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  • Damien Williams

Week 5: Power and responsibilities:

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Week 5

I have been inspired. Yes, again. In a forum this week, PC referenced an artist and a project that tells a very personal and emotive story through images. I am developing a need for images to be the lead of the narrative. Too often, the images are subordinate or fully contextualised by text.

These series of work, especially 'Looking for Alice' and 'Martha' are profoundly personal works that convey emotion and growth. They are beautifully captured and are sequenced and 'mounted' in a way that focusses on story. I was moved and inspired to search for the deeper meaning of photographs, yes real photographs, within the narrative. It starts with an exploration of self. A genuine and honest look at who you are and who you wish to be. The journey that Siân Davey has taken is full of challenge and involved brave introspection in order to start conceptualising the work. The guest lecture afforded me the ability to see how she views the work. exemplifying PC's point of looking for interviews from artists about the work not just reading reviews. This is something that is new to my practice.

© Sebastiao Salgado (Churchgate station 1995)

Ethics and responsibilities:

“If you take a picture of a human that does not make him noble, there is no reason to take this picture. That is my way of seeing things.” – Sebastião Salgado

This quote fits with Ethics and responsibilities of the photographer and the power (and responsibility) of the single image. Taken from Dan Winters' incredible book A Road to Seeing, Dan Winters discusses the effect on the photographer of one of the most iconic photographs of the Vietnam war.

"Eddie spoke not being affected by the incident with Major General Loan at the time; at that point of his life, it was nothing new. Years later he would curse the image, not because it spoke to the unspeakable, but because the photograph, in his estimation, had ruined the General's life. In An unlikely Weapon, Eddie went so far as to say he would have probably done at the same that day, were he in the general's position:

"The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half – truths. What is the photograph didn't say was, 'What would you do if you with the general at that time and place on that hot day, and you caught the so-called that guy after he blew away one, two, or three American soldiers?'" (Winters 2014:?? ) referencing the documentary 'an unlikely weapon from 2008.

You can read more of his thoughts here in this BBC article.

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