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Documentary data


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Documentary data

  1. 1. Documentary Photography:Data CollectionKaren GregoryInstructional Technology FellowHunter CollegeDepartment of SociologyCUNY Graduate Center
  2. 2. Seminar Three Final Project• Writing thematic, short paper (individual papers)• Mapping various neighborhoods• Visiting neighborhoods (in groups) and while there taking: field notes, photographs, and possibly video. You may go more than once.• Compiling class data into a final presentation (<10min)• This workshop should help you collect photographs while in the field, as well as help you think about your final presentation.
  3. 3. What is a “documentary” photograph?• Aren’t all photos documents? What distinguishes a documentary photo from an advertisement, from a family photo, from an “art” photo?• What type of evidence can photos provide? When and how are photos deceptive?• What does a “documentary approach” entail?• What about style and composition?
  4. 4. Four Aspects of Photo Data:• Details: Cameras love details: architectural details, signage, artful objects, textures.• Contexts of social life: A photo can place human behavior in a larger social environments.• Social Interaction: In documentary photos, we often see people living and acting together• Portraits: Cameras love individuals and attempting to “portray” them or tell their story.
  5. 5. Detail Cartier-Bresson, 1931 Hungary Windowshop Atget, 1900 Hotel des Archeveques de Lyon, rue Saint-Andre- des-Arts, 58
  6. 6. Context Stephen Shore, 1982 Uncommon Places
  7. 7. Interactions Weegee, 1943, Lovers with 3D Glasses at the Palace Theater
  8. 8. Portraiture Dorothea Lange, 1936 Destitute peapickers in California; a 32 year old mother of seven children. Also known as “Migrant Mother”
  9. 9. Today’s Experiment: Part One• Work in groups of four or five. Make sure at least two people have a camera. One person can be the note-taker for the group.• Select food-themed “field spots” at Hunter: Food Venders, Cafeteria, Cafe, Street Corner, Lounges. Groups will go to the “field spots” for 25 minutes.• There, collect one of each type of photo: a detail, a context, an interaction shot, and, if possible, a portrait.• You will also need to take the following notes: Where is this? Who or what are we looking at, what day/time of day is this, what is happening (if not obvious), any names or credits that you would like to give (particularly for portrait)• Your notes are as important as your photos. You need them to appropriately caption your photos.
  10. 10. Experiment: Part Two• Return to class. For 30 minutes, work with your group to look at images and select between three and six images that can tell the (very brief) story of where you just were (at the least what is happening and who is there, perhaps even why.)• You need to insert images into an iMovie or Powerpoint/Keynote format. Make sure to caption images. Try to put images in an order that can tell a story or is the most effective order you can think of.• Title your work with the name of your “field spot.” Include date, time, and the group authors.• If you have created powerpoint, upload to and send me the link. If movie, upload to Vimeo and share with me. (Can do this after class.)
  11. 11. Final Project: Photo Ideas• Neighborhoods are not just data, but also lived experiences. Through photos and video you can elaborate on the research that you have collected over the course of the class. A couple ideas for photo projects are:’• Food Access: Where is food for sale? Document the availability of particular projects or go on a visual search for one food product, i.e. oranges• The Life of Food: Where does the food we eat “live”? How does it travel?• The Life of the Street: Document the storefronts of a neighborhood. What stores are there? Which stores are not?• Portrait of Storeowner: Interview a storeowner (let’s talk about this before you do.)