Photography and the Hidden Dialogue

The 'dialogue' part of Photo-Dialogue often goes unnoticed yet the words we use to 'frame' our images are critical to our interpretation of what we see.

@Dg28com and @selinamitreya have both spotted cases of images being captioned differently and so supporting different interpretations of events.  

Have a look here to see an image from Haiti showing people salvaging what is left from the ruins and here, the same image, showing a 'looting spree.'

In this piece, we see the NY Times cast the same image three different ways as 'evidence' of events in the Middle East.

The way we frame, crop and edit is part of every photographers process and we have become familiar with conversations about content and the way we represent what is 'out there'.  But this is a long way from a true 'dialogue.'

Dialogue is what happens when we become critically aware of our own process.  Not just in the creative act of how we work as photographers, but in exposing the assumptions behind our seeing. And the way we habitually frame the world actually happens way before we reach for the camera bag.

So there is another step we can take.  We can roll photography back beyond the, 'You 'see' salvage and I 'see' looting - which is right?' argument.  

If we rewind further as we talk about images, expose more of the way we add meaning and significance, we uncover our hidden values. Values that often lead to conflict or, indeed, innovation and change. 

Any of which could be worth a conversation.



Steve Marshall14 Comments