Week 2 – Reflections

This week’s work has been focusing on the different and often similar arguments made by Barthes, Szarkowski and Berger around the meaning of the image and its authenticity.

This has given me a lot to consider regarding my practice as it focuses on the emotive and the subjective role the photograph has. The ability for it to speak and create emotion and memory, rather than it just be a two-dimensional piece of photosensitive paper.

To me, Barthes search for the emotive and subsequent discussion of proportion to imagery is a beneficial angle that I now choose to explore.

Generating images that have an emotional, poetic attachment to them has been an underpinning choice I have made within my practice. The challenge as I see it is how to develop this.

I can now see that the cultural impact of my work – such as developing images that help people to relate to mental ill health – such as the individual leaves on the water – are very much studium – that being a reaction to a social need and therefore the creation of that social need.

I hope to find a way to ‘puncture’ this and look at the more challenging role that punctum plays. This I understand cannot be created by myself for the observer; instead, it is a reaction from the observer to a scene they are observing.

This notion will require a rethink of how I capture an image and also how I then connect image sequences to bring in a narrative. It is this narrative, combined with the right set of images that I hope will move my practice forward. The viewers of my work can then create the punctum within which an emotive response could then perpetuate.

It is possible that this ambition is setting the bar too high for my work and that my practice may be served better in developing more effective styles of photography that then themselves generate such emotive images for the viewer.

However, I feel that the course my practice is on for this MA requires a reversal of approach. One that can be inspired by more critical theory and abstract thinking, rather than the technical direction I have been taking.



  • BARTHES, Roland. and HOWARD, Richard. 2006. Camera lucida. 1st ed. New York, NY: Hill and Wang.
  • SZARKOWSKI, John. 2007. The photographer’s eye. 1st ed. New York: Museum of modern art.