Session 6

This week I listened to the views of Sarah Davidmann and Shahidul Alam,  where I collaborated in compiling these notes on the two speakers.

Afterwards I also visited the Herbert Gallery for the talk and exhibition by Niall McDermaid and Jason Scott-Tilly.


Key Points….


  •  Photography is not a practice it’s a tool
  •  If you can’t get to go to something, bring them to you
  •  Considered the lives of the ones not heard


RITCHIN: Both Alam and Ritchin feel that the purpose of photography is to be useful so that the image can make a different.  They also feel that the best way to do this is to change the world you have to describe it differently. However, Alam doesn’t feel that Photography is the means to do this it is just a tool in the process.


MAYES/ BROOK: Mayes and Brook feel that an image is based on an experience and photography is a tool so to express this. Which too an extent Alam also feels but instead sees the tool as a way of reaching out to others.


I found these points to be quite interesting to hear as through Alam’s talk he spoke about what he had done so when he raised ways of saying photography is a tool, he was able to say how he had put it into practice for the good and it had worked. This was also the case with hearing those who don’t have a voice that’s heard which was familiar to me as recently there have been many cry outs through twitter for attacks with police causing riots in America and ones of students protesting turning ugly in London from excessive force being used. While in both situations media or outsiders are not allowed in and the only way to get the message out is multiple people expressing the thoughts of what they see.


While on a personal note I found the point of if you can go to something, get it to com to you to be interesting as with majority of the world we are controlled by what we can afford but if we look from a different angle, we may be able to change the outcome so to be able to put this into practice even though it will be a task, Alam shows this to work.



  •  Photographer and participant looking at each other
  •  Parallel between image and perspective/opinion decided
  •  Participant in control
  •  Collaboration is key

ALAM: Feels that collaboration is key, as you need more people to use the tool to help it reach out to others. Importance is to hear the silent voice. This is like Davidman, who want to express the voice of transgender people who are stereotyped and judged for how they feel.


RICHIN: Says that if you want to change the world you must describe it differently, while Davidman shows different points of view through imagery and gets people to look at the imagery so to enlighten the viewer.


KHAMISSER: This is the same and also different to Davidman’s work as Davidman at the time had no connection she knew of to transgender people until after creating the work so it was a new subject for her. Yet at the same time the ones she collaborated with and allowed to take control were the people themselves who lived there loves this way so was the primary source of the subject.  


This I felt was a unique way of working as the collaboration meant that control was handed over to the participants so they had more say in the work. I was also interested by the opinion given of the participant and photographer looking at each other as this for me is my main weakness as I tend to rush myself as I don’t like the participant waiting around for me however with this opinion being expressed it makes me see the role of a model from a different light so kind of relaxes me a bit in the process. So that I am more focused on capturing images and less on taking up people’s time.



  • Don’t be shy
  • You can go anywhere if you work out the means
  • 2 people present at once. Keeps it interesting
  • Get to know the story not just the stereotype
  • Research the photograph not just what’s related to it



Here Scott-Tilley says that the context is important in his work as when you see an image or a set happening then you jump to a conclusion mainly based on a stereotype but this might not be the reasoning behind it happening unless you find out. Something that Mayes and Hetherington support by feeling that an image is strongest when you know the context.

DAVIDMANN and MANSOUR: Get to know your participant

In both pieces Davidmann and Mansour say that you need to know your participant, especially in the case so to document them or in the case that if you collaborate with them you need to know their thoughts. Yet if you’re documenting them you cant just get a picture and put your own interpretation to it, you need their thoughts on it as it represents them and forms your context.


This talk was interesting as to start with I was intrigued by the way in which two photographers worked together to present from one to the other with their work but it still stayed relevant to the other and ran smoothly. This also kept me interested as, as soon as you heard about one then the other participant spoke and told you about a different project. The point of speaking to people was also key throughout, this is something of unless I make myself then I tend to avoid talking to strangers but with that I can miss some interesting images but both photographers have managed to capture interesting images by using something I dislike doing and make me want to over come it.


Personally though I was interested by McDermaid’s project being based throughout the country, yet even though would have been costly could also be done through research. This is something I myself am interested in doing but get put off by the price so just go for as soon as I have a car. Seeing it be put into practice and work though means that is doable and that you ca go further than just your area.


One thought on “Session 6

  1. Pingback: Met of the Learning Outcomes | deanachantler

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