better late than never…

Posted in MFA  by nlecorgne

First and foremost, I want to apologize for being so remiss in posting the past couple of weeks. As you all know life in my small part of the world is unpredictable and wrought with chaos for the time being. I hope to make things up by double posting the next couple of weeks. But then again you know what they say about the best laid plans…

This week I have begun  looking for more photographers who have done work on caring for an aging parent. I’m sure there is a lot of work out there, as this is an issue that is quite prevalent in today’s society. However, your typical google search doesn’t render prolific results, and I am having trouble finding other photographers that are using the camera to look at their own experience with caring for an aging relative.

One thing that I did happen upon was a series of multimedia pieces by photojournalist, Ed Kashi, and his wife, Julie Winokur, who is a filmmaker. They documented their experiences caring for Julie’s father – who had dementia – in their home while raising their two children.

The pieces (“Living with Herbie” and “The Sandwich Generation”) can be found on the VII Photo website, and can be viewed through the following direct links:

Living With Herbie

The Sandwich Generation

I looked at these pieces in comparison to Phil Toledano’s work (www.dayswithmyfather.com) and had a number of thoughts regarding the differences outside of the obvious choices of mediums – “straight” photography vs. multimedia. It is the styles in which they were shot, and my feelings about those styles that interests me most. As a photographer interested in documentary, street and journalistic photography, I am more drawn to the subject matter and styling of Ed Kashi’s primary body of work. While I greatly appreciate Toledano’s work both technically and conceptually I am not moved or inspired in the same way as I am with Kashi’s work, say for a National Geographic article on Arab Christians. However, in the case of the work they both did on the process of caring for a relative with dementia, I was completely taken by the emotional expression of Toledano’s work. Kashi and his wife made an excellent multimedia documentary that stayed true to his journalistic roots. It is informative and gives the viewer a brief, but straightforward, look at the realities of daily life as it is while caring for someone with dementia. Toledano, on the other hand, takes the viewer inside what it feels like to love someone suffering from the disease by way of visual poetry.

My point in contrasting these two approaches is not to say that one is better than the other. Of course, I find it interesting that I prefer Toledano’s perspective on this subject, but Kashi’s main body of work. However, even more intriguing is that I find myself questioning my own definitions regarding the nature of documentary photography.  Somehow the limits as to the whats, wheres, whys and hows of documentary have just expanded, to include a much more conceptual definition of the term. Suddenly my mind no longer requires a strict a linear narrative to call something documentary. Suddenly documentary has reached into the realm of poetry, drawing the viewer into the emotional experience, rather than the literal interpretation of a story.

3 Responses to “better late than never…”

  1. Jarrett Says:

    Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed when I show work or comment on another persons. I often feel like there is a never ending comparison of more famous or well know artist’s who may be working, or might have already produced a body of work in the realm we are entertaining regarding a given project. I always worry that I might be overly influenced by seeing a given work or photograph from someone else…that I won’t be able to think for myself in some aspect…

    While I agree that it is important to look at another artist’s work for reference, and to know what’s out there, I can’t help but write out a tiny little list for how I should, could, or may approach my own subject; from mood, to angles, to actions. Then I might go and see what I am missing…

    It’s good exercise and occasionally builds confidence in ethic and work…

  2. Samantha Wilson Says:

    When I saw ur work I thought it was breath-taking, your tight shots of your grandmother’s feet where great and then the lighting was fa nominal. I can appreciate a fellow photojournalist showing another side of a life. Keep pursing the images and you will execute your final project “perfectly.” You also speak very well during class and I envy that (thats just our our little secret) lol. Samantha

  3. holly schumacher Says:

    I think that what Sam and Jarrett said is perfect. i have nothing to add. keep going, your work this quarter is outstanding!