photography and photographic practice task 2

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  1. 1. Photography and Photographic Practice Task 2 (Photojournalists)By Craig Cassidy
  2. 2. Past Photojournalist Phillip Jones Griffiths (1936-2008) Biography Phillip Jones was born in a small town of Rhuddlan in Wales on the 19 th February 1936. He went on to study pharmacy in Liverpool university, then he went on to work as night manager at a branch of Boots in Piccadilly, whilst he was at work at Boots he was also working as a part time photographer for the Manchester Guardian. The first ever photograph that he took, was a photograph of one of his friends on a rowboat, the photograph was taken with the family's, Brownie which was a very popular camera of the time period. His first job as a full-time photographer was as a freelance photographer working for the, Observer in which job he travelled to Algeria in 1962. In 1966 he was working for the a photography companied called Magnum, which are based in America. Magnum sent Griffiths to Vietnam in 1966, which was at the time of Americans fighting with the Vietnamese people, this is were Griffiths really gained his reputation and his fame, because the photographs that he took all focused on the suffering of the Vietnamese people, Magnum found it extremely difficult to sell his photos to the American magazine because they basically showed all the suffering the Americans were putting the Vietnamese people through. His career didnt seem to be going so well as his photographs weren't getting published and he didnt have funds for his photographic mission in Vietnam. However he eventually got his photograph published and this photo unsurprisingly wasnt of Vietnamese people suffering it was Jackie Kennedy vacationing with a male friend, the proceedings from this photo enabled him to continue his coverage of Vietnam and eventually publish his book Vietnam Inc. in 1977. The book had a huge influence on the Americans publics perceptions of the current war . After the war in Vietnam had finished he went on to cover the Yom Kippur War and eventually went on to become the President of Magnum. One of his other notable achievements was starting the Foundation for the Study of War. "I never met a foreigner who cared as wisely for the Vietnamese, or about ordinary people everywhere under the heel of great power, as Philip Jones Griffiths. He was the greatest photographer and one of the finest journalists of my lifetime, and a humanitarian to match. His photographs of ordinary people, from his beloved Wales to Vietnam and the shadows of Cambodia, make you realise who the true heroes are. He was one of them.- John Pilger
  3. 3. The first of the photos which Im going to analyse by Griffiths. Its a documentary photograph, with the intention of putting across the fact that the children of places which are torn apart by war & conflict suffer just as much as the adults do, he does this with the content of the actual photograph which just shows the unhappy looking children sat in what looks like a prison. I would like to say that the conditions of the photo were candid as well because I cant imagine that Griffiths told the children to pose because he would want to capture how the children would look naturally. Visual Elements The main focus of the photo seems to be the children in this photo as they appear to be clearest thing that you can make out in the photograph Id say another focus of the photograph is potentially the bars above them as they appear to clear as well I think that they have been made a focus of the photograph to maybe suggest that the children are trapped in Vietnam because the pars remind me of a prison. The room seems to be quite dimly lit but I wouldnt like to say weather it was low key or high key photograph because its not light enough to be a high key photograph but I think that there is too much light for it low key , the photographer will of used the lighting in the photo to put across the misery and the suffering of the children. Another visual element of photographs are lines in this photo the only really obvious lines which I can see are the lines of the bars on window/hole above the children, in this case I dont think they show any movement or energy. It is definitely a Monochrome photograph as there is no light present at all. There seems to be plenty of depth to the photograph as the children seem to be quite far away and there seems to be plenty of space. There is slight form of dynamic range in the photograph as towards the roof and definitely the right hand side of the photograph there is darkness and then as you get closer to children it gets lighter and lighter and the area the children are in is the lightest area of the photo. Its not a passive photograph because it still conveys enough visual information but its not quite a busy photo because there are a lot of blank areas with nothing much going on in them. Composition The central focus of the photograph are the children and the bars on the window this would be keep the thoughts of the audience centred around the children and the bars on the window, he has made these the central focus of the photo by making sure the light is centrally on the focus points. There is no really any really obvious contrast in this photo whether in the form of light, varying in textures or sizes its just quite simple in the terms of contrast.
  4. 4. The second photo of Griffiths which I'm going to analyse is a photograph taken in 1962 when Algeria was struck by war. The pictures shows a regroupment camp and just shows the conditions that people had to live in and just generally the path of destruction left by the war, it puts across this message well by just its general content as you can see with the barbed wire, and the condition of the buildings in which people lived in. Visual Elements I would say that the main focus of the image is the whole village in the photograph especially for some reason the guard tower is one of the focuss as well, the areas which aren't the main focus are the hills behind the camp as you can tell by the lack of quality and focus on that area. The use of light in the photograph stresss which part of the photograph are the focus as well. As you can see by the village appearing to be lit up and the surroundings areas appear darker, the use of light still doesnt really show and clues to the time of day it was shot at though as it could have been early morning or late in the afternoon. The image is definitely not high key as its not very bright in general and there is no strong light source but I wouldnt say it was low key either as there isn't a lot of shadow present. In this photograph I wouldnt say there was a clear use of lines, but I would say that the edge of the hill acts as a kind of line to try and lead your attention to the military looking guard tower at the top of the hill. The object which is repeated throughout the image is the barbed wire which appears out of focus but still noticeable in the image, the barbed wire which seems to run over the photo throughout would be to maybe suggest that the people are trapped in this state of war & conflict. There is also a vast amount of space in the image which adds some depth to the image, this depth is added by having the barbed wire at the front the camp in the middle and then the mountainous looking area in the background. The image is quite busy as well as there is a lot going on in terms of content in the focus points of the image. Composition The background of the photograph is the mountains, I think that they have kept the backgrounds in the image to suggest that the people are in poor living conditions because living near what looks like very mountainous areas just suggests that general everyday life might be quite rough for you. The image is very asymmetrical from what I can see. The central focus of the image is the guards tower and how it appears to be watching over the village, this says that the village might be under village control, or the military watch your every move. There is some form of contrast in the image as the areas in the background are darker and less notable again this is done so you dont concentrate on the darker too much. The setting for the photograph is a real setting and has definitely not been shot in a studio. The photograph might have been taken from some form of vantage point because the hill seems to be lower than the photographer.
  5. 5. The third and final photo of which Im going to analyse is a another photo from the war in Vietnam. I think that photos main point is about the sorrow and loss of war in general and suggesting that if you take part in war it has consequences for yourself (this is suggested by the man kneeling by his wife maybe?). Visual Elements I would say that the main focus of the image is the woman lying dead on the ground on a stretcher and the man kneeling by her, with a look a sorrow. I wouldnt really say that any main areas of the image have been highlighted by the use of light as the light obvious light source is the light of the sky in background which is broken by the smoke, the light can tell you that this was taken at day time and is definitely all natural light. With all of Griffiths photos which I have looked at they have all been a kind of low key light this is because with Griffiths trying to put across the sorrow and suffering of the Vietnamese people he needs to use a low key lighting because a high key light is often associated with family photos and happiness and it would just be innapproiate for these type of photos. The colour in this photo as in basically all of Griffiths photos is monochrome. The photo is also quite passive, I think that Griffiths will have chose for the photo to be quite passive so you can concentrate on the message of the soldier sitting by a dead women, in my opinion it would also have been a very powerful photo if it was quite busy with lots of people walking by in the background because thi