Session 4

In this lesson we have listened to David Campbell speaking about Narrative, Power and Responsibility.
Where I got these notes and thoughts through twitter.

This was followed up later by Carole Naggar talking about George Rodger.

Afterwards I also read Pete Brook and Stephen Mayes in conversation for Wired.

A cross of fiction and non-fiction. Hard as have notions of people you know from when you know him. Also have access to someone else’s text.

Wrote loads – colleagues, diary, own personal biography

Diary is own narration but also a mask as its way wanted to portray self.

People felt knew him but at same time didn’t.

Didn’t deal with his emotions.

First photographer to enter camps in 1945 but was traumatic to him plus family loss and close friend Robert Capa.

Worked on 61 war fronts.

Had shell shock, suffered with periodic depression.

Hid it behind humour.

Had no outlet for his grief.

7 years to create the book.

Spent 5 years interviewing all over the world.

Ready to write the book when knew more than the interviewed.

Felt as though living among ghosts.

Built a fake diary from stories he told her.

Had to deal with a past that person was living in past of life he didn’t have.

The hardest part to give up was the myth.

Death and prejudice turned him away from war photography.

Disliked Life magazine as didn’t get choice of what to work on and was either badly published or not published at all.

You get to see the person, time, photojournalism and how it was recorded.

Ran away to navy from his parents.

Complex stories came from frame to frame through contact sheets. Every frame had to count.

Had to send it off by plane and wait 3 months to arrive if did arrive.

Work was non-linear narratives.

Photographers were thought of as authors.

First story earned him £79 (£3500 today)

Went on a 2-6 week assignment to Africa in 1942 took him 2 years.

In life he is granted a sort of hero status.

Magnum was bad at finances to start with.

Hated colour as felt black and white had all the colour and people could project them selves on the imagery but had to work in colour.

Declined offers from Hollywood.

Had to react immediately to the work, wrote in his notebook but was shaken by what he saw.

Was seen as giving an image to horror or something you can’t give an image to.

Got a chance as only 5 or 6 photographers working in London as refuges weren’t allowed to.

Was a terrible editor, wanted to please the editors so when he edited he self-centered.

Well composed images but didn’t see himself as a artist.

Pete Brookes and Stephen Mayes

Photographs are no longer things, they’re experiences

Digital cameras have changed photography is true and cliché

Not many can tell you how – moved it from image to a fluid image

Pace an image is created is matched by how quick we disregard it but we’ve never been more engaged.

Photography is more about experience and community and less about document and evidence.

10% of all photos ever taken were shot in 2011

same months instagram just shy of 2 years passed 100 million users. People sign up at a pace of 1 a second. Taken over 1 billion images.

Accounts for some but not all 250 million images uploaded to Facebook every day.

Comparing images today to images then is like comparing a car today with a horseless carriage.

Mayes believes cellphone photography marks the transformative moment.

An image doesn’t exist until it is fixed at point where fixing is vocabulary.

A digital image is entirely fluid. It now lives in a digital environment.

Meanings of images now morph, as they are never fixed.

Ritchin: Digital photography is quantum imagery it is anything and everything at one time.

Photography has turned to having fun, unselfconscious, experimental somewhere sharing it with the outside then within two days it is gone.

Didn’t take a camera somewhere [Libya] so become invisible as everyone had cellphones they were taking pictures with.

Cell phone photography is about immediate reaction

We refer to something as what it was before even with cellphone with have nostalgic filters.

Cell phone brings you closer to the action like someone caught in the Tsunami documenting it.

Cell phone photography is not seen as solid enough process as it is too easy to create.

People always trust an image inside a news magazine but never notice the made up image on the cover

Unless you really dig you can’t validate

People are free to decide if they are good photographers or not.

The role of the professional is important so long as people want creditable information

Professionals are valuable as commentators, interpreters, and validators…

Cell phones shows the individuals experience, Professionals get an overview and can introduce us to different elements looking at patterns, validating stories or re-contextualising them.

The key point’s I selected from this are:

  • The event isn’t what happens, its what narrated
  •  Its impossible to tell a story that includes everything
  • Unconventional narrative is the breaking up of time, conventional narrative follows the linear structure
  • The point of a narrative is to convey information


RICHIN: Richin’s key point on this talk is that the honesty is key. He would also feel that a narrative could show the many sides as he considers each point of view available. Richin also believes that “Photography is a quotation” meaning that you take information and repeat it. 


MAYES/HETHERINGTON:  Feel that context is key, so would enforce the idea of a narrative is to convey information.


The similarities between these are that both Campbell and Richin feel that information is to be repeated so that people understand the reason why something has happened. While Mayes/Hetherington feel that narrative conveys the information which Campbell also reinforces. The difference is though, is that Richin looks at each side available in a narrative so to consider all points of view. This is reinforced by Mayes/Hetherington who looks at the sides concerned so not only to relate with the ones people sympathies with the most but also by looking at those who feel the need to behave inappropriately according to the world. However, here Campbell feels that it is impossible for a narrative to include everything.


This lecture I found interesting as throughout school we was always taught of events and even today I and I think society still considers an event to be what has happened. However, I feel that Campbell raised a valuable point as we class an event of what took place but do base it on only the information that is recorded. So when I focus on my music photography I always saw it as capturing an event but instead in a way I am creating an event as till myself or someone else captures it that event isn’t recorded.


Another point raised also was that we refer to something today as what it was before even though they are in a way two different things as like with imagery an image today can not be touched or held unless printed but we can see it in a digital world. However, we compare an image today of that what was created a century ago or decades ago because it is still classed as a photograph even though they are both created differently and are seen differently.


Finally the pace an image is created is matched by how quick we disregard it is the key point that stood out to me as to be able to become established you need your imagery to stand against a length of time of longer than a few seconds. Which brings to the point that most people see that photography is dead nowadays but as the first phonar lecture pointed out we engage with photography more nowadays through social media even though this is the opinion. Which means that for a photographer to be able to stand the test of time they either have to have a very poignant image that will always mean something otherwise a photographer always has to be shooting and advertising their imagery so to be at the forefront of photograph. This is the most important part to me as if I didn’t realize this my idea of creating photography, as a professional would not be able to last for long as I would not be able to support myself in doing so.


One thought on “Session 4

  1. Pingback: Met of the Learning Outcomes | deanachantler

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