Critical Ideas

Berger, J. (1972). Ways of Seeing: Penguin, Harmondsworth.

any connotation that may be read or decoded must be met with suspicion (Berger 1972).

Borge, M (2012) Photography as Activism, Images for Social Change. London, Focal Press.

“Maybe activist photography begins at the point that a photographer thinks beyond the photograph, or when the photograph is not the end, rather a means to a solution even if the solution is nebulous.” (Borge 2012).

Sturken & Cartwright (2001) Practices of Looking. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 2001

Sturken & Cartwright (2001, p. 93) conclude, ‘’Society possesses a multiplicity of gazes and looks to mediate power between viewers and objects of the gaze’.

Sturgeon & Cartwright, highlight that ‘advertising isn’t situated in the present, rather an imagined future’.

Barthez, Roland (1980) Camera Lucida, London, Vintage.

‘captions further not only a gaze, but also an understanding’ (Barthes,1980)

Barthez: 1981) who argues “authentication exceeds the power of representation”

(Barthez 1972 p20) suggests “the imposition of second meaning on the photographic message proper, is realised at the different levels of of the production of the photograph”.

Barthez, Roland (1977) Image Music Text. Fontana Press, London.

(Barthez 1977: p28) Thanks to the code of conotation the reading of the photograph is thus always historical; it depends n the readers ‘knowledge’ just as though it were a matter of a real language, intelligible only if one has learned all of the signs.

Barker, Chris (2008) Cultural Studies London: Sage

Barker (2008, p. 482) states in respect of intertextuality ‘The accumulation and generation of meaning across texts, where all meanings depend on other meanings. The self conscious citation of one text within another as an expression of enlarged cultural self consciousness.’

BATE, D (2009) Photography, The Key Concepts. Oxford, Berg.

Bate argues against when he purports that the purpose of surface depth in photography intentionally leaves the spectator out of the equation (2009, P.70)

I am still acutely aware that the intention of my work is to move a viewer in a way that they may identify or recognise as propertied by Bate (2009).

Bate (2009) emphasis the relevance of the blank expression which may also serve the viewer to raise further questions about the people they look at.


Campany, David (2008) Photography and Cinema. London: Reaktion Books.

’The documentary function of the medium is partially suspended and the camera as a witness is replaced by pictorial hypothesis ’This Was…’ to ‘What if this Was… ? (Campany, 2008, p. 137)

COTTON, C. (2020). PHOTOGRAPH AS CONTEMPORARY ART. 3rd ed. [S.l.]: THAMES & HUDSON

Cotton argues that ‘The adoption of a deadpan aesthetic moves art photography outside the hyperbolic, sentimental and subjective’ (2020, p. 27)

Franklin, S. (2016) The Documentary Impulse, Phaidon, New York.

Franklin (2016: 165) argues that “There is no wright or wrong, only an impulse to photograph”,

Franklin (2016: 169) offers a conclusion of which I identify with by stating “The staying power and force of these strategies of measured ambiguity in photography owe much to the psychological and emotional way in which images communicate : further research and a deeper understanding”

Soth in Franklin
“I see poetry as the medium most similar to photography… Or at least the photography I pursue. Like poetry, photography, is rarely successful with narrative. What is essential is the ‘voice’ (or eye) and the way this voice pieces together fragments to make something tenuously whole and beautiful”
(2016: pp 167)

Goodwin, A. & Whannel, G (2005) Understanding Television. London, Routledge.

Goodwin & Whannel (2005) were particularly relevant when they suggest that ‘Messages are socially produced in particular circumstances and made culturally available as shared explanations of how the world works. In other words, they are ‘ideologies’,

Hall, Stuart (1999) ‘Encoding, Decoding’ in The Cultural Studies Reader. London, Routledge.

Hall (1999, p. 514) offers an appropriate conclusion to the assumptions made about this image in stating ‘By the word reading we mean not only the capacity to identify and decode a certain number of signs, but also the subjective capacity to put them into a creative relation between themselves and with other signs’

Lister, M (2013) The Photographic Image in Digital Culture. London, Rutledge.

Lister (2013: 5) who argues “Photography appears to be everywhere and nowhere simultaneously”.

Ritchin, F (2013) Bending the Frame, Photojournalism, Documentary and the Citizen. New York, Aperture.

Ritchin (2013. p49) may provide substance to my approach to the ambiguity I create when he argues that “the photographer must increasingly emphasise the role of interpretation rather than that of transcription”

Ritchin (2013) in the idea that a photograph isn’t required to provide all of the answers but raise further questions to the audience.

However (Ritchin 2013: p49) argues that “the photographer must increasingly emphasise the role of interpretation rather than that of transcription”

Ritchin (2013:48) shed some light on this burden “A photograph that strives to provide a single answer intimates its own manipulation: one that provokes questions, whether intentionally or not, better allows the viewer to engage with the subject and become, in a sense, the photographer’s collaborator in his or her enquiry.”

Ritchin’s ideas about categorisation of photographs was very useful and somewhat enlightening. Emphasising that photographs are open to interpretation and will result in common themes and stereotypes such as celebrities being flattered and the poor being victims.

Snyder, J. Allen, N.W. (1975) ‘Photography, Vision and Representation’ in Critical Inquiry, Vol.7, No.1. (Autumn, 1975)

connection between the eye and the environment in depicting “what we would have seen if we had been there ourselves”.

(Snyder and Allen) by using a slow shutter speed and panning the camera. Such techniques again may create ambiguity in relation to authenticity.

Snyder and Allen (1975: p 65) who cite Szarkowski who argues “the artist begins with the subject then does something to it – deforms it somehow, according to some personal sense of style”

SONTAG, Susan. (1973) On Photography. New York, Dell Publishing.

I am used to producing portraits of couples with the objective of creating photographic souvenirs (Sontag 1977).

Sontag (1979, p.14) argues, “To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed”.

(Sontag 1977. p9) highlights “the trip was made, the programme was carried out, that fun was had”

Szarkowski, J (1966) The Photographers Eye, New York, Museum of Modern Art.

Szarkowski (1976) emphasises that ‘photography is a system of visual editing… it is a matter of choosing from among given possibilities, but in the case of photography the number of possibilities in not finite but infinite’.

Szarkowski (1966:10) further resonated with a broader approach “There is in fact no such thing as an instantaneous photograph. All photographs are exposures of shorter or longer duration, and each describes a discreet parcel of time. This time is always the present.”

Published by drewfindlay82

Photographer based in Stockport, England. This website is for the purpose of my personal work, currently studying MA Photography at Falmouth University.

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