Read Simon Bainbridge’s article on the 2011 Hereford Photography Festival . Select one of the bodies of work in the article and write a 200 word reflective commentary in your learning log.
I have decided to look at the work of Vanessa Winship.
Georgia .Vanessa Winship
Winship is a British documentary photographer who travels and works with her husband , George Georgiou. Despite working in close proximity each has a distinct and differing approach. Using a large format camera , black and white film and available light I think her portrait images are sensuous, empathetic and considered. I love portraiture , this drew me to look further at her work. Although aware of her photography I have never really taken a good look or studied it carefully , having done so I like it very much.
This series of work combines landscape , some of which is quite abstract , alongside portraits of the lands inhabitants. The stories and histories of a land inevitably moulds and influences its residents and I think this is what she is trying to convey , a merging of people and place . I particularly like one image that exemplifies this fusion , a ‘happy accident’ when she inadvertantly double exposed a frame. The fading young dancers form an integral component of their environment .
See link below to look at the image
However its her portraiture that captivates me .These are unpretentious images of what many would consider unremarkable subjects but who more than justify her slow contemplative approach.They look directly out of the frame towards the viewer , intense ,sometimes solemn , but never unremarkable.
Bainbridge , S. 2013. The Long Road. British Journal of Photography , July 2013 Issue pp.48-73
Houghton, M . 2014. The Prose Of Photography. Black+White Photography , Issue 160 pp. 8–16
Next , listen to Jon Levy , founder of Foto8 , talking about documentary in the art gallery . Note down your reactions to Levy’s comments.
Levy discusses the function of the art galley to showcase photojournalism. By presenting documentary photography in an art based environment the images will attract a larger and more diverse audience. The difference between art and documentary photography has become less easy to define , the genres frequently overlap . Hence it is perfectly acceptable to present documentary work as art and vice versa. Additionally there may be financial benefits enabling the documentarist to pursue further projects.
However the personal intent of an individual photographer needs to be explicit , what why and how , and should be declared from the outset , not added as an afterthought . Furthermore if the images are to be specifically aimed at an elite audience this goes against the principle of photojournalism -the communication associated with documentary photography is lost.