essay

The
question that will be addressed is ‘can a photograph narrate?’

 

Before
getting on to the question, it is relevant to start with what is it that’s considered

 

narrative within photography. There are different ways that viewers
can connect with the

 

images and have some sort creativity. Roland Barthes used a term that
explains the way we

 

 read and interpret photographs.
For example, the term Studium links to the emotional

 

reaction to viewing an image; Roland Barthes states this in his book ‘Camera Lucida:

 

Reflections on
Photography’.

 

The quote
was “it is by stadium that I am
interested in so many photographs for it is

 

culturally that I participate in the figures, the faces, the gestures,
the settings, the actions”

 

 (Barthes, 1982:26). This implies that because
of studium, viewers have different individual

 

reactions
to photographs which can either be personal to themselves through their

 

experiences
or influences. Everyone creates their own narratives when they see within the

 

 images, linking back to question if
photographs can narrate. In addition to this, a theorist called Mary Warner
Marien acknowledged the idea that through literature and different forms of
storytelling, many photographers have been able to produce their narrative
structures for the viewers: “In overwrought language and outlandish
plots, popular fiction played on the visual veracity of photography, suggesting
that the medium could reach beneath the surface to penetrate the minds of
sitters” (Warner Marien, 2006: 75)

warner believes that the way everyone views images
improved and the accuracy with images has differed. Moreover, before pictures were mainly
viewed as documents, evidence however with the use of ‘overwrought language and
outlandish plots’, it has now given photography the opportunity to change and
mess around with the details. Now there
is more creativity and ways for viewers to connect with the images.

 

To back up the question with
artists/contexts the work that will be used is Adama Jalloh’s

 

work and some newspapers articles. A photograph can
narrate but it can cause

 

false narration.

 

In the work of Adama jalloh he
offers us different images of young black youths and takes

 

pictures of these boys who have
been stopped and searched.

 

When you see these two pictures people will start to see them in a
negative light due to the

 

cultural codes. “Codes of dress, music, advertising
and other forms of communication are

 

conceptualized as logical systems, the focus is upon clues which
together constitute a text

 

ready for reading and interpretation” (Liz Wells, 2015: 36). The way they are dressed and

 

how they look also helps why people will think of them as thugs and
dangerous, however

 

when you look at the text which is ‘stop and search’ you then begin to
put two and two

 

together and have a better understanding of the images and the concept
and how it

 

narrates through the text ‘stop and search’.

 

Different photographers also
use a different way to narrative and present their work. For example, Charlotte
Cotton says this in The Photograph as Contemporary Art: “Whereas the photograph draws on specific
imagery and cultural codes for their narratives, other photographers use the
tableau formula for much more ambiguous and unreferenced narratives.”
(Cotton, 2009: 57).