This week has had some punctum for me as I open my eyes to my practice in relation to other disciplines. Punctum (‘that accident which pricks, bruises me.’) and studium (‘a kind of education (civility, politeness) that allows discovery of the operator’) source are two new words for me to work with in my project. From Barthes Camera Lucida they touch on my interest in the narrative contained within a photograph or within the viewer or in the context of the positioning of the image. Narrative is always there because human minds are story making machines. The other two words that registered for me were the hermeneutic (suspense through unanswered questions) and proairetic (suspense through anticipation of an action) codes which are the two ways of creating suspense in a narrative source. Lots more work to do with these ideas as I make the case for narrative and emotion in a photograph.
I was struck by
‘Barthes’ aesthetic is governed by a prejudice against linear time and especially against narrative, the privileged form of linear time as he saw it, which he regarded with typically high-modernist scorn and disdain.’ (Peter Wollen, ‘Fire and Ice’, in Photographies, no. 4 (Paris, April 1984) 118-20.)
If Barthes has a prejudice against narrative I have a strong prejudice for. That makes for an interesting enquiry as I understand more what he is for and how it fits with my prejudice.
The interdisciplinary work to date for me has been predominantly with words and narrative. I believe every photograph has a narrative that each viewer gives it. They are all unique and different, as are all viewers, but with some overlap given by similar experiences the viewers may have had. I also believe a photographer can change the narrative a viewer has by adding words.
In the image above I can leave you to make your own narrative. You will have done so already and if I ask you what it is you will tell me. If I give the image a title I will immediately interfere with your own processes of narrative creation as you check to see if it confirms your bias.
Let’s call this image ‘Spanish Breakfast’. What has that done to your story? We can have an interesting conversation now.
The image captures something that has happened to me this week. I took this image yesterday while shooting some long exposure landscape shots. I have a series of shots of this man that I will make in to a gallery and a story. The interdisciplinary work of this week also now makes me want to use my video function on my camera for the first time. I will revisit this scene and see what I can do with some video footage and some more shots of what is going on here.
I am also fascinated by the relationship between psychology an photography. My interest in narrative and emotion comes from completing a Masters in Cognitive and Decisions Sciences at UCL.
A great week and my head is buzzing with ideas.
Categories: Positions and Practice