Listen to Miranda Gavin talking about documentary photography.
Write a 200 word reflective commentary setting out your reactions to Gavin’s viewpoint.
Issues raised in the video.
1. How technological change has allowed new approaches to documentary photography.
2. The growth of women photographers
3. The merging of categories which are no longer “set in stone”
Documentary photography is becoming harder than ever to categorize, something Gavin acknowledges in the video. As a genre its boundaries now frequently merge and cross over. With the growth of technology, the internet, and social media sites, images can be viewed not only in print but almost instantaneously as events unfurl online.It is commonly understood as providing factual evidence and recording the truth.
The aim of documentary photography is to inform , to show something. How individual photographers choose to record, and document events will invariably influence how the image is perceived. Hence documentary photography can also be subjective which seems almost a contradiction in terms, as a genre the subject matter seems limitless .
Gavin credits the advance of digital technology, and it’s greater accessibility, with the growth of women photographers. This in turn has lead to the development of new issues being addressed and she suggests the characterisation of documentary needs to be re-considered. However social change also needs to be taken into consideration:people have greater personal and financial freedom than ever before allowing them the means to take advantage of new technology and record new topics.
The April edition of the British Journal of Photography was dedicated solely to women photographers. Interestingly the Deputy Editor , Diane Smyth , commented “ how male dominated photography is……..Magnum currently has eight women out of 85 members , of whom only four are living” pg. 4 Volume 161 Issue No 7823.
If there is a growth in female photographers they seem to receive less recognition than their male counterparts on a professional level.