As covered in my previous post at the start of the course Introduction to Context and Narrative (‘C&N’), part 2 this section is all about narrative; telling a story through images, using image with text to explore their relationships and photographing the unseen.
“… narrative is all about what falls within the frame.” (Boothroyd; 2017)
What is it within the frame though that allows us to interpret a photograph/image in a particular way?
It may be the subject or subjects, the colour or colours, the expressions, the composition etc. which resonate with us. Subconsciously we are decoding everything we see and interpreting it according to our own specific experiences, gender, culture, likes and dislikes, level of understanding of a particular subject etc.
From the earliest sign language and cave drawings/paintings we have always found ways to develop our communication, making it more sophisticated / advanced to enable the communication of more complex ideas about the world in which we live.
These early forms of communication developed into the modern-day language, both written and spoken, but these also come with difficulties in that there are many different languages, dialects, slangs and colloquialisms which are used around the world.
Then when we bring both image and language together this can give a completely different interpretation / reading of a situation than just using one type of communication.
It’s a wonder how any of us are able to communicate effectively at all with all these different variables in play.
So I think, or at least how I currently see it is, image interpretation is dependant upon the audience which is viewing it. Using globally understood icons and imagery can help to widen the understanding across audiences but when creating an image it is important you know who is going to view it and will they understand the message either with or without commentary.
I have started reading Image, Music, Text (Barthes; 1977) and am finding this text very insightful and relevant to this part of the course, so no doubt I will be quoting from it as I move through the projects within part two.
Boothroyd, S (2017) Context and Narrative, Barnsley: OCA.
Barthes, R, (1977). Image – Music – Text. London: Fontana Press.