Monthly Archives: September 2016

Reading Photographs: Project 2 – Reading Pictures

BMW Advertisement - The Guardian 31st May 2016

BMW Advertisement – The Guardian 31st May 2016

Rip out an advertising image from a newspaper supplement and circle and write on as many parts of the image as you can. Comment on what it is, what it says about the product and why you think it’s there.

C&N Coursebook, p101

It’s an advertisement for a car. It’s an advertisement for a car made by BMW. But it takes a bit more looking before you realise it’s for an Electric BMW car. And I think that is almost the whole point of the advert. There is also a massive flaw in the picture (for me at least) but I’ll get onto that later… Continue reading

Reading Photographs: Project 1 – The language of photography

Elliott Erwitt, New York, 1974

Elliott Erwitt, New York, 1974

“…look carefully at Erwitt’s image and write some notes about how the subject matter is placed within the frame. How has Erwitt structured this image? What do you think the image is ‘saying’? How does the structure contribute to this meaning?”

C&N Coursebook, p.98

As the next paragraph in the coursebook go on to say (and it is almost impossible not to read it before you flick a page back to look carefully at the picture again, despite the fact that you’re told not to read on..) the picture is organised rigidly into a grid of vertical and horizontal thirds. Continue reading

Reading Photographs: Introduction – To Communicate? To Express?

from glyphs, runes and other signs – an incomplete series (simon chirgwin; 2007 – present)

“Before you read any further, can you think of any photographs that are not used as a means of expression or communication? Blog about them.” – C&N coursebook. p.92

So to begin at the beginning, I though I’d better find out what the dictionary definition of expression or communication might be:

  • communicate /kəˈmjuːnɪkeɪt/ verb: share or exchange information, news, or ideas
  • express /ɪkˈsprɛs,ɛk-/ verb: convey (a thought or feeling) in words or by gestures and conduct.

So, “communicate” suggests the passing on of the objective, while “express” suggests the passing on of the subjective. In this way, all photographs seem to break down into one of two categories: “Look at this!” (communication – with an expected response along the lines of “Wow!”) or “Look at me!” (expression – with an expected response along the lines of “Wow! You’re brilliant!”) This also of course happens to break neatly into Szarkowski’s two categoriesof  Windows and Mirrors. Continue reading