Category Archives: Reflection

Part one – Reflection

Part one – Reflection

At the end of Project 5 the course notes ask the following questions in reflection to part one:

“What was your idea of documentary photography before you worked on Part One?”

Before I worked on part one of this course documentary meant street photography; images taken to record events which were mainly about people and places.  Quite basic a definition really.

How would you now sum it up?”

I now realise that documentary is so much more than my original basic interpretation.  I hadn’t appreciated that there were sub-genres to documentary photography and what the differences were; that each sub-genre has its own place in photographic practice for a particular reason.  The history of photography as a document and then as art is again something I wasn’t aware of (or at least consciously) but by reading the texts provided within the course materials and in the recommended reading it’s all starting to come together – a picture is building (excuse the pun).  It’s important to understand photography’s past to appreciate how it has changed, both from a technical perspective but also from a cultural and social perspective too.  ‘Documentary’ photography is a lot farther reaching in its context and narrative than I had appreciated when I started the course.

What are the differences between documentary, reportage, photojournalism and
art photography?”

Documentary is the making of a record or to document. Documentary photography has come to cover a variety of genres, such as those below.  It can of course be street photography but is not limited to.

Reportage photography is a story in images from one persons point of view.  Nan Goldin’s work is a good example of this; very personal and subjective reportage imagery.

Photojournalism refers to news imagery.  It is photography which informs “the public of events and happenings across the world.” (Boothroyd, 2017 : 26)  This could be in the form of imagery taken live (whilst it happens) or in the aftermath (after it has happened) .

Art photography is (but not limited to) documentary images being viewed as part of an exhibition.  So it is more about context i.e. where the photographs are shown.


Boothroyd, S (2017) Context and Narrative, Barnsley: OCA.

Bull, S (2010) Photography, Abingdon: Routledge.

And so to begin C&N with some inner dialogue…

“No longer a newbie to studying a degree,
No longer a newbie to the art of photography.”

by me 2017

This is my first blog post for Photography 1, Context and Narrative… It took a while coming but here it is, on this page, a reality.  And relax….

Actually NO, there is no relaxing not now with approx. 400 hours of degree learning for this course ahead of you… this is more like a year in the life of…..

Why does that sound so daunting?

Don’t worry you have made a learning schedule and are committed to stick to it.

It shouldn’t be so difficult I love photography, right?

Well, when you get further in to your studies there is a lot more writing and not so much photography.  

But ultimately I will be informing my photography with the things I have learnt / am learning?

Yes, that’s right.  So enjoy it, soak up the challenge and the new information coming your way and you will be fine…

OK, let’s do this!