Lectures 6 – 10

Lecture 6 – Social documentary and street photography

This Lecture is about the beginnings of documentary/street photography. It was started to bring awareness to the people about poverty and lack of respect and value for the lives of the workers and children working in the mills in a hope to change the social status. Street photography showed the public the truth about what streets where really like along with there occupants. I like this side of photography because more often than not it depicts the truth and honesty of how the political status really is.


Lecture 7 – Analysing photographs

After going through this lecture I now have a clearer Idea on what an ideology is; its a collection of beliefs that can held to an individual/group/society and can be both conscious and unconscious ideas and thoughts that make up someones beliefs, goals, expectations and motivations. It can also be dominated and governed by society.


Lecture 8 – Walter Benjamin

In this lecture we learned about Walter Benjamin, who was German Jewish born in Berlin, 1892 – 1940 when he took his own life in Portbou. Benjamin was a literary critic and a philosopher who associated himself with the Frankfurt school of social theorists. One of his key ideas that speaks out to me is – Photography is a medium which transforms us psychologically, culturally and politically. photography is a medium that can provoke emotions just based on the political status of man, it can show us the truth and also the lies. We can travel in time just by going back and observing a photo and we can also take a moving sequence of photos and stop the at a photo, leaving it and it and all with in it in permanent state of time.


Lecture 9 – Roland Barthes ‘The photographic message’

In this lecture we learned about Roland Barthes, a French literary theorist, philosopher and writer, 1915 – 1980. Barthes came up with a theory of how to read photographs using the existing theory of semiotics, the word semiotics is derived from the Greek word Semeion meaning sign. Semiotics is used to analyse a photo to reveal what verbal and visual message that it’s trying to get across. This could be something as simple as a blatant sign or symbol, once picking out all the signs, it then begins to clear up what this photo could be about and what it’s trying to tell us other than the obvious signs. Roland Barthes uses the ‘linguistic science’ of semiotics and uses that to interrogate modern day society. Photographs appear to be solely truthful and factual but there is a hidden message, what is the meaning behind it? There is two messages coexisting behind a photograph creating a paradox: The denotation which is about analysing the photo and picking out the numerous signs and symbols which are presented visually and the connotation which about decoding the photo to find its true artistic meaning behind it.


Lecture 10 – Roland Barthes ‘the death of the author and camera lucida

“We know that to give writing its future, it’s necessary to overthrow the myth: the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author” (IMT, p.148). This quote is important because in the late 60’s and 70’s during post modern art, the concept ‘death of the author’ was implied as the originality and authorship of the work was questionable. This was because postmodern artists where creating pieces of work hat looked all to similar to original paintings, whilst trying to pass them off as their own originality. Also in this essay we discussed the differences between stadium and punctum: stadium is to see something of interest in a photo, something that makes you stop in your tracks just to look at it, it’s anything that is visual about the image, whether it is about the content of the image or the composition of it. The punctum is the underlying meaning of the photo that the photographer might not have intended but the viewer has picked it up.