Framing The World Through My Photographs

Say Cheese

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During the summer I went on holiday to visit my family in County Cork in Ireland, where I came across Graham Kings book Say Cheese in a quaint little book shop in the smallest town, for a measly €5, As a lover of snapshot family photography how could I not get it.

Notes and thoughts on – Say Cheese – Graham King 1986

  • To the majority of individuals making photographs means to take snapshots
  • There is a varitable ocean of snapshots that already exist from nostaligic sepia images of our ancestors and the kodachromes and polariods of our parents to the digital photos of today.
  • The custom of taking photographs has become increasingly significant and plays a now complex role in peoples everyday life.
  • In susan sontags, book on photography the collection of essays, summarise that “instead of just recording reality, photographs have become the norm, for the way things appear to us”.
  • The snapshot is changing the way of seeing the world.
  • (page xii) “we might gaze for many minutes at a photograph in a magazine, for example, but it cannot have the same impression as a snapshot we have taken our-selfs”.
  • Family albums serve as primers to a greater awareness of photographic images, out own lives our past, present and cultures.
  • Perhaps the repository of visual record has become so large is perhaps, the fact that snapshots are so utilitarian.
  • The snapshot has not appealed to the collectors instinct. Perhaps this is because of the lack of progression in the technique.
  • What Is the purpose of taking snapshots?
  • In the past generations the purpose of snapshots was to prove: to record: to immortalise something.
  • What is a photograph? – A photograph is a fixed moment in time bound by its four edges.
  • Snapshots are becoming an opportunity to occupy peoples times.
  • “When one can zap off a dozen exposures or produce an instant image before an impressed audience, the purpose of taking snapshots becomes less explicit”.

I have never considered the snapshot as a form of art, as the majority of the time they seem to have a quick fire appearance. taken without much thought. Graham king in say cheese lists 12 common charlacteristics common to inages not taken by ‘photographers’ : Tilted horizon, unconventional cropping, eccentric framing, the distant subject, blurring, double exposure, enter the light ( where a light scource has over exposed part of the image) , the siammese frame ( where the film has not wound on properly, the close encounter(finger over the lens), The shadow ( of the photographer entering the frame), banality ( the subject and how it has been photographed is unteresting), ambiguity ( the purpose of the photograph is unclear).


Reference- King, G. (1986) Say ‘cheese’!: the snapshot as art and social history.United Kingdom: HarperCollins Distribution Services.


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This entry was posted on November 20, 2014 by in 350MC - photography in context.
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