Part Two · project 1: Legacy and documentary for social change

The paper by Elizabeth McCausland

The relevance of this article is considered in the context of black and white photography and the issue of social change that relies upon ‘objective’ image making to be effective. McCausland explores this in her article stating that photography in the documentary genre is the most reliable too for this job.

  • Documentary photography has grown out of a desire for truth and a need for the objective portrayal of the external world
  • Realism has more value than other forms of photography that are less precise, subjectively driven and open to misinterpretation
  • Realism is committed to the chronicling of the external world which is what is needed at the these times (the 30’s)
  • “Pretty pictures” have had their day and its time for some reality
  • The personality of the photographer is unimportant and the facts of the image are paramount
  • That photography has a “new spirit” which is objective and truthful, not contrived and disconnected
  • The intentions of the photographer must somehow be pure and simple, unsullied by personal interpretation
  • At the turn of the century art and photography got mixed up and confused giving rise to a debate of “Is photography art?”
  • Photography (documentary?) is not bound by the pictoral and romantic traditions of painting
  • People do not want emotion from art but something more substantial, ‘meaty’ and real
  • Certain artist of the past would find documentary photography congenial whereas other not inclined towards realism would not; the romantics for example
  • The photo has no other equivalent in term of communication of facts
  • There is no end to taking photographs of the external world, all depends on the conviction of the photographer and the technical skill at their disposal

Published by Truevisionphotography

I'm a student photographer studying through the OCA a UK based arts university. I'm in the foundation year of my studies and enjoying it immensely. I'm also a yoga teacher and co-founder of Bodhiyoga a buddhism based yoga teacher training program that runs in the UK and Spain each year. As a photographer I'm interested in all forms of fine art. I find the arts really important in my life. I love nature and aim to be in the outdoors as much as I can. Generally I think that all the different strands of my life are flowing to towards self development in the greatest sense of the term. The arts, buddhist practice yoga and meditation are all tools to that end. I feel committed to communication the these values in the world both through the visual arts as well as teaching.

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