OCA Learning Blog
All in Exercises
Tragically, photojournalist, Tim Hetherington, was killed by shrapnel , whilst covering the Libyan Civil War, on 20th April 2011. His photographs rightfully received many accolades, bringing many conflict zones to the public’s attention.
Mobile phones now come with a decent camera and and internet capabilities as standard. Most people now have the capability of a mobile broadcasting unit in their pocket. Everyone’s a photographer and a photojournalist.
Before this advance in digital technology, any newsworthy images would have been taken by seasoned professionals who would have abided by their own ethical standards. The tabloids would also have had a loyal readership, so the need for sensationalism was not as paramount.
On the evening of the 14th June 2017, a huge fire engulfed a 27 storey tower block in West London. The image above shows the Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, fully ablaze. Sadly, 71 people died in the inferno.
In his book, 'After Photography', author Fred Ritchen discusses the influence of the digital world on the photograph. Previously, analog photographs would be passed around and viewed at social gatherings, and then returned to the owner. Some of those photographs may have been worthy of being framed, enjoying a more public space - perhaps hung on a wall, or placed on a mantle piece, for any visitor to look at.
Now that we are well and truly in a digital world, Belgian photographer, Mishka Henner, believes that images and data are waiting to be discovered. His work involves trawling unimaginably vast data terrains, such as Google Earth and Street View, to find specific subjects. Rather than a ‘photographer’, he could be referred to as a ‘digital explorer’.
For this exercise I needed to create a typology of found images, in which a particular motif appears again and again. At first, I had thought about something link red telephone boxes or black cabs. However, the photographs often contained a lot of irrelevant visual information, which might detract from the main subject. Having found out about Joachim Schmid's method of collecting and categorising photographs, I tried to think of the modern day equivalent. I found my answer on the Internet.
In 1964, Belgian surrealist, René Magritte, painted 'The Son of Man' (below, left). It is a portrait of a man in a bowler hat, red tie and dark blue overcoat. He is standing in front of a low wall, which holds back the sea in the background. Overhead is a cloudy sky. The most distinctive feature of this oil painting is the green apple, which partly obscures the subject's face. His left eye can just be seen peering at the viewer from behind the fruit. The title, 'Son of Man', together with the apple, give the work of art a religious reference to Adam in the Garden of Eden.