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Elliptical Narratives

Posted in PHOT 167 by Paul Turounet on August 12, 2012

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Paul Graham, Pittsburgh, 2004 from A Shimmer of Possibility

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“Many photographers of ambition seek that extra ten yards, and strive for narrative content, seeking to become authors as well as auteurs.  Lewis Baltz once said that, “it is useful to think of creative photography as a narrow but deep area lying between the cinema and the novel.” ”

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Paul Graham, installation of Pittsburgh, 2004 from A Shimmer of Possibility at Carlier | Gebauer

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“Narrative as understood by film theorists involves the linear arrangement of events, selected and sequenced in a logical order, especially in a temporal sense.  Cause and effect is the keynote, a story that proceeds logically and sequentially in time.  Films having a beginning, a middle and an end – preferably, from a Hollywood point of view, a happy, or at least a resolved ending.

Jean-Luc Goddard agreed with that, but with a decided sting in the tail.  “A film should have a beginning, a middle, and an end,” he famously remarked, “but not necessarily in that order.”  That, of course, is nonlinear narrative, (elliptical narrative), defined in a nutshell.”

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Alex Prager11:45 PM, Griffith Park and Eye #4, (Roadside Victim), 2012

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“Linear narrative is inherently populist, accentuating the familiar, the known, and the predictable.  We can go further and say that it offers reassurance and solace.  We usually know where we are with the linear narrative, any plot twists merely delay the inevitable resolution.  Therefore, we can say this form predicates a certain conservatism, whereas nonlinear narrative, by its very nature somewhat more uncertain and unpredictable, is much more radical in concept, both formally and politically.”

– from Elliptical Narratives:  Some Thoughts on the Photobook, by Gerry Badger in The Pleasures of Good Photographs

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Christian Patterson, installation of Redheaded Peckerwood at Robert Morat Galerie

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Assignment

Visually investigate the idea and possibilities of narrative and photography.  Explore utilizing various cameras and/or materials (analog and digital, black & white or color), the use and function of text and/or other materials, including found objects or letters, as well as presentation strategies (multiple-image and/or image scale) to inform your curiosities and ideas. In shooting your images, focus your energies on creating visually engaging compositions as suggested by your use of the photographic frame, point of view, details, moments of exposure, light and handling of materials.

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Requirements

For the critique and evaluation, please complete the following:

Part 1 – Critique (October 12 and 14)

4 – 5 Digital edited contact sheets (minimum of 20 images) that reflect your interpretation of an idea and the possibilities of narrative and photography through your photographic vision and sense of technical execution and craftsmanship (Due at time of scheduled individual critiques).

Minimum of 2 – finished photographic prints made in the Grossmont College Analog | Digital Photography Labs.

Turn-in all critique materials in a manila envelope for evaluation and feedback.

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Part 2 – Critique (November 16 and 18)

Digital Review of all Digital Photographs/Files shot for Assignment (to be reviewed between October 26 and November 9)

Minimum of 2 – finished photographic prints made in the Grossmont College Analog | Digital Photography Labs.

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Part 3 – Final Project | The Portfolio

Turn-In Final Project at end of class on Monday, December 7.

Presentation of Final Project will be on Monday, December 14 from 1:45 am – 3:45 pm.

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Additional Photographers’ Work to Consider

casadecampo-0 Antonio M. Xoubanova

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jcarrier1 J. Carrier

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lcl_spread_1 Ron Jude

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WHubbsM+B  Whitney Hubbs

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REthridge  Roe Ethridge

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DShea  Daniel Shea

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