The problem with Ren Hang’s latest book, is that it’s so good! – It’s almost exclusively photographs and are the last set authorized by Ren Hang himself. There will never be any more in this vein. I’ve only sampled a few pages because when I get to the end, it’s the end.
So I read with caution and I promise not to ‘over excite’ myself with new material. I will learn to read with antici…
…pation and view just a few pages every and now and then and appreciate his work for longer.
Visit his website, (http://renhang.org) put his name in every search engine you come across and don’t forget to look at his beautiful, playful and innocent yet evocative, constructed and dirty photographs.
Do you find it difficult sometimes to share your love of photography when your friends and family don’t share your interest as much as you do?
How do you tell them that without photographs, the world would never see the struggles of marginalized people, perceived by the general populace as ugly, outcast or irrelevant?
When you can’t verbally speak comfortably about death, sex, mental health, drugs, sexuality and abuse, what comes to the rescue?
When you’re such a geek because the philosophy of photography interests you so much , see their eyes glaze over after 2 minutes when explaining jux between Ren Hang’s photographs and poems.
When you’re excited at the reasons behind why people are compelled to create and share photographs and are genuinely interested and surprised with other peoples work
When you know that photography can be used to answer and discuss so many questions while opening up a treasure trove of new questions and imagery sometimes never heard or seen before.
When you know you’re just different, in this kind of sense..
We take photographs, we read about photographs, we read about people taking and reading about photographs and we want to know and understand more about photographs. How very meta.
So take some time to yourself, put your book down and delve into these documentaries. These videos highlight our interest, demonstrate why we enjoy what we do, explores the craftsmanship of some of the great photographers while showing how diverse our photography community is.
To stay up to date, this list will be continually updated – as of 13 August 2017, there’s 14 videos over 9 hours.
What video’s are missing? – Are they online? Why should we watch them? – Please let us know!
Ren Hang: The Art of Taboo
Gregory Crewdson’s Photography Capturing a Movie Frame
Entitled ‘My Life Is About To Change‘ the last meaningful article here is over 5 months ago. It’s an excitable announcement that I’m going to university to study Photography & Video suggesting I was about to start sharing ideas, work and articles as I begin my degree.
Like many people, I get lazy. I read about photography, I generate ideas for my own photo projects and I’m excited that I’m starting university soon. In the past 5 months though, when it comes to actually taking photographs or conducting research, or writing about photography, I’m not so good. I’m not particularly skilled at writing, (in fact, I’m having an assessment soon to determine if I’m dyslexic) which is why I need to do this more and do it online in the open.
I’d love to promise a worthwhile and meaningful photo essay once a week, I’d love to share every useful and decent article or book I read. I’d love to write more and share my research. I want to do these things, but I’m no good at the process or routine of it – it doesn’t make any sense, does it? – All of this will become automatic in a couple of months, so I’m trying to give myself a head start, share more and try to do this more regularly.
Where do I start? – I guess the most obvious question is…
Photography isn’t about holding a camera, taking a picture and sharing photos, that’s what the majority of people do every day with their smartphones. You could be forgiven if you believe that the purpose of taking photos is to share them on social media, whether or not they are faked selfies or emotional acts of expression. For the most part, the cameras which most of us carry every day are used to take photographs. There is another group of people, we use our cameras to create photographs.
This is an important distinction because photographs are created for different purposes, they are created for art, for documentary reasons, for memories, for sharing on social media, to sell products, to take photographs of dead babies, the list goes on and on.
The controversy appears to stem from people being offended that her portrait did not conform to their idea of what a portrait is. Photography is subjective, it can mean different things to people.
A photographic portrait isn’t necessarily the image of a person. Isn’t it better when the photograph is a real portrayal of the person? – Anyone can snap a photo, some people take great shots, others take great portraits while some really think about how to portray an individual using photographic technology.
People are upset because they were expecting the winning photograph to be an image of a person, they may look at Varga’s work and say “my 4 year could have done that” but you know what, your 4 year old didn’t, and neither did you!
As Justine Varga’s grandmother was testing pens on a sheet of paper, she noticed the action and wanted to ‘capture’ a portrait of her Gran doing this. With so many photographs (or portraits) already, she decided to explore and capture the essence of her Gran, rather than a traditional photograph. She asked her grandmother to test her pens on a 4×5 negative and after it was developed, you see her scribes, her movements, an imprint of her hand and even some saliva stains.
Is it a photo? Yes, a negative film with an imprint was developed and printed in colour.
Is it a portrayal of someone? Yes, there is a likeness of someone together with evidence of their DNA.
Is it a traditional portrait? No, it violates everything we have come to expect from traditional portraiture photography.
By these definitions, Maternal Line is a portrait of Justine Varga’s grandmother. The sense of a traditional portrait is replaced by a different sense of a portrait, that doesn’t make it any less of a portrait. Instead, the photograph has pushed the boundary between what is ordinary and what is unexpected, it has made people talk about what a photograph is and further advances Photography as Art (whether people like it or not)!
Aside from Photography as Art, (or any visual representation) the nature of photography is interesting and in this example we can explore the connections between different acts of picture making and how we are connected to it at all times.
In Carlos Pacheco’s ‘Found’ project, photographs found online are matched with CCTV footage of the same time and location which provide an additional recording of the moment the original photograph was taken. What I find interesting in Pancheco’s example is that people are taking photographs for their own purposes and at some point in the future, a visual artist is linking the CCTV footage to the snapshot. You have seen a further copy of the original photograph here and you are now, forever connected to the girl on the road. Work begets work, art begets art, how very meta.
An hour of footage is removed every hour from the Abbey Road CCTV Camera, there is a time limit to how many images can be found and displayed in this manner. Once the photograph and footage are linked together, a new record is created of the event, stored on a different server before the footage is deleted forever. Adding to, and extending the life of the original footage. Big Brother is watching you, but you may not realize that photographers and artists are using the data to create new things.
The case of Heather Whitten
The mininterpretation (or subjectivity) of photography is another reason why I enjoy the genre. In November 2014, Photographer Heather Whitten posted a picture to Facebook of a naked child cradled in the lap of a naked man. It caused controversy, some people saw nude images between children and adults as offensive and others saw a beautiful bond between a sick child and his father. Facebook even removed the photograph because it didn’t meet the ‘expected standards’
She has also been investigated for child neglect because an online user reported her to local authorities. Read the full story here and here and here, I don’t believe you’ll find any reason for her to be charged for child neglect.
This is why I enjoy photography, it’s why I believe there is no such thing as a bad photograph and I hope my own photographic work will transcend what is deemed acceptable by other people’s definitions of the genre.
What does photography mean to you? – Why do you like it? What is the best example of your reasons?
Hundreds of people from all Leicester’s faith groups gathered in the city centre for a tearful but determined display of solidarity with Manchester last night.
Two days after the suicide bomb attack on young fans at an Ariana Grande concert, about 300 people stood together outside the Town Hall in Leicester, where the words “Leicester” and “Manchester” were drawn on the ground in chalk, united by a heart.
Last week, during my Uni interview, I asked for the reading list in advance and they provided.
There’s 85 books in total, 7 I already have and 3 which I can’t find. I’ve made a public Amazon list so anyone interested can see what’s ahead or use the list for photo and video book recommendations. Notwithstanding, the library should have most, if not all of these titles.
I’m not the best reader, and I suspect it will take a long time to get through them. I should learn learn to read faster and find a logical order for them so knowledge can build progressively.
It’s been awhile since I’ve used this blog and a lot has changed since my last post in April 2016. I’ve decided to learn more about photography and will be joining the creative teams at De Montfort University in October. Since finishing photography courses at college (2 years ago) there has been a gap, I feel the need to learn more and in a structured way. As I learn, I’ll be sharing ideas and projects here, at TJRFoto and formally at my website.
I enjoy reading about photography & taking photographs because of their ability to communicate ideas, stories & emotions without conversation or spoken language. I find it necessary to photograph because I enjoy the process & satisfaction that I am creating something unique with meaning which can last. For example, I searched for additional meaning in my own work. Charles Grogg has said that damaging or altering his photographs bring his attention to them once again” (Regrowth: 2012).
In his images, he manipulates printed photographs adding connotations to his original work. In “Road to Nowhere“, I damaged a set of photos & reshot the results. Both projects talk about changes & opportunities we face & the piece encourages me to develop myself.
My work is personal & expressive (and sometimes I’m screaming). I like to work on topics, which have deeper meaning.
For “Here I Am“, you are invited into comfort zones. As I saw the public respond to these images when they were exhibited in 2014, I found myself in agreement that photography encourages voyeurism. I will ask people why they like photographs & some cannot answer the question, yet there they are, looking at Photographs.
Photographs (stories) are being created in such a specific way, which persuades you into a similar way of thinking (or arguing) about the content. I enjoy the apparent permanence of Photography & when I read about its impact through history & in modern society, I am stimulated into creating my own work, that provides a platform to highlight subjects, which concern me.
I also enjoy photography to reflect on myself, some of my work is autobiographical. Photography is interesting because it’s language is universal & speaks to people from all backgrounds & abilities. My favourite photographers change over time, however core examples are: Phillip Toledano, Richard Billingham, Robbert Mapplethorpe, Steven Klein, David Lachapelle and Wolfgang Tillmans.
Photographs have changed my perspective on the world, I am gladly surprised what hidden meanings can be found in them.