Exercise

Exercise 

 Record a real conversation with a friend (It’s up to you whether you ask permission or not!). Before listening to the recording, write your account of both sides of the conversation. Then listen to the recording and make notes of the discrepancies, perhaps there are unfinished sentences, stammers, pauses, miscommunicates etc. Reflect upon the believability of re-enacted narratives and how this can be applied to constructed photography. What do you learn from the conversation recording process and how you can you transfer what you learned into making pictures? 

Record a real conversation with a friend (It’s up to you whether you ask permission or not!). Before listening to the recording, write your account of both sides of the conversation. Then listen to the recording and make notes of the discrepancies, perhaps there are unfinished sentences, stammers, pauses, miscommunicates etc. Reflect upon the believability of re-enacted narratives and how this can be applied to constructed photography. What do you learn from the conversation recording process and how can you transfer what you learned into making pictures?

I record a conversation with a friend. I wrote down what I believe the narrative was, to me it seemed pretty easy to recall. When I listened back to the recording, I found several things that I didn’t register before listening.

I found that my friends seemed to say ‘you know’ a lot, whereas I said ‘like’ a lot, I didn’t even realize I did that. Several times I would start a sentence and my friend would cut me off, one instance was I was beginning to say “But”, then she cut me off. During the conversation we talked over each other a few times. My friend seemed to talk the longest, whereas my sentences were fairly short in comparison, something I didn’t recognized from the earlier recall. I felt fairly confident in the recall I wrote of our conversation but on reflection I got the general jist of the conversation but missed all the discrepancies. Most of these I didn’t even realize where happening.

Going from this experience I believe it would be very difficult to accurately re-enact a narrative for the purpose of a constructed photograph. The main reason being even if you think that you’ve remembered everything, the chances are you have forgotten something. I was surprised what I missed from the conversation, it makes you think what else have I missed?

Roland Barthes believes that ‘there is no human experience that cannot be expressed in the form of a narrative’, “Narrative is present in myth, legend, fable, tale, novella, epic, history, tragedy, drama, comedy, mime, painting (think of Carpaccio’s Saint Ursula), stained-glass windows, cinema, comics, news items, conversation. Moreover, under this almost infinite diversity of forms, narrative is present in every age, in every place, in every society; it begins with the very history of mankind and there nowhere is nor has been a people without narrative. . . Caring nothing for the division between good and bad literature, narrative is international, trans historical, transcultural: it is simply there, like life itself.”

Narrative is everywhere, so narrative can be present in photography but care must be taken when ‘reenacting’ it, similar to the conversation exercise. It can be seen as a game of Chinese whispers, it starts as one thing but as it get transfer and passed along it can change to another thing, the meaning is totally different from the start to the finish.


Jovchelovitch, S & Martin W. Bauer. Narrative Interviewing. [Online]. <http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/2633/1/Narrativeinterviewing.pdf> [Accessed: 25th September 2016].


 

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