Framing The World Through My Photographs

Martha Rosler – Decoys and Disruptions – Post Documentary, Post Photography

I was directed to Martha Rosler’s post documentary, Post photography by Anthony as she discusses Billinghams in relation to the context of exhibition in galleries. I opened the essay started to read, I felt like I was reading a thesaurus. I had to re read it over three days in attempt to understand it.

Find below my notes

  • She opens with the concept that voyeurism is often a motive behind photography (to peer into someone else’s world)
  • Rosler also describes a relationship between colour photography and photography of the working classes/industrialisation
  • Earlier she mentioned that the snapshot style in the art world was an approach that used to be avoided and criticised
  • She uses Richard Billingham as her example of a photographer working in art using the snapshot style of photography in an art context
  • His subjects ‘his drunken father and brother and his rot-toothed mother’ are the kind of people Rosler talked about earlier in relation to voyeurism (his work provides an incite into the lower classes)
  • People perceive his work as poetry/self expression, they see it differently from other approaches to photographing that subject matter, he isn’t an admirer photographing them, he isn’t trying to make them look like a victim (this would relate really well to Abigail Solomon Godeau’s Inside/Out – Billingham has the inside status so his representation could be considered as more truthful)
  • Although Rosler ends by saying documentary isn’t just an art practice, there are different categories of documentary photography, some are just reportage and some like Billingham come from the world of art, she explains it’s important to keep art and reportage separate because the images work differently.

After reading this I wrote a summaritive paragraph: Find Below

Martha Rosler in Post documentary, post photography, discusses Billinghams voyeuristic view into his family as an incite into the lower classes of post industrial Britain. Promoters of art galleries perceived his work as a form of poetry and self-expression. Billinghams work was seen differently to how others that have approached similar subject matters, because Billingham isn’t an admirer photographing the family nor is he trying to make him them look like a victim. Billingham possess and insider status, therefore his view could be considered a more truthful representation.

Reference – Rosler, M. (2004) Decoys and disruptions: selected writings, 1975-2001. United States: MIT Press in association with International Center of Photography, New York.


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This entry was posted on January 1, 2015 by in 350MC - photography in context.
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