It seems to me that forms of self-representation may go some way to broadening an understanding of individuals who are generally depicted through their experiences with charities, law and state services.
“I force my subjects hold their pose for so long that eventually they stop posing, the novelty of the camera forgotten. I am interested in photographing people at moments when they have dropped all pretense of a pose.” The Power of Gaze in the Photography of Rineke Dijkstra, Artes Magazine