Monday, 13 December 2010

Integrated Theory and Practice: Photography, Emotion and Text

Donna Ferrato

In order to investigate whether photographs can really capture emotion and what is happening, I flicked through a book of iconic photography and picked out a picture without looking at the description. I chose this image as it seemed very emotional and immediate.
My first interpretation was that the woman is angry at the photographer, her arm raised as if about to push her away. Her facial expression seems almost pleading as if she has had enough of being photographed or just wants to be alone. Her raised eyebrows and down turned mouth make her look as if she is crying as she speaks. 
I then began to read the description. This image is from Ferrato's book entitled 'Living with the enemy' 1991. Without reading any further on, I decided this could fit with my initial ideas in that the book could be about celebrities and the paparazzi, as if it is like living with photographers by being followed all the time. After reading on i discovered that it is about domestic violence against women in the USA. This adds new meaning to the photograph in the sense that the woman could be turning round to see someone behind her, the photographer, thinking it was her husband and is trying to defend herself. This would also explain her expression, being distraught and fearful. The rest of the text explains how the photographer came upon this topic by chance when she was staying with the family. She heard noises one night followed by the sound of blows and shouting and found the wife, Lisa, being attacked by her husband. This photo was taken moments after the event. 
Donna Ferrato's book contains case studies like this, accompanied by harsh monochrome pictures and texts and interviews. The relationships between text and photography is evidently critical in portraying a sense of the event in order for it to not be misinterpreted. 

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