Good Ole’ Wicomico
This rustic building on the beautiful campus makes a home away from home for those who dwell within it. From the honors kids, to the Jamaican with a funny accent, to the Jewish boys who blast their loud music, this dormitory sheds diversity onto the plain streets of campus drive. There is always something to do. You can study in your own room or get distracted by the gamers in the basement or even the cute girl down the hall. These “Wicoers” may hate it at times, but it’s still the place they rest their heads at night.
There are college students. They travel back and forth from their appointments. They converse with each other. They do their assignments, sometimes in groups. They look curiously at the camera. They dismissively turn their heads away. Sometimes they’ll look around and wonder. They come in all shapes and backgrounds, but they’re all part of Dull City.
My title for your essay was “From Our Perspective.” I would have been interested to hear how your choices in putting together this essay were influenced by some the theoretical readings we have done thus far.
My goal for my narrative was to present a brief glimpse into a community. However, I didn’t want to stress the aspect of the community being the Wicomico dormitory. Instead, I wanted to present the universal feeling of community that I have found in the dorm. In order to do this, I could not give my narrative captions or a title. This would take away the universal identity that I was hoping to convey. The interpretations of my narrative actually made me very happy. However, those given were from the perspective of someone living in Wicomico, and if I had already committed to not explicitly labeling my narrative as such. Otherwise one could not then compare it to their own community.
I did take the pictures myself (as is clear, I am new at this). It is not that I dislike Barthes’ incorporation of others’ photographs into a work; I simply preferred to tell this story in the most intimate manner I knew. I felt that taking pictures from online would be creating a false community, and not present the intended feeling as well. In terms of the interpretation of the photographs, I am conflicted. On the one hand, I believe that each viewer brings something to the photograph, thus creating a new product. This is what makes it art. However, I also feel as if there is a parameter set by the photographer, its boundaries not clearly defined. Some things may fall into the field of “correct” interpretation, while some wild ones may not. Only time tells.
I am compelled by your desire to find community here, and thus your decision to take the photos yourself, and also to avoid excessive verbal narration. I wonder, however, if it is necessary to create a “universal” feeling for this, as understanding a specific community actually enhances its universalizing potential. This is similar to the ways in which the photos in Caldwell and Bourke-White’s book functioned both as photos of individuals and also represented an entire community in crisis. What do you think you might have done to finish up your photo essay that capitalized on this bivalent characteristic of photography?
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