Assignment One: Documentary Values Rework

Part A

Produce a set of 12 images in your own style that incorporate documentary values.  Base your images on an issue or subject that you feel needs attention or which you already support.  The subject can be anything you like provided that the cause you choose can benefit from your work in some way.

Think about gesture, pose, setting and the inferred meaning or message that your work gives to the viewer (denotation and connotation).  Explain the values that each image has, why it is of value and to whom, and how it may be of benefit to either a group of individuals or perhaps an organisation or charity.

Prior to starting this course I had a discussion with my tutor about my progress so far with my degree, what I expected to achieve with this course, where I wanted to go after this course and also what particular aspect of Social Documentary was I going to concentrate on for the first module.  I had a couple of ideas but one of them it was decided probably wouldn’t lead anywhere else after the first module, whereas the subject we settled on may well do so.

‘Loneliness’ is not an easy subject to illustrate with photographic images.  It can’t be seen, smelt, tasted, touched or felt with our extremities, it is a state of mind and those who suffer from it find it difficult to relate their experiences to anyone.  Sufferers also say that it’s not necessarily a constant state, relief is gained under different circumstances for all of them, although some never find solace.

Many organisations are now targeting more of their resources on this complaint as more and more people become stricken.  It is now considered to be in epidemic proportions, and not amongst those that are most commonly associated with this, the old and retired singles.  Today, with the modern way of living,  single person households, family structures and break-ups, more young adults (young adults being considered up to age 35) and children are being affected and my attention was brought to this subject by ‘The Campaign To End Loneliness’.  This campaign is not a single entity, in that many organisations and individuals are involved, they just provide a central forum where information can be disseminated.

My approach to this assignment was to attempt to show the effects that loneliness can have on family groups in different structural situations.  Loneliness is often considered an individual problem with an individual restorative approach, but the scenarios I’ve set within two of the stories are much more complex that finding a simple solution.  I also wanted to try to show the manifestation this problem has on the individuals rather than just images of people looking glum, which normally denotes loneliness, but their real states where it can’t be detected just by appearance.  I hope that the images, of the first two stories at least, will be viewed as a narrative story rather than individual images with an individual narrative; that is to say that the first image has meaning for the second and subsequent, the second has impact on the first and those that follow, and so on, where there are many dynamics in place amongst the members of each family. To do this I chose to recreate family situations and one single person: Why recreate?  It’s very hard to get a complete family or even an individual to discuss this situation with you at short notice, so I read the stories behind the situation, as provided by ‘The Campaign To End Loneliness’, and used people who were willing to re-enact the roles for me, my family.  With that in mind I should also state that two of these stories are true and the other is based on various statements researched to create the story I have told.

There are three stories illustrated in the following pictures: – Broken Home, Moved Home and Dear John, all have the overall heading and title of ‘Hollow Man’.


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