... today's class: on narrative photography, advertising photography, and fantasy ... Our Intrepid Introducers sent us off in groups of three or four to construct a narrative image (think Jeff Wall, or Gregory Crewdson) and photograph it - which was terrific fun, and I just hope that the rest of the class learned as much as I did. Actually I think I betray a dependence on Eileen Cowin, since I think there's some kind of gender critique and uncomfortableness going on here - although of course I'm not sure what. And I'm even less sure after the rest of the class was let loose on each of our images. Is he stealing the bike, or parking it? Is the woman at the far end coming into, or going out of, the bathroom? And what about that third disappearing figure - part of some uncomfortable triangle?
The other groups did wonderfully - two happy figures telling a story whilst sitting on a wall, whilst gesticulating - and a third turned the other way, excluded, maybe just wiping away a tear (it read as an allegory of outsiderness/popularity, and also of female body types, though none of us actually said that); a don't walk and text; don't drive and text scenario (something bad was about to happen there, but there wasn't much mystery there); and a great staged image - purse upturned on table with all the contents spilled out; woman with head in hands; man just disappearing up corridor. Again, whatever was happening was both unclear, and wonderfully stimulating to the imagination.
So this is definitely something for my class next semester ... what I learned, above all, was how exaggerated gestures/poses have to be, even if you're trying to have everyone look ordinary; and also how much just emerges because of fortuitous circumstance (the presence of a bicycle, the positioning of doors).