All the World is Staged (Part 1)

Staging within photography is used in almost every photograph that we see, even the photographs that don’t look staged are still probably staged to some extent. This weeks theme is exactly about this. Entitled ‘All the world is staged’ we will be able to focus of what makes a photograph staged? and what aspects do you need to consider when staging an image?

 “One of the richest and most important strands of twentieth-century photography is encapsulated in one phrase ‘the decisive moment'” (Shore, R. 2014) From this decisive moment that was brought into play by photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Jacques Henri Lartigue, much staging has been brought about in photography, giving the photographer the right to construct a scene in which can be depicted in the frame. Arguably, however, the first staged photograph was brought about in 1868 where Roger Fenton went to photograph the aftermath of war. But in doing so, moved all the cannon balls in the shot to be able to create the scene he envisioned.

Roger Fenton - 'Valley of the shadow of death'

Roger Fenton – ‘Valley of the shadow of death’

There are two types of staging within photography. 1. that the discoverer extracts something from the scenery 2. the inventor places something into the scenery. Both of these methods, however different still suggest construction of some sort. Staging has been shown in the work of Gabriel Orozco and John Baldessari with their use of objects to create a meaning through their construction. Perhaps more commonly than this however is the use of staging in regards to portrait photography. It is no secret that many images that we see in magazines are staged for a particular purpose. Two photographers who do this within their portraits are Hisaji Hara and Philip Lorca DiCorcia.

For our group project this week we have decided to do a staged shoot which are similar to the images above from these two artists. But in doing so we want to create a character which can portray a very particular narrative throughout the shoot. So we decided that we would base her character on the protagonist in the film ‘Double Indemnity.’ By staging this shoot within the Film Noir influence we will be able to include many different element to construct an ideal scene in which we can most effectively portray the storyline key characteristics of the subject. Throughout the week I will do more research into these themes and artists and I’m excited to see what we will produce.

Shore, R. (2014) Post-Photography: The Artist with a Camera. United Kingdom: Laurence King Publishing.

© Kirstie Wilkinson

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