Below are summary notes from reading the book in order to help me remember what I have studied. At times I have quoted and abbreviated merely to help collect my own ideas from this book.
Discussion of images of human poverty and suffering. Look at Salgados images, he is often criticised for making money on his images of suffering human beings and for beautifying such suffering. However those in favour of Salgados style argue that the beauty of his images catches and holds our attention. We have become desensitised to images of human suffering by being bombarded in the media. How can we therefore catch the attention of people and hold it until they start to think about what they are looking at.
Salgado aims to show a little of the character of those the photographs and to give them respect and dignity that which they are not always afforded in life.
quote by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano
” Salgado photographs people, amateurs photograph phantoms” he also comments “Poverty is a commodity that fetches a high price on the luxury market” and can extract “crocodile tears”
Michael Palmer comments that the effectiveness of Salgados image is what is hidden and not spoken but is constantly there at the edge of the frame. The anti aesthetic tendency can easily become an an-aesthetic one.
Lukacs Brecht brings to our attention how easy it is to fail while doing a portrait or a piece of art. What right do we have to begin even trying to represent a person and how easy it is to either partially succeed or not at all. He writes how the world is not obliged to be sentimental but that does not mean we should stop trying.
Does art take part in politics and politics in art. How can we stop them from cohabiting,should we? are they misleading?
Walter Benjamin brings to our attention that a literary work to be politically correct must also be correct in a literary sense. Translated to photography it must be a quality image to also be effective politically. He notes how there must be tension in the work if everything was decided beforehand there would be no effectiveness.
Photography and propoganda
” l dont believe in objectivity everyone has a point of view. But what I say is I wont be a propogandist for anyone” John Hoagland. Hoagland knew there is no objectivity in photography in political terms. Opinion and how an image is read often depends on the beholder.
Brecht wrote “photography, in the hands of the boureoisie, has become a terrible weapon against the truth” ” the camera is just as capable of lying as the typewriter”
Journalism was once categorised as objective reporting however it is used by governments and multinational companies to influence our thought. To create ideal representatives of a nation and society.
Again we return to the belief that photography is pure and true. This causes people to believe what they see and instantly take it as truth.
A.P. Foulkes writes ” if we refer to the nineteenth century as the Age of Ideology, then it seems even more appropriate to regard the present century as the age of Propoganda. Twentieth century propoganda…. is worldwideand all pervasive”
We look at how in modern American journalism it is hard to tell where advertising stops and news begins.
The book points out how John Hoagland and Richard Cross were idealists of their time believing that by photographing the horror of war they could somehow speed up its end. Later in his short life Cross began to speak out about the limitations of the media and to doubt the effectivness of photography. He points out how Photographers were to busy trying to portray the current dramatic symptoms of a war as opposed to the cause of the problem.