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Palmera's take on lense-based culture


This blog post describes our first challenge during the Photo Research class on the 23rd of November. During the class we looked at lens-based culture and we were tasked to make a collection of lens-based culture.

For this first challenge we Palmera decided to use our portable lenses also known as our iPhones. We scrolled through our camera rolls, instagram and facebook accounts looking for signals which represented “lens-based culture”.We were actually looking through our personal photo ‘archives’. A somewhat messy storage of images which we have each compiled through the years and are afraid to lose or let go of.

On the following pictures you will see a collection of photos which each team member has collected throughout this search.

Jose’s collection is a series of “pretty things” which caught his eye on a day to day. The presence of urban and lifestyle is prominent. Our team’s favourite is the final collection named “vanity”. This is a collection of guilty/cheeky photos taken for the pleasure of it. It demonstrates today’s mirror selfie culture and street fashion.

Karma’s collection is personal, digging out family and childhood treasures (surprisingly) found on facebook, with the hopes to freeze a memory. Our favourite is the first picture under evidence. This is a picture of a selfie (and selfie stick) by the pyramids of Giza. It combines both an ancestral and historical location with new means of documenting photos. This photo is a type of evidence to say “I was there”, or “I have done this”.

In Gabriela’s collection we can once again find the selfie theme, but this time with a prominent use of filters and effects. In the group called scanning we can find photos used for documentation or tracking purposes. Today it is much easier to carry a photo on your phone than the actual document or object itself. It is as if we have a portable bag within our mobile devices.

Anum’s collection mostly comes from visits and trips. In it we can see the iconic Eiffel Tower photo which every Parisian tourist takes. As well as museum photos which are a common means to express culture. Anum’s photos zoom in on the texture and the material of the subject as if helping the viewer to “feel” what they see.

How we envision the relation around the camera?

During class we learned about the dynamics between the photographer, viewer and subject and how their respective backgrounds, experiences, contexts and cultures tells a story and makes a photo valuable. The notion of time stood out to us as a common player within these entities. For example, in our collections presented above we have childhood pictures which are a clear evidence of the impact of time on the three entities. Here the subject was a photo (a picture of a picture) offering two gazes. The original photographer was capturing a family moment, which was then recaptured by a second photographer. Each one had their own background, experience and context in relation to the time of photo. The viewer depending on their culture would react differently to each photo. This framework allows us to analyse photos in a deeper and meaningful way.

How we envision the role of photo research in our projects?

This class has opened our eyes on how to both capture and analyse photos for our semester project as a means to gain valuable insights. Photos serve as evidence for an insight, signal or trend. A collection of photos also helps us to spot patterns and make connections between different narratives. Moreover photo research is a strong tool for storytelling. The relation around the camera is a strong way for us to analyse what may first seem as an ordinary photo in order to reach deeper understandings. Concerning our fast fashion project, we don't only consider ourselves as the photographer and the viewers. We also envision ourselves as the subjects in order to immerse ourselves into the consumer's world.

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