As suggested in the reader I read through all the blog posts on WeAreOCA and the contributors’ comments. I did this last week and should have written this blog post straight aways, because now I am a bit lost reading my notes and not knowing exactly what I meant when I wrote them down!
However, there are a few discussions that stood out: First of all, the discussion of whether a photographer has an agenda when he sets out to shoot a documentary. Looking at the work of the photographers discussed, I could see a distinct difference in the end product of the projects, considering the preparation, narrowness of subject matter or style. Even though Alex Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississipi does not seem based on an agenda, his cultural background and preconceived ideas do influence the outcome of his work. There is a distinct focus on religion, race differences and environment. The same can be seen in Malhotra’s Sleepers, even though he had a much more narrow content matter and time of shooting, his interest in people sleeping and living in public spaces was triggered by his own life story and social background when he moved to Delhi.
I looked at the work of all the artists mentioned, seeing them next to each other and as a whole, questions of authorship, ethics and how our personal backgrounds prejudices and drives influence the work, how it is perceived and (mis)judged by its viewers and whether or not we form an opinion based on what we see or our preconceived ideas of the subject matter and photographer of the photographs.