National geographic · Gaze

The gaze: Catherine Lutz and Jane collins

First Summarising some of the key arguments in this text:

  1. The importance of the national geographic as an institution of science and an arbiter of photographic merit in showing indigenous and third world issues.
  2. The discussion of gazes from cultural standpoints and where they intersect
  3. A typology of seven different types of gaze: photographer’s gaze, institutional gaze (magazine, editing etc), reader’s gaze, non-Western subjects gaze explicit looking done by westerners often framed with locals in the picture gaze, the gaze refracted by mirrors of cameras in the frame, the academic gaze.
  4. The male gaze and the female gaze
  5. Barthes and the ‘reading’ of a picture and cultural interpretation
  6. Elements that seem distorted or unnatural to the human gaze in a photo are resisted. i.e strange angles of view, colour emphasis etc.
  7. The image’s inherent ambiguity and the application of the viewers imagination
  8. The camera setting up the illusion of intimacy and accent in the photographer photographed relation.
  9. Voyeurism and narrcisism
  10. Western superior stance over indigenous and third world countries, taking them to be less advanced and educated.

    In what ways does the idea of the gaze apply to your photography? What are the implications of this for your practice? Write a short reflective commentary in your learning log.

    In general the theme of the gaze will have the effect of making me reflect more on subject matter from the point of view of the outcome of the photo: i.e what are my motivations for taking the photo and what is its distribution and to who?

    I think that the art of photography requires a gaze that is empathetic and aware; aware in the full sense of the effect of publishing an image will have on an individual as a document or piece of work that reveals something about the person involved.

    In terms of the different kinds of gaze pointed out here, it seems apparent that there is a portion of authority or at least responsibility to be considered for the person as a professional photographer working on an assignment. I’d like to believe that a deeper understanding of the image and the theme of my assignments causes me to reflect more systematically on what I am trying to communicate as a photographer.




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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