Student work · Tanya Ahmed – 100th street
Tanya talks about her work: https://vimeo.com/43594038
Maggy Miller, assessor talks about Tanya’s work: https://vimeo.com/42467929
I had a look initially at Davidson’s website of the 100th street project to refresh my memory as it had been a while since I had seen these images. One thing that stands out is the way that the times have moved on. Photography works excellently in this respect to highlight social or environmental change and I think is even more effective if contrasted with previous work. The comparison element highlights change more powerfully. But its worth noting that Davidson too wanted to work with his subjects:
‘…I wanted to be with my subjects face to face and for them to collaborate in making the picture. I wanted the images to have a depth, tonality, and level of detail that could convey the mood of lives poised in a moment of time.’ (Davidson, 1966-68.)
I does appear to me that Davidson was to a fare degree intimate with his subjects, given that we see him many times inside peoples’ houses. As pointed out, this initial project had a political agenda in highlighting social deprivation. Tanya’s project is of a different nature: personal, safe not edgy, familiar and local to her own interests.
The work of portraiture in situ tells a story of familiarity and warmth between subject and photographer. People are clearly in a different phycological state in Tanya’s work compared to that of Davidson’s which is edgy and stricken with uneasiness.
Tanya mentions that she used to make photos of the built urban environment and that in this project she wanted to make it more personal and people oriented. I wonder if a combination of the two would not of been a stronger presentation, at times contrasting with archival footage to show Davidson’s photos? This would of led for me, in the viewing, to a broader study of the theme and the historical stages of change over forty years. I feel that this was a missed opportunity in the work.
Davidson. B. East 100th Street (1966-68) [online] http://blog.ricecracker.net/2017/04/10/bruce-davidson-east-100th-street/ [accessed, September 2020]