Dean O'Brien's Blog

350MC Working with Photography in Context: Reflection on lecture of ‘Representations of Race and Class’

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Todays lecture looked into representations of race and class.  Something that is still relevant in todays society.  Starting off, we looked at the work of Adrian Piper looking at work such as ‘My Calling Card’ and ‘Vanilla Nightmares’.  It gave an insight into racism and how she dealt with it through a range of methods including the use of a calling card with a typed out statement.

The work of Vanessa Beecroft was probably the most controversial which I had seen for a long time.  Women being used as objects in galleries forming part of a live display.  Obviously this brought up many questions including the one of gender.  As Vanessa is obviously female, does this give her a kind of immunity from being sexist?  Looking at some of her performances on her website I wonder if she was involved in the choreography of Robert Palmers video ‘Addicted To Love’.  The robotic looking women playing guitars, all in perfect time did make me think…..But then again, this is what these lectures are about.  To make me think and analyse what is set before me.  And then question…

The work of Jean-Paul Goode was coincidentally also based around an 80’s music star, Grace Jones.  Like many, I can remember the album covers which showed her as something almost alien.  A kind of sculptured, almost artificial human being.  The insight into how the images and album covers were created opened my eyes to Jean-Paul’s creativity.  Something which I need to work on.

Symbolism still plays a major part in imagery although this does bring into question modern day meanings of the same scene.  A dog curled up next to its subject in a painting would symbolise loyalty, but would we still read this meaning if seen in a photograph?  Probably not.

Although this may sound odd, I feel that paintings seem to contain a deeper meaning.  Simply because you know that everything in the piece was deliberately placed there.  This cannot be said for sure about a photograph.  Things can accidentally appear in images which in my opinion does not give a photograph the same degree of integrity as a painting.

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Written by Dean O'Brien

November 22, 2011 at 9:49 pm

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