Rhetoric and Ideology of Photography

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Rhetoric and Ideology of Photography

  1. 1. Rhetoric and Ideology of Photography / Filmmaking
  2. 2. Photography is always a selection of “reality” <ul><li>Subject Selection </li></ul><ul><li>Framing (what is included in the photograph) </li></ul><ul><li>Composition (how the elements in the shot are arranged; what is emphasized) </li></ul><ul><li>Angle and distance. </li></ul><ul><li>Photo editing (contrast, cropping, retouching) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Framing Reality
  4. 4. Photo Editing as Ideological Activity
  5. 5. Denotation vs. Connotation (Barthes) <ul><li>Denotation (what literally appears in the image) </li></ul><ul><li>Connotation (how we interpret the meaning of the image: influenced by what we know about when/where/why the image was taken, by the context in which we see the image, by the ideological assumptions we hold about the world.) </li></ul>
  6. 6. “Myths” and “Ideologies” <ul><li>Myth: Hidden set of beliefs and values (specific to a particular cultural group) which influence How we make meaning of an image. </li></ul><ul><li>Ideology: Often unstated assumptions or beliefs that influence how we understand ourselves and our relationship with others. </li></ul><ul><li>Often unstated rules that govern our behavior </li></ul><ul><li>(and uphold status quo power relations) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Vision is Embodied <ul><li>Situated Knowledge (Haraway): Our vision of the </li></ul><ul><li>world is influenced by our gender, race, </li></ul><ul><li>nationality, sexuality, religion, (dis)abilities, and </li></ul><ul><li>other social factors. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Documentary Ethics and Flaherty <ul><li>One of the first feature-length documentaries (shot on location with non-actors) </li></ul><ul><li>Many scenes were staged (the Alaskan natives actually lived in wood houses not igloos, usually hunted with rifles, and were not starving). </li></ul><ul><li>White filmmaker represents native americans as “exotic” and “primitive” (reinforcing racist power structures). </li></ul>
  9. 9. Key Questions <ul><li>What connotative meanings can we attribute to these images? </li></ul><ul><li>What kinds of ideological assumptions about the world are reinforced or challenged by these images? </li></ul><ul><li>How does our current context influence the ways in which we read these images? </li></ul><ul><li>What ethical choices did Crawford and Harris make? How did their embodied position as white males influence their vision? </li></ul><ul><li>What would Manovich, Bolter and Grusin, and McLuhan say about these documentary texts? </li></ul>

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