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Positions and Practice (PHO710) - Reading Photographs

Rowland Barthes Camera Lucida - This title and practitioner keep popping up.

New language learned this week:

  • Semiotics - Science of Signs

  • Studium - Intellect or Knowledge (what is depicted)

  • Punctum - Emotional or Phycological (individual to the viewer)

Before now; I've never consciously read an image; I found it very surprising after both the Seminar, showing the image Taliban by Luc Delahaye and the Webinar showing Hidden Spain by Cristina Garcia Rodero that each image contained so much information.

I was very surprised at how differently you look at an image project your own interpretations on it, then when you add context, such as a title or a caption, how your view of that same image changes so dramatically.

With the Taliban image, I felt desensitized at seeing a dead body because at first glance I thought that it was a typical image you’d expect to see in photojournalism possibly to report on the Afghan war. Once I discovered that it had been taken to display as an art piece however, my feelings towards the image changed from neutral to that of disgust. To learn that this photographer’s intentions were to display and attach huge price tags onto an image of a dead body shows little in the way of empathy to the deceased or his family regardless of what side of the war he was on. Was there any consideration given to ethical practice?

Taliban, 2001 by Luc Delahaye


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