Friday, October 21, 2011

teaching prep

OK, I said in class today, get out a photograph.   They all looked blank, or horrified, or as though my colleague (whose class I was visiting) had forgotten to tell them to bring something rather important.   But pretty soon it struck them ... they had identity cards round their neck (the class was at the Getty); they had images on their cell phone or on their computer; they had covers to their books, photos on their drivers licenses ... point about the ubiquity of photographs readily made.

I'd taken this just before class - not really with the idea that it would illustrate the points that I wanted to make about the different heads under which photography can be discussed, but actually it does so extraordinarily well.   Formal aesthetics?   Look at those triangle and balancing curves; at the two flowery cases; the line made by the chair back and the woman's back, or the straw and the shadow.   Social context?   One could riff for a while on the representation of books for class, which look as though they've been formally stacked like props in a C19th photographer's studio; or on the Getty itself as an institution; or on the ubiquity, these days, of such treats as an iced latte.   Personal photography?   These are my things - and I'll be able to use this image as a memento docendi, or whatever the right phrase is, that suggests that at some future date, I'll use it to remember doing teaching prep in the sun, and the lunchtime conversation that followed, and indeed the class.  Technology?  It's the ubiquitous iPhone, the camera that's always there ... or I could instance the ability of an App to turn a photo back into a kind of architect's drawing ... Materiality ... or maybe technology ... is that the appearance (and the social resonance) of this blog, or is it the fact that inadvertently, but rather fetchingly, I've managed to position the manipulated image to the right of the page.   And to think I never got to show the (admittedly indifferent) photograph at all, because indeed, reading it this does indicate that one can do such a lot with almost any image if one just free associates under this set of headings ...

No comments:

Post a Comment