Photography, Truth and Justice
Do photos help us understand the truth and spur movements?
What does this mean?
What do you think? Do photos tell the truth?
Photography and Race
Photography and History
•Some of you will talk – some of you will type on the back channel. Then we will switch.
•We will continue this discussion throughout the unit to help you formulate ideas for your essay.
Using Photography to Make an Argument
Today, we will read and study the poem, looking for parallels between now and then. We will consider the ways this poem still speaks the truth and search for photographs that potentially can help us reveal that truth to an audience.
This should be fun!
Photography implies that we know about the world if we accept it as the camera records it. But this is the opposite of understanding, which starts from not accepting the world as it looks. All possibility of understanding is rooted in the ability to say no. Strictly speaking, one never understands anything from a photograph. Of course, photographs fill in blanks in our mental pictures of the present and the past: for example, Jacob Riis’ images of New York squalor in the 1880’s are sharply instructive tot hose unaware that urban poverty in late-nineteenth-century America was really that Dickensian. Nevertheless, the camera’s rendering of reality must always hide more than it discloses. As Brecht points out, a photograph of the Krupp works reveals virtually nothing about that organization. In contrast to the amorous relation, which is based on how something looks, understanding is based on how it functions. And functioning takes place in time and must be explained in time. Only that which narrates can make us understand.
The limit of photographic knowledge of the world is that, while it can goad conscience, it can finally never be ethical or political knowledge. The knowledge gained through still photographs will always be some kind of sentimentalism, whether cynical or humanist. It will be a knowledge at bargain prices – a semblance of knowledge, a semblance of wisdom…The very muteness of what is hypothetically, comprehensible in photographs is what constitutes their attraction and provocativeness. The omnipresence of photographs has an incalculable effect on our ethical sensibility. By furnishing this already crowded world with a duplicate on e images, photography makes us fell that the world is more available than it really is.
Needed to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies, it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution.
On Photography - 1977
To what extent does photography limit or enhance our understanding of the world?
Today you will HAND WRITE your essay. You have 50 minutes to write. Use all of the resources you have to help you.
Analysis to Action - You Make The Argument!
Today we will spend some time looking at sample photo essays, generating a list of characteristics, and deciding which styles appeal to you personally.
Genre Study - The Photo Essay
What unique choices did you notice?
Make yourself a list:
A good photo essay does:
Write your proposal!
You will write a blog post TODAY that includes you topic idea, working thesis, why that topic is appealing to you, your plan for taking photos and the list of what all photo essays have and unique features of some photo essays.
Link to NYTimes list: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/05/301-prompts-for-argumentative-writing/
Tips For Taking Better Photos...
- Choose one that you think really does a good job of capturing the story/message you are trying to send. Discuss why you think it is effective.
- Choose one that you think is weaker or that you might want to retake and discuss why it isn't as effective.
Remember what you told me that a good intro will do 2 things:
1. Pull out the emotional or value aspect of your topic to help your reader immediately care.
2. Use some shocking facts or statistics to illustrate logically why this issue is worth considering.
Captions can take various forms. The most boring and least useful captions simply tell what the photo illustrates. Don't do that. The best captions are going to make arguments, tell stories, use quotes, help the reader build curiosity about the topic. Look at the samples above for some examples of good captions.
Others aiming to argue through photography...
Remember these criteria:
- Creative Title
- Intro with research, statistics and emotion
- captions of 1-3 sentences for each photo
- 10-12 photos total, at least half of which you took yourself
- conclusion with a call-to-action