Documentary Hangout 7

Attendance: Me, Bryn, Jonathon

No one had any work to share today and the discussion proved to be quite free flowing because of this with many points touched upon. Here are some notes that I managed to jot down as we discussed!


Working towards assignment 3, exploring gentrification of his local area Deptford, something which he has mixed feelings about. Currently experimenting with images and approaches and concerned about how to make these visually engaging, for example, typical examples of new build are high rise buildings in the area. One possibility discussed was working with someone who is from the area and directly affected by the changes that are happening. Discussed interest in exploring ideas about ethics and the possibility of creating a fake story. (Maurice’s submission for assignment 3 which deliberately played with notions of truth was mentioned as inspiration.) Concerns about how to make the story authentic were expressed.

Bryn commented on recent examples of stock photographs being used to highlight a story that has been shown to be incorrect. For example, photographs of Syrian refugees that are not even from that country.


Working towards assignment 4 and discussed possible themes for the critical review. Many subjects were mentioned – mainly with the theme of how photography can make a difference in the world, here are some points I managed to record:

Problems with how documentary photography has become ‘gentrified’ e.g. coffee table books, gallery setting, aimed at a particular middle/upper-class audience, archives.

Public display of images problematic because of their temporality.

The fetishisation of photography as a commodity.

Advertising – particular how this invades our lives more than ever and yet is commonly accepted, e.g. on our phones, social media.

Bryn recommended two items to look at:

A brief history of graffiti – BBC film on the iPlayer

Lecture by David Carson, graphic designer responsible for the influential magazine Ray Gun which challenged accepted conventions of how information should/could be displayed.

David Carson: Design and discovery


Feedback – the importance of gaining feedback from students who you have built a rapport with, for example through this group, versus asking for comments via other means, such as the student forums, was discussed. My feeling is that building a rapport is key and leads to much stronger feedback in the sense that those who supply it will be more comfortable being honest and also having respect for the person giving feedbacks point of view is important. Bryn feels strongly that asking too indiscriminately for feedback can result in a scenario of being pulled down the rabbit hole and can be unhelpful.

David Campbell lecture – cited in the notes for assignment 3 and mentioned by both Bryn and Jonathon as being an extremely useful resource and something they have returned to many times. I will have a look at this now in advance of assignment 3.

Recording of hangouts – both Bryn and Jonathon mentioned finding my blog posts about our hangouts as being useful resources which I was surprised to hear!

Presentation for assignments: I mentioned a concern I had leading to assignment 2 that the mode of presentation we are asked for (an online gallery) is quite specific and was something I was unsure would be the way I wanted to display my images. Bryn’s advice was to meet the brief but also present a kind of ‘directors cut’ showing a preferred presentation and discussing the rationale for this – sound advice I think.

Next hangout scheduled for 20th August 2017.

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