Theatre of the street : subverting otherness in photography
Rr Apriani Kartika Dristiningsih.
Date of Issue2012
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper explores the dynamics between the street photographer and his photographed subjects or the objectified Other. In capturing subjects who are different from them, and subsequently presenting it to the viewers, these photographers are in fact, perpetuating their Otherness, thus promoting their inferior status. While their intentions may be to highlight the plight of the marginalised Other, implicit in the act of photography is placing the photographed subjects under the authorial directions of the photographer. The paradox is then clear: in placing light and bestowing visibility to these subjects through the photographic technique, the photographer is sustaining their invisibility precisely because they are stripped of their ability to assert their own identity in the face of the enigmatic lens. I will be discussing the works of surrealist photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, as well as those from Jeff Wall and Philip-Lorca diCorcia to better understand how the photographed subjects can adopt the pose to subvert their Otherness when being photographed. In this discursive process, I will first explain how Cartier-Bresson defines the genre of street photography, where he coined the term the “decisive moment” – the opportune timing where all the elements within his vision form perfect geometry with each other. His photographs will be compared to works by Jeff Wall and Philip-Lorca diCorcia, which not only deviate from the notion of the “decisive moment”, but also thwart the conventions of street photography genre.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University