Our second project this year is called DOCU-08.
"Every photograph could be taken as a document or piece of art. It’s not about two different types of photographs. The decision is up to the observer, to the one who thinks about them." - Jean-Claude Lemagny cited by Francois Soulages in "Aesthetics of Photography".
Is the same decision present when it comes to documentary and photojournalism - the reportage? Documentary (after wikipedia) "usually refers to a type of professional photo journalism, but it may also be an amateur or student pursuit. The photographer attempts to produce truthful, objective, and usually candid photography of a particular subject, most often pictures of people. The pictures usually depict a certain perspective of the photographer."
Let's think about the real documentary photography. What is it today? Is it still part of the professional photojournalism? Is it mainly about people and candid shots? Is the decision up to the observer or up to the photographer?
If you take your time to browse the blog, you will find pictures from the history of documentary photography. Just to mention a few: the photographers of the Farm Security Administration , Lewis W Hine and Paul Strand.
We would also like to remind you of Eugen Atget. "Other photographers had been concerned with describing specific facts (documentation), or with exploiting their individual sensibilities (self-expression). Atget encompassed and transcended both approaches when he set himself the task of understanding and interpreting in visual terms a complex, ancient, and living tradition." Read full article here;
Photographs from important historical events like the military coup in Poland show the power of documentary photography. There is of course much more to say about this tradition and we are aware of its importance.
Among our invited guest you will find Diego Levy, Paul Hansen, Emmanuel Smague, Levan Kakabadze, Gerry Johansson, Alec Soth, Howard W French and many others (some of them perhaps not even defining themselves as part of the tradition of documentary photography.)
The label "reality or fiction" is a recommended reading on the blog. You will find some challenging points of views there.
It’s interesting to see how an increasing number of photographers aim toward the documentary, not only the professionals, not only students or amateurs. Generally speaking it's more popular than ever. So how could we define the documentary in 2008? What if the documentary is about decisions, a personal choice of the photographer who finds the way from subjective to objective and reverses it back? What if it's more personal than ever?
We - the F blog - are inviting you to participate in our new project DOCU-08. We’ll be delighted to see what you think about it. We’d love to hear your answers on the questions above.
We are looking for pictures, which will illustrate and explain the potential of today’s documentary photography. It’s an ambitious project and a challenging task. Your contributions are of course essential to reach this goal.
We're not looking for "right" or "wrong" answers. Let the pictures speak! You may send series or individual pictures. In this project we want pictures no older than from the year of 2008. So please don’t forget to tell us when and where the picture is taken. Send pictures to Gruppo F Inbox or to any of the editors.
/By Joanna and Ulf