The narrative of an image

Muddy Markings (2009)

NARRATIVE OF AN IMAGE


One of the things that appeals to me about art in general; and photography more explicitly, is the story that an image can tell.

Everyone views our existence differently but the making of an image enables us to share this way of seeing with others. There is no right, there is no wrong – it just is.

For me, Photography perfectly encapsulates this ability and is primarily about editing the world. Showing it through my eyes – with my inspirations, selections and opinions.

EDITING THE WORLD

The editing comes in several stages – firstly by the subject matter I choose to photograph. Second, the actual scene I shoot and finally by the choice of images I select to display. This method allows the world to be cut down and segmented into manageable pieces, which I can at least attempt to understand on some level. In some cases – if I do my job correctly – it will also allow others to get a glimpse of this interpretation.

A whole host of things might draw me to make a photograph of a particular scene, event, person or place – but at the core of it, at that precise moment when the shutter is pressed down – I am editing an incredibly small portion of the world, with the mindset that it will have something greater to say.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons Photography can create such friction and debate – because this very process of selecting and editing the world is massively subjective. The old adage ‘the camera never lies’ is a lie in the purist sense. The camera ALWAYS lies – by omission.

CREATING A NARRATIVE

A good photograph (and therefore a good edit of the world) will often contain some form of narrative of story. At times, this story is obvious and created by the artists. They have set an image up, used models or created a documentary that has a very set and obviously contained sequence of events within it.

But sometimes, a narrative exists that is much more open to speculation and imagination. I love to look at the world in this way and therefore I am drawn to images that also allow me this small perversion.

MUDDY MARKINGS

The Photograph shown here is something I have seen numerous times and only just decided to photograph. It is of one side of a building in Preston Park that I walk past each day on my way to work.

The shot itself is not that interesting, but the narrative it contains is.  As an image, on initial glance, it’s a very standard composition of a wall with a building behind it.  Perhaps it contains some indications that it’s a park building – I guess it would depend on your knowledge of bowling chalets!  The photograph could easily be dismissed, until the eye is drawn to the markings on the white wall of the building.

 

To me, the markings have clearly been created by someone throwing a muddy ball against it.  Repeatedly. Perhaps by a dog owner, perhaps by someone sitting there thinking or bored.  The beauty is the suggestion made by an image leads the imagination to create a plethora of stories about what happened, why it happened and how it happened. Each person who sees the image will (hopefully) create their own interpretation of what the stains are and how they got there.

 

 

For me Photography is the perfect tool for capturing such moments and presenting them to others for consideration.  Maybe other people walk past the same scene everyday and have never really look at that bit of wall or consider the muddy stains upon it.  But by presenting a photograph of that scene, by editing the world down to this one simple image, it forces the viewer to question what they are seeing, to try and understand the photographer’s motivations.  Within that process, they are then led to create a narrative to explain the scene and perhaps see something in a different way than they have before.


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