Reflective commentary on Eight ways
The two bodies of work that I looked at were: Chris de Bode and Ami Vital.
Chris de Bode.
In general de Bode offers technically a large frame to contextualise the story. He does not use a more classic photo essay style but largely works with the same focal length. I think what de Bode has attempted to get at is a sense of empowerment and movement, energy even in the subjects. He presents them I feel as subjects that have certain initiative and avoids the hackneyed poverty line drudgery all too common in much of this kind of work. He has toned down the colours especially reducing saturation and given them a somewhat grainy feel. To me this sort of editing is trying to approach black and white without actually being black and white. I find it slightly questionable as it is attempting a certain stylistic interpretation.
Interesting to note first off the difference between a female and male eye in photography. The female presentation here focuses on motherhood in the community, giving birth etc. Her shots are somewhat as I see it, standard. I don’t think that they are as empowering as the above images with de Borde. She takes closer frames and leaves much of the immediate surroundings out of the picture. Her images for me do not add anything to a potential debate about the lived situation in the photos. They are simply matter of fact and in my opinion weak in expression. What’s worse is that they feed into sentimentality, an emotion that is easy to evoke in photography of this kind. Her use of colour tones are more obvious compared to de Borde that has tended to subdue the colours. I prefer the colour scheme of Vitale in the photos. That of de Borde in the desaturated look is now quite a typical appearance that even sometime turns up in advertising.