I’ve been browsing academic photography journals. It’s some time since I’ve read material like that. I find it as interesting as ever. I’ve always enjoyed theory. At A Level Sociology I liked phenomenology, which led to existentialism, which I studied at university. The other A Level students preferred documentary studies like the sociology of a factory, for example. I’m not sure if entry level sociology is normally taught like that, with a division between theory and documentary. If I were teaching it, I would however do the same because there’s a cognitive gap between the two. It was the same on my photography degree. I liked reading Sontag, Barthes, Stephen Shore, and a book called The Photograph: A Strange Confined Space was possibly the closest to my own interests. That is, the semantics of photography. Writer Geoff Dyer gave us a presentation on one occasion. That was interesting. His book The Ongoing Moment is a lyrical, narrative building survey of a collection of photographs where one theme is repeated across decades of culture. One of the journal articles suggested black and white photography invites us to think because it is non representational. Like a painting, it has an underlying conceptual layer because it is not a mirror like snapshot. The idea needs containing and qualifying, because it doesn’t mean a colour shot has no conceptual layer nor that monochrome does so necessarily. I was talking to a young chap in a shop recently and I was amused with his exasperation and rejection of undergraduate photographic studies. But what does it mean to you, the tutor said with exaggerated effect. It means it’s a technically bad shot he said, which apparently it was. There is a layer of hype and nonsense in photography as there is with most things. We spoke too about so called conceptual art. I’ve not time for it. I agree with Susan Sontag however, that photography is a useful educative tool.


Pyrenees Photography: Lac Bersau Black And White

Saturday September 27, 2014