Esra’s Photo Story
The majority of those images are from family albums. The exceptions are the second and third images. Here are the links for those…
I think this link to the post on my blog might work for those who can’t view DropBox.
The title I gave yours was “Father.” I love the ambiguity you build into the essay, particularly at the end, with the conflicting professional images. For me, what is missing in your reflection is some kind of engagement with some of the theoretical writings we focused on in class. What theories of photography do you think informed your own essays?
Okay so the other two comments were posted on my blog, but here they are….
Title: American Dreams
This photo narrative is [in my opinion] about opportunity. About chasing the elusive American Dream everyone so badly wants. To be able to, despite your past or circumstances, get that car, house, and loving family to help you forge your own path in this life.
Title: Clinging to Culture
There is a sense of struggle in the series of photos—struggle between assimilating to a new culture without letting go of one’s own identity.
I knew that I wanted to use personal photos for this particular project, but I also didn’t want to use photos of myself. I thought it would be too difficult to tell my own story, so I decided I would tell my father’s. I told the explicit and objective story, merely a sequence of events. If I went into any more detail then that the images would most likely lack punctum for people who don’t know my father.
I chose to leave my narrative as is. I think the narrative is easy to follow, but the individual images have enough ambiguity to allow the spectator to find their own punctum (when looking at the narrative as one imagetext) and tell their own story. I was inspired by Berger’s conception of the photographic narrative and his desire to create clarity within images through creating a story line. I liked the idea of having a fairly obvious story to give the viewer some kind of a starting point. I felt that using captions wouldn’t give the reader a chance to find their own punctum and let the images speak for themselves. I wanted to allow the viewer’s to fill in the details of my father’s story. I disagreed with Muhr’s idea that truth can be found in images. Since there is no true story, it made sense to allow the viewer to create their own story. In regards to Mitchell’s thoughts on ethics, I think it would have been unethical for me to write my father’s story in a deeper way. I can’t know how he felt.
In my first reflection piece I wrote about my interpretation of my father’s story through the set of images I chose. What I saw in those images was hope, happiness and a journey. For me the punctum of my photographic essay in its entirety as a single imagetext was my father’s smile in the image where he is holding up my brother. Seeing the responses really showed that there is no single truth, but rather there are multiple. I thought each response was “true.”
I am disappointed that you did not include a title or captions because I believe that doing so may have created a punctum for viewers even if they don’t know your father. You could have chosen to write captions and a title that had nothing to do with your father, or with your own personal punctum, thus opening up the whole essay for outsiders. No title or captions allows us to see what we want, but it doesn’t create depth in the way that the right captions or title might have. The addition of verbal materials doesn’t have to close doors, as much as it can open them if carefully chosen.
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