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Reality and aesthetics of documentary photography

Verena Zorenč (2014) Reality and aesthetics of documentary photography. Diploma thesis.

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    The human desire to seize the moment, regardless of its fleetingness, had been fulfilled with the invention of a photographic camera. In my dissertation I focused on the documentary photography and its aesthetical value. I explored how the documentary research has been developing through visual media, especially painting, in different time periods; furthermore, I looked at the role the photography had in more modern history of documentation. My research was guided by the problem of photography staging and how that influences its documentary and communicative value. Thematically, I was interested mainly in the social photography, which documents the life of people from the edge of society as well as the scenes of horror and misery. Amongst the photographers focusing on aforementioned sights of humans’ squalor, I've chosen Lewis Hine and presented his work. I compared the captivating power of the scenes of great suffering with the one also possessed by pornographic pictures; at the same time, I've used the photos from the Abu Ghraib prison to show how photography can be abused, when it switches its documentary role to being the main reason for the incident itself. At this point, I presented the issue of 'presence and distance', the difference of actually witnessing an event in real life to observing it on a photo. One of my main interests was also, what is that very thing that makes some documentary photography so memorable and distinguishes it from the rest. I tried to answer that question through visual analysis of several photography works while researching and deepening the Barthes’ concept of punctum. Despite the exceptional popularity of photography medium as the manner of visual expression, it is too often overlooked at the art lessons in contemporary school system. In the pedagogic part of my dissertation I tried to implement a part of my theoretical research into pedagogical practice. A group of school children was given an art assignment to take a photograph with a social theme of their choice. In the end I made the detailed analyses of one of the photos made during the lesson.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: photography, documentation, aesthetics, staging the incident, social photography, presence, distance, studium, punctum
    Number of Pages: 119
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Jurij SelanMentor
    viš. pred. dr. Uršula PodobnikComentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=10263881)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 2572
    Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2014 11:03
    Last Modified: 13 Nov 2015 15:52
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/2572

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