Personal Study - Pioneers of Documentary Photography

For this A2 project I have chosen to go down the pathway of Documentary photography because I feel that was the pathway I enjoyed the most when researching and trying different experiments during the AS - A2 project. I feel that going to the Photographers Gallery to see the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 2013 really pushed my decision a lot towards choosing documentary photography for A2 because I really loved the 4 documentary photographers that were being exhibited in the gallery. I especially liked Chris Killip's work and Mishka Henner's work because of how there was depth and meaning behind the photographs and what their project was about. I also chose Documentary because over the summer I new that  I was going to go to paris for a week holiday so I felt this would be a great start to be able to explore the history and people in the city. 

After looking at all four of the documentary photographers provided on my assignment (Henri Cartier- Bresson, William Klein, Alexander Rodchenko and Eadweard Muybridge). I found that I liked Cartier- Bresson's work the most and was surprised/ interested in Muybridge's work because of how it was very different to the other three photographers.   

Eadweard Muybridge

Eadweard James Muybridge (9 April 1830 – 8 May 1904) was an English photographer known for his work in photographic studies of motion and in motion-picture projection. In his earlier years Muybridge had also become known for his landscape photography. Muybridge studied at the University of Pennsylvania where he produced over 100,000 images of animals and humans in motion, capturing what the human eye could not distinguish as separate movements. Muybridge took most of his photographs and focused on the movement of athletes, sport, animals, women. Muybridge use to also take a lot of natural photographs of women outside whilst they were nude. I chose this photo above to represent Muybridge's work because I feel that this is the best example of how Muybridge captures the motion of humans. I really like this layout of these photo's because of how he has taken the separate photographs of each movement of the women as she bends down and put them in chronological order. Muybridge has also shown two other angles of the movement of the lady. This tile layout reminds me a lot of the documentary photographer Lin Osborn and could be a layout idea or experiment I could use in this project.   

William Klein

This is a photograph taken in new york in 1955 by an american photojournalist and fashion photographer called William Klein (born April 19, 1928). William Klein has taken masses of street photography throughout his years of photography and has earned a reputation as an anti-photographer’s photographer because of the techniques he uses. He uses techniques such as often blurring photos or making them out of focus, over exposing negatives, high grain film and also wide angle photography which changed the photography world at the time. I chose this photo because I have looked at William Klein's work before but have never seen or analysed this particular photo. This photograph features a revolver pistol gun which features in some other photos of Klein's as well such as "Broadway and 103rd street" and "Gun" which show two different children playing with guns. In this photograph I really like the framing though because of how the taller adult is cut out of the photograph so that we cant see the emotion on the persons face and we don't know what relation this person is to the boy that they have pointed the gun at. I feel that this is a set up photo and that Klein has ask the family to pose like this because I researched up on Klein's most key image 'Broadway and 103rd street (Gun 1)' and found that that was set up by Klein. Klein stated this in a interview: "Its fake violence, a parody. I asked the boy to point the gun at me and look tough. He did, and then we both laughed..."

Henri Cartier- Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson (August 22, 1908 – August 3, 2004) was a French photographer and early user of 35 mm format, and the master of candid photography. I chose Cartier-Bressons work out of the four documentary photographers because I feel that I his style of work is the route I want to go down. Cartier - Bresson has taken many documentary photographs around the world in places such as: China, India, New york, Paris, and many more. He is known as one of the godfathers of street photography. Bresson is also known for his film making and acting which he started in 1936 with a french film director called Jean Renoir.  

This photo above was taken by Bresson, in Marseille, France in 1932. After fully looking through Bressons profile on magnum photos I found that I liked this photograph and was one of my favourites out of all of them. When first looking at this photo I already saw that there is loads of information and questions that could be raised about it. I couldn't find much information about this photo but researched a bit about black slavery in 1932 because I felt that the man on the floor could be black skinned and the man in the suit could be a white male because his skin looks slightly lighter in tone and he is in a suit, meaning that he could be the buyer and owner of the black man lying on the floor. I then saw in the description of this photo which showed some key words that stated the words 'black people' and 'white people' however next to black it does say '(all)' which could mean they are both black. I really like this photograph though because of how it does have so little information because it makes you look more into detail and find out more about the era it was taken in. I love in the photograph how Bresson has thought about composition and has angled the image nearer the man on the floor, this gives more attention to the man because he is a bigger subject in the frame. I also really like how Bresson has timed the image perfectly so that you can see the emotions on their faces, especially how the man in the suit has a smug smile on his face.

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