Gazing at Photographs – Reflection

When reviewing my practice in the light of the topics discussed during this week it would be easy to select a singular reading based on the works of Susan Sontag or Roswell Angier. Instead I would like to think that my work is multifaceted with a unique gaze based on the things I know or have experienced up the point in time where I create a specific body of work. I certainly can recognise the voyeuristic trace in some of my fashion and artistic images of people and this carries over into landscape images where the element of sexual intent has been replaced by a desire to own or control the land within the images. When Sontag talks about the powerful gaze of the camera, and by extension, us, that to photograph people is to violate them by seeing them as they have never seen themselves, having knowledge of them they can never have. It turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. For me this places a strong level of responsibility on me as a photographer to use that power with responsibility, instead of excreting power over my subjects I want to project their strength through my images.

 

The walking pictures that will form part of my final project are constructions made up multiple images where the photographic gaze is fleeting and instead of the photographer being the voyeur I am encouraging the reader to look more closely into the picture. I am encouraging the reader to become a voyeur of the world that I have created through the medium of photography. I describe this as creating images where the reader is encouraged to become a voyeur creating what I call the co-voyeuristic triste. This aspect is enhanced because a lot of my images are untitled enhancing the sense of ambiguous reading.

 

When I look at the people I include within my images it represents a very small group of people and is something that maybe through a body of work I could explore further as a sub-theme within my final project as I am recording the walking elements of the project from the position of an able-bodied individual.

 

My project intends to cover all aspects of the landscape along the Essex rather than just focusing on the natural landscape similar to the works of Ansel Adams. If I only recorded the idyllic element then the body of would only tell part of the story which I agree plays to the feminine mother nature aesthetic. Yet the industrialisation of the coastline can be viewed as man’s shaping of the environment to suit his purposes.

The image above was taken on the cliffs above Southend Pier and the subject is gazing out into the Thames Estuary. Through the use of creative lighting I have managed to capture the reflection in the glass that help to give the image a place within the landscape. The view is able to discern that the subject is sat in a shelter by the coastline.

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