Human beings are stimulus response organisms. In the same way the rays from the sun force a flower to open its petals or change its orientation, stimuli act on people to cause a response they have little control over. A photograph is a stimulus. We touch it and look at it and it has an impact on us. It changes us.
I propose to point my research question towards how photographs influence the way we think and feel and the impact they have through our senses. Here is a first draft of the research proposal.
I will produce a body of work that demonstrates how photographs change a person. It will show how the photograph impacts the way a person thinks and feels and does so through its action on his/her senses. A human being is a stimulus response organism like anything else that lives and naturally responds to stimulus to its senses. My hypothesis is that after a person experiences a photograph she is different and subsequently take actions that are caused by that difference. Photographs change you.
I was shopping in Carrefour recently when I saw a photograph of a Kit Kat in an advert. Kit Kat’s were not on my shopping list but I walked out with a multipack of 5. I did this despite the very same day telling myself I needed to cut my calories following a heavy sequence of lunches and dinners.
This image of the death of Alan Kurdi goes through our eyes causing an immediate emotional response and sets our thought processes in to a frenzy. The basic emotions of anger, fear, sadness, distrust and surprise are all triggered. Once triggered our minds get to work to try to make sense of what it is seeing. If you saw this image, and you probably did, or another version of it, it will have had a profound impact on you. Whether people chose to do something or not as a result of this picture my proposition is that seeing such a photograph changed them in some way.
The first two images are global in nature and impact many human beings in predictable ways. This image of the genius of Brian Clough is more specific. It has a huge impact on me as a fan of Nottingham Forest and instantly sparks a flood of emotions rekindled from the fabulous period he was the manager while I was growing up. It may impact others in different ways. Some who do not follow football will know him for the TV personality he was. For others it will have very little impact other than a desire to know who it is and why the picture is there.
In a world of fake news this picture messes with our thought processes. It can’t be a real picture but it looks like one.
I took this image last week at the Albufera near Valencia. It caught my eye. A collection of three shapes making a pleasing composition. Reflections are always attractive and the clarity of this one very much so. The colour contrast between the white and blue has an impact. I liked it and have had a number of positive comments from viewers.
If my thesis is right then this picture changes us. Changes me and changes you. I am just starting out on this journey so some early thoughts. Did this picture changed me? It will make me go back to the Albufera to improve on this shot in this location again and seek out more around it. It has got me enquiring in to why this image caught my eye. I will do research as a consequence of this image. At the time I took it I felt present, calm and relaxed as a result of the location I was in and what I was looking at. I got satisfaction out of taking it and looking at it at home. It impacted my mood in the moment, when I got home and still does so as I look at it now.
The research can enquire in to what impact this has on you. Tell me if you want. I am interested in all answers. Some have told me already that some photographs change us in a big way and others not at all. Is that right?
I need say no more.
Categories: Positions and Practice