Postmodernism, postdocumentary, postmemory

Looking up some information on documentary traditions, I came across a wealth of material on the OCA website that I had not seen before – is this because I am on level 3 and now the documentary part is a level 2 course? Whatever. Anyway, some of the materials are worth looking at in depth.

Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York (HONY)

When I explained what I do with photography and first-person narratives, one of my students told me about this project. Brandon Stanton outlines the project on the website as such:

“Humans of New York began as a photography project in 2010. The initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street, and create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants.”
Continue reading “Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York (HONY)”

Martha Rosler, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems

Gevers paraphrases Martha Rosler, explaining how the latter pointed out in her theoretical writings that documentary photography continues the hegemonic world view since it helps to maintain the social systems it purports to expose or criticize (Afterthoughts). Rosler’s own work employs documentary tradition to expose the inadequacies of descriptions, both photographic and textual. Continue reading “Martha Rosler, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems”

Images that demand consummation Postdocumentary photography, Art and Ethics: Ine Gevers

This essay looks at the position of documentary-style photography within postdocumentary discipline. Her choice of title is interesting – images that demand consummation, and I understand this to mean images which are not self contained narratives (in the documentary tradition) since it has been shown that such images are motivationally misplaced and do not inspire critical action (Sekula, Rosler, Solomon-Godeau). Continue reading “Images that demand consummation Postdocumentary photography, Art and Ethics: Ine Gevers”

Susan Meiselas, Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History

“Another development sees documentary image-makers focussing [sic] on the publicity and distribution channels of documentary photography. They study and comment on the way that the media shape history and the political and commercial interests that influence this. Stories that do not fit into the collective image of the world or are regarded as undesirable by those concerned can be ignored by society or even deliberately suppressed.” (Heuvel, p113)
Continue reading “Susan Meiselas, Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History”

The Tuol Sleng photographic archive

Gevers talks about the problems encountered when photographs are exhibited in gallery spaces – they are immediately elevated to the level of aesthetic artefact, no matter how brutal or harrowing their subject matter (as has been demonstrated when I looked at the work of Nachtwey, Meiselas and even Salgado). Continue reading “The Tuol Sleng photographic archive”