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Wednesday, April 22 • 10:35am - 10:55am
Art, Not Art: An Exploration of the Communicative Properties of Photography in Regards to Social Change

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This research looks at photography as a mode of social activism in light of the “art versus document” debate. As opposed to examining which type of photography is “better,” this paper explores how pictorialists versus photojournalists communicate. While documentary photography (photojournalism) seems to purport reality, there are many ways images can be manipulated. And although fine art photography appears to convey tropes in a visually evocative manner, it is not fully organic. Instead, both categories use techniques of the “other side.” As such, we find that perhaps there is a fundamental problem with the debate; that is describes what Edward Steichen labels a “false dichotomy.” Rather, photography as a whole is a medium separate (because of its inclusiveness) from both documents and art. Using this new categorization of photography (thus its communicative properties) we can explore how to use photography as an instrument for change in a globalized yet polarized world.


Wednesday April 22, 2015 10:35am - 10:55am PDT
237 Owen Hall