Project 3: Photography as visual research

Project 3: Photography as visual evidence

In this project we are called to present visual evidence which documents activity taking place in a given field. I was interested in the point that it is important to distinguish between what we can know through experience, verbal language and the visual content of our experience. To me this seems to sum up some important points or at least open them up for questioning as it can help us to define our intention when doing photography. I think that the clearer one’s intention in the process the better executed the project. It is as if we are attempting to match our concepts or ideas (whether or not we verbalise them) into some concrete perceptual visual situation.

Below the first set of four images are those of exercise 3.11

Curiously I think I could have thought more about the difference between the second and the third image.

The difference between(1)reading…(3)this text…” It seemed obvious at the time what the remit was for the exercise but looking at the images some time later I saw a flaw or inaccuracy that was to do with not differentiating between one phase and the next. I would have improved this series by having the third image more focused on the text itself perhaps without allusions to “me reading”.


Exercise 3.12 I have added in as a link to the PDF as there are many images. Click below to see the Exercise

Exerc_3.12_visual research_ (_MG_6639.dng and 110 others)

I took as my subject the meditation centre that I attend and the people working there. With their permission I was present over a couple of sessions documenting the work that the team does in the centre to run it. This involved several different scenes as the work is varied.

Firstly there is a more admin based scene and later more practical as they move to meditation hall to clean it up and arrange it.

Who are they? They are a team of volunteers and practicing meditators who run a public meditation centre. The team consists mainly of four people: Abhayka (general manager) Sudaka (convener of the people who get involved more seriously with the centre) John (second manager in training) and then various volunteers that come and go during the week. The centre is largely dependant upon the contributions of a volunteer base.

What do they do? Essentially their work is to organise the running of the centre and every activity associated with it. For example the team organise volunteers to maintain reception of the centre. They are also organise teachers to come in and lead the classes and then the more practical side of their work is to clean and maintain the premises.

What is their behaviour? At least in this context the work that they do creates quite an intense pitch of activity and is quite highly focused. There is often a fair bit of troubleshooting to do so this can create some tensions in the team at times. Otherwise, the atmosphere is one that is quite cordial and peaceful.


Sometimes it was difficult to portray the import of what the team were doing through images although I think that I made a good attempt. Largely what I wanted to show was their activity side at to some extent the emotional relationship between the team members. I would say that I could have improved on the project by taking some more close in shots on the subjects. I can see that this type of photography takes practice and the ability to ‘tune in’ to the subject in such as way as the camera can draw out the subject inner goings on.

Links to researched images for this exercise:

Here I viewed some of the work of Dorothea Lange

Lange for much of her known work seems to illustrate this documentary evidence style. As the commission for these particular images was to portray the facts of the situation we can see that she did this in a way that left the people being photographed in a remarkable candid fashion. Also, along with the times, people would perhaps not have been so accustomed to seeing the camera pointed at them and so there was less of an idea of posing for the shot.

Dorothea Lange Dorothea Lange - Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children, age thirty-two, Nipomo, California, 1936


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