The citizenry help put out the stories during the London bomb attacks in July 2005, but along with it were many questions about social responsibility and ethics. Something interesting that i found HERE.

This morning, I literally sprung out of bed today with an idea for a photo documentary. It’s not an entirely fresh thought, rather a culmination of a series of little ideas that have been swimming around in my head for some time. I’ve always been fascinated by the Melbourne CBD – the fact that it is a melting pot of colors, sounds, textures… and that the people in it make it so fascinatingly unique. I always think of each person walking along the street as a brushstroke on canvas, each stroke contributing to an eventual big picture. The people that make up these streets continue to keep me curious, each one a unique character I wish I knew a little more about.

For Transient Spaces, we are to create a documentary or a space that features a community. And I’ve had an idea for a while now that I’d want to feature the people who use the Melbourne CBD, except I didn’t know how (which medium) and why I’d actually want to do it. Today however, I realize that these people pass each other, they probably want to know a little about each other but they never have the guts or the time (or maybe they are all just in their right minds and minding their own businesses) to go up to the other person to kickstart a conversation. So I think I shall be mediator here. I’ve decided that the Melbourne CBD community would create something for themselves: exquisite corpse style.

My choice of documentary medium would be the Nikon FM2 loaded with T-Max 100. The concept is to profile various type of people that I meet on the streets of the CBD, and as I approach them I will get them to write a line for a poem. The next person I meet will take continue the poem by adding another line to it or could start a new one.

It’s all experimental, so I don’t know if it will work – I start tomorrow so lets see how it goes!

Iraqi Kurdistan

May 12, 2008

Ed Kashi’s photodocumentary, “Iraqi Kurdistan”, illustrates in a series of multiple still images, the Kurdish day-to-day living. Kashi’s photography humanizes Iraq and effaces our media-fed cognitions of the conflict-torn country. It’s an interesting new convention in documentary and photo-documentary making, great idea, love it.

11.30 mins, no commercials.
So much better than TV.
Why am I even comparing it to TV??

Iraqi Kurdistan

Tags Tags

May 8, 2008

Jung wrote a list of tag words surrounding her research project, I think that’s a helpful way to get started with google searches and cross searching for journal articles. Inspired to start my own. Thanks Jung!

Draft 1,000 words

May 8, 2008

my 1,000 words, in drips and draps.

Behind the Glass: The future of the photojournalistic practice in era of new media ubiquity.

“The future of photojournalism both as an occupation as well as a means of personal expression necessitates a more humanistic and empathic style of visual practice and reportage. While markets for paparazzi pictures will continue to sustain our prurient interests, it is important to remember why people take images in the first place – to fix memories in time.”
– Dennis Dunleavy

In the age where media tools are prolific, cheap and advanced, and new media technologies are widespread and easy to use, it has become easier for the general public to gain access to production tools and use them to perform the tasks of professional photojournalists. This ‘general public’ no longer only consume what is available to them through the newspaper, but have a hand in the collection and production of news images – this we call the citizen photojournalist. With the ability to use online resources, their self-produced images are effectively disseminated through online resources, and are available to a wider (and possibly more relevant) audience. Comparatively, a newspaper photojournalist is bound by limits of his professional practice – including the culture of the newsroom, editorial control, timeliness of newspapers and their limits to being only at one place at once. While the professional photojournalistic practice may not die, it appears to be hitting a sharp decline. This essay seeks to understand the phenomenal effects of citizen journalism on the practice of professional photojournalists and proposes the renegotiation of a photojournalist’s role and responsibility in order to harness the strengths of new media, and yet continue to produce objective and relevant photojournalism.

As we are continually bombarded with thousands of images each day from various print and online media, I am personally interested in studying and defining the professional photojournalistic practice and to examine how that form of photography is set apart from the mainstream ‘trigger-happy’ culture that is now so prevalent with new media affordances.

As cultural theorist Raymond Williams suggests, technologies are processes that are firstly conceived and then invented. He argues that there are social motivations that continue to shape the technologies we use, which is aptly put in the case of our interactions with new media technologies, which is prolific and very much part of way of life in today’s age. Man continue to develop technologies based our social influences – just like how the digital Single-Lens Reflex camera (digital SLR), started to rise in popularity since the early ‘90s along with the proliferation and advancement of computers and mobile memory storage chips. These technological inventions also continued to improve and become affordable to a mainstream audience. Which has since sparked the rise of an producer-consumer public sphere, where specialist knowledge is no longer required to operate a camera or publish a photograph – hence the phenomenon of citizen photojournalism. Additionally in studying the arguments Raymond Williams (and drawing comparison to Marshall McLuhan who counters that technology have shaped man), I will be able to illustrate how technologies never just die, but continue to evolve and take shape in accordance with social motivations.

Dianne Hagaman, author, photographer and previously a photojournalist for the Seattle Times felt that photojournalists, being treated as “second-class citizens” in the newsroom, had less or no editorial control to their news stories. Photojournalists were also trained to compose their photographs in standardized ways, for example, “using a telephoto lens to isolate the subject by making the background out of focus”.

This in turn caused detriment to the newspaper’s content – or to the angle they (as journalists) were intending to pursue. Furthermore, it can be inferred that the position of photojournalists in the newsroom has always been in some way ‘threatened’, it hasn’t only been the case since the rise of the citizen photojournalist.

Hagaman also examined the way she, as a photojournalist framed stories when using different camera types, beginning with earlier formats adopted by journalists including the 4×5 format and later on the 35mm cameras. She continues to illustrate the consequences of the changes in the formats adopted and how the culture of photographing an image is also different and gradually less technologically ‘constrained’. Moving into the age of compact and even mobile phone cameras, the style and culture of photographing a news image also evolved, and drawing from Hagaman’s illustrations, we see the consequences of these technological inventions also changing the practice of photography.

Hagaman continues to study the photojournalistic practices in her book “How I Learned Not To Be A Photojournalist”, in which she documented her methodology of photographing an alcoholism treatment program (in the process she argued that the good visual was not merely one that was ‘emotive’, pleasant to the eye or merely engaging). Hagaman started stepping back in her photography to give more ambiance to, say, the portrait so as to “to make photographs about the relationships these people had to each other, the street, the mission system…”, Hagaman’s book is her proposal of a professional understanding of the role of the photojournalist, renegotiating the technique of photojournalistic shooting the presentation of these images. Drawing from some of her ideologies, it is arguable that the citizen journalist may have the technology to capture images, but not the professional understanding of a traditional photojournalist to perform the task of accurate documentation.

Using a thesis-based approach, the themes of new media and the rise of the citizen photojournalist will be explored. I will also explore the effects of the ubiquity of advanced new media technologies and the online medium. Thirdly, to examine the roles and responsibilities of a photojournalist and contrast them to that of a citizen journalist. Lastly I will examine the old and new practices of photojournalism in Australia, particularly focusing on “The Age”, where I will study its model of print news reporting and compare it to its online model as well as to online credible citizen news sites.

I seek to use theoretical references (Raymond Williams and Terry Flew) as a framework to prove the evolution and convergences (not death) of traditional media. Drawing on available empirical data, I will also support the claim that newspapers continue to decline in readership and also show the rise of new media reception. The breakdown of readership in Australia will also be compared to those around the world. I will also examine the photographs of photojournalists and citizen photojournalists, and using some of Hagaman’s claims about accurate and professional photojournalism, compare the journalistic value of photographs by citizens and photojournalists.

*** ***

References:

Hagaman, D 1996, ‘How I Learned Not to be a Photojournalist’, University of Kentucky Press, USA

Dunleavy, D 2008, ‘The Big Picture: Visual Culture in the Digital Age’, Dennis Dunleavy, USA, viewed 29 April 2008 <http://ddunleavy.typepad.com/the_big_picture/&gt;

Pyschedelic

May 7, 2008

‘When I use a word’, Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scronful tone, ‘it means what i choose it to mean – neither more nor less’.

‘The question is’, said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things’

-Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

I wonder if you can say the same for pictures as well?

The Decline (and Maybe Demise) of the Professional Photojournalist

putting this up as a note to self, will come back to it later.

Calling it a ‘demise’ it a bit of a long call. Decline, change, evolution is obvious in the practice of photojournalism though, and its something i want to study in the next two – three weeks

Some Rights Reserved

May 1, 2008

I never could get my head around the terms of Creative Commons, today we watched a flash animation about it in Transient Spaces. Brilliant.

Creative Commons Presents: Get Creative also Creative Commons Presents: Reticulum Rex

How Fast is Enough?

April 20, 2008

I just went into an hour session with Linda Daley whom will be my supervisor for my honors research. Feel bad that I went into the meeting quite unprepared, not in the sense of having nothing to speak of, but having too much. Too many ideas, all over the place. Linda was quite nice about it, and gave me some direction in framing my inquiry / problem. I’m all the more convinced that in this honors year I need to work on something I am passionate about. Right now I’m writing up the Comm Revs essay – 2,500 words – and that is already drawing blood and sweat and tears out of me.

Linda and I sort of worked out that I might possibly try to research how new media has changed the print news practice (well thereabouts). I’ve done quite a bit of research on the citizen-as-reporter phenomenon in the last 2 years and still find it rather fascinating. I found a Singaporean blogger, Unique Frequency, who writes extensively on the new media and it’s effects on the Singapore media industry. And yes, Gen Y is indeed too quick for the newspapers.

**Right, so Honours is spelt H-o-n-o-u-r-s with the ‘u’, and i never knew that. Pardon the American English. I’m quite all over the place.

  • Wider Audience
  • Non-linear
  • Presenting multiple aspects of the story
  • Gateway to other stories and audiences
  • Instant feedback and/or comments
  • Different forms of content and/or sources (i.e feedback, comments and links)
  • Possibly democratic
  • Popularity, statistics and hit counters
  • Select best medium for the message
  • Multi-level for different levels of literacy
  • User-driven
  • Can be updated
  • Not a stand-alone