History and documentary photography

There is no standard definition of documentary, but in photography, at least, it connotes both revealing the truth and promoting social justice. These goals fit my historical work. For me as for Lange, however, they need careful qualification. Neither photography not history simply reports facts. Historians and photographers choose what to include and exclude in the pictures they shape, frame their subjects so as to reveal, emphasize, relate, or separate different elements, and use interpretive techniques to do this. Some will argue, of course, that historians and documentarists have no business promoting their opinions, but that argument rests on the false assumption that it is possible to avoid doing so. History and documentary photography necessarily proceed from a point of view shaped by social position, politics, religious conviction, and the thousands of other factors that mold every human being.


Linda Gordon,
Dorothea Lange, A life beyond limits

Dorothea Lange

Anúncios

~ por salamandrine em Dezembro 5, 2009.

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