Week 3 Reading Photographs

December 03, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

This is another topic which for me in that seldom do I look at an image and think about the meaning and what the photographer was trying to show.  Normally an image captures my attention visually so composition, lighting etc. rather than seeing or even looking forward to the message it is trying to convey. I think this comes from my more science focused background and the types of job roles which have often been process, methodology and data driven where answers are in the main black and white or at least some shade of black and white! Of course, except for when people are involved. 

I also never give any thought when I’m taking an image at least consciously of the message or statement I am trying to give to my audience.

As a I work my way through this MA and look to both enhance my practice and my wider knowledge and understanding of photography as an art form rather than as a technical exercise then I would hope with some effort and wider exposure to a range of photographers and literature I will become more adept at reading images rather than just looking at them!

The way we read images is influenced by a range of factors including background and upbringing, life experiences as well as the literature and culture we have been exposed to. 

I was brought up in a working-class family in Warrington an industrial town in the Northwest of England steeped in the traditions of industry and rugby league what some may consider to be a ‘proper’ northern town. I’m a white male and grew up and worked at least for the first 17 years of my career in my local area in Operations management roles in manufacturing industry. As a family growing up, I was heavily involved in the Boys Brigade for several years and playing the xylophone in a marching band was as near to any artistic involvement for me. My parents had no real interest in the arts other than the music of the day and that wasn’t really in a passionate way. No one within in family, circle of friends was a photographer other than in a holiday snap way, so my early exposure was limited to poor quality images from holidays and family events.

In 2001 I moved from an operations role into consulting and had a very significant change in working and life with a job which took me over the following 20 years to over 34 countries including a year living in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and 3 months in Bangkok. 

This change in my way of life and an opportunity to be exposed to many cultures at a level beyond that which the tourist would experience has most certainly changed my world view and has allowed me to bring additional insights of the world we live in that is very different to my formative years!

Will this help me reading images almost certainly my life experiences and my outlook on life has changed over the years significantly. The challenge for me over the coming 2 years of this course is to change the way I look at images both others and my own and look for something more than the visual impact of photographs.  

This week’s photography was at the ‘Pub in the Park' Music and food festival in Marlow. Image of the week is headline act Ronan Keating in action.

 


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