cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

PHOTOGRAPHY Typology {2}



There has been a insistent and persistent question from the beginning of my serious video-filming. Why do some people object to being filmed? (Or photographed). Most don’t but a few do. What is it? The most surprising is those who themselves photograph who do not like being photographed or filmed.

Both film and photograph can show the classic response: the raised arm, obscuring the face, arm pushing forward, palm up, asking and demanding: why and stop: synecdochic connotation.

Without really knowing why, a brief look at typology hinted the answer was somehow there. By that I do not mean simply classifying the response to being photographed will in some way give an answer to why some resist.  But a rational set of typologies is a prerequisite to recognising the question has to be tailored to individual response: no one arm up asking not to be photographed means the same thing. Luckily everyone knows about this topic and has a wealth of examples from the simplest image management (my hair’s not right)  to some deeper psychological reasons which are often never  fathomed. The archives are full of tantalising images of long-dead people putting arms up, or clamping hands to faces, as the camera clicks, which we will probably never know the reason for.

The iconic examples are those like Grace Kelly’s beach photos, where she runs onto the beach from the sea stretching her arm forward, but still smiling.  It is part of some publicity shoot, but she is not ready. This is not the image she wishes to create.  There was a TV documentary a few years ago which dealt in part with the management of her image.

~

Now I have some sort of an answer to resistance to being photographed from The Handbook of Visual Communication by Kenneth Louis Smith: a weighty tome costing about £/$ 120. Luckily a few chapters are largely intact in GoogleBooks.

Section 10 Ethics: Chapter 28: Studying Visual Ethics by Applying a Typology of Visual behavior by Julianne H. Newton, starting page 459.

(A review by Jennifer F. Woods summaries each chapter for those curious about this book as a whole. )




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March 22, 2009 Posted by | photographic typology, typology | , , | Leave a comment