Tackling controversial issues

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Efergoh, Mar 9, 2007.

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  1. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    The adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is often true, and is more often an understatement. I'm kicking around ideas for my final project for this semester, and one of my ideas has to do with various controversial subjects.

    As I've mentioned before in other threads, I've done a bit of writing and public speaking on certain issues for which I hold very politically incorrect views. I'm considering putting some of these views into photographs. I'm positive that I will loose popularity points among a few who will shout me down and call me everything short of human. But I also know that there are quite a few who share these views.

    Right or wrong, these opinions are mine, and have been assumed only after experience and evaluation has shown me the way. These photos that I have in mind will move some to tears, some to anger, and may even inspire hatred.

    An example of what I have in mind is a diptic. Scene one will be a woman lying on her back wearing a skirt with her panties down past her knees with her shirt torn clutching a cell phone with an electrical cord around her neck. Standing over her, only visible from the waist down will be a male figure holding a knife in one hand. Scene two will be the male figure lying on his back bleeding from several holes in his chest still holding the knife in his hand his face covered with a ski mask. Standing over the male figure will be the female subject from scene one only visible from the waist down with a pistol in one hand with the slide locked to the rear and smoke rolling from the barrel.

    I'm not afraid of taking on touchy issues, and this one is one of the more tame ideas that I have (it is a scary place inside my head). I'm just wondering if perhaps I might be taking it too far for the sheeple in general to grasp.
     
  2. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    IMO, these are a little obvious and heavy-handed.
     
  3. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow ... first of all, to create the images you have in mind will be a tough task, not easy at all in terms of composition and .. light!
    You have to make sure that they come across serious and not ridiculous/set up. They have to look real to carry your messages.

    I guess seeing this might not be for the faint hearted or those who do not want their minds disturbed, so such photographs on this forum should come with a warning in the thread's heading.

    I do think this could be art, art with a strong message, maybe even political .. but that does not mean it cannot be art.

    However, depending on the outcome, how graphic it is, it will be debatable if it is suitable for public display.
    As an example:
    I have seen training clips for first aid on the battlefield, which were filmed in real combat in the Falkland war. And I have to say I am glad those are not available on public display anywhere since it might cause serious mental disturbance with some people, and certainly with youngsters.
    They serve a good purpose when used educational for military personnel, but they are just too graphic and real for the general public.

    So if you want to reach a broad audience, then be careful it does not get too graphic (without looking fake)
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree the outcome might very easily give that impression.

    It would be better maybe to get the message into one single image, not like a cartoon of 2 or 3.
     
  5. TomHuck-wa

    TomHuck-wa TPF Noob!

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    I say go for it. Part of whats wrong with the world is that people are far too complacent. They need to have their minds disturbed. We have become a world of citizens with our heads in the sand. "IF I DONT SEE IT IT DOESNT HAPPEN". There are no violent acts, there is no terrorism, there is no tragedy in my world if I dont see it.
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    But within limits. (not saying here that Efergoh would necessarily stretch the limits too far, it really depends on the outcome)

    Well, maybe this is different in the US? But most places where I live are rather flooded with information on violence and misery, sometimes rather graphic. I have the feeling that sometimes it is this overload of graphical information which makes people ignore things ...
     
  7. TomHuck-wa

    TomHuck-wa TPF Noob!

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    You may have a point there Alex B. Its just that I know dozens of people that will not watch the daily news because it upsets them, as well it should. However they will not get involved and write to a congressman or senator, or make any move to help remedy the situation. Most of them wont even take the time to vote. This is a sad state of affairs, and the main reason behind our countries downhill slide. (my opinion of it)
     
  8. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    Hmm... as far as capturing images are concerned, I don't think that there is a problem in taking controversial pictures.

    However, the intended scene you have planned out doesn't do anything for me, even assuming they come out great.

    For one, the first picture is a bit cliche'd, but even I can deal with that. Personally I would do a close up of the knife, dark, and the girl exposed but soft focused in the background. But when you add the second picture, of the girl's revenge, it borders on cheesy. Sure I get the idea of revenge and just desserts, but I think it's overdone here.

    I personally don't see the message, social or political? WHat is it? Rapists deserve to die? Hardly a message...

    Perhaps a series of pictures that depicts a guy robbing someone blind, only because he has to feed his sick children has a message, Or a reverse time series that shows a guy getting murdered, but the photos go back in time and reveal that the murdered man is actually the killer of the other guy's wife... that has something to it.

    Your other picture, of the soldier who is commiting suicide has a message.

    To me, this idea, while not very offensive in itself, becomes offensive with it's lack of motive and comes off as an amatuer moviemakers horror movie scene.

    But that's my 2 cents.

    EDIT: After reading them again I can't help but think of Shock Jock's who do nothing but create controversial shows for the sake of causing a stir. I don't think that is your INTENTION here, but I think it definetly comes off that way!!! Ask yourself this. Does your series of photographs help bring to light a problem or crisis you want to help? Would a victim of rape look at these images and feel that you were somehow helping?
     
  9. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

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    Efergoh, it sounds like your ideas could make compelling and thought-provoking images. I agree that such serious issues could come off as as cartoonish if not done well, but it's up you to make the piece reflect your intent.

    If your work comes from somewhere scary inside you, as you say, I think your sincerity will be communicated in your images. Likewise, if you're just trying to get a reaction (I'm not saying that you are, but just to argue the point) it will probably come off as obvious and heavy handed. The only way to know if people in general will understand it is if you give them the chance to.

    And I like the way you described the diptych. It sounds a bit like a graphic novel, but those can be quite dark. (Sin City, anyone?)
     
  10. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Encouraging vigilante justice isn't remedying any situation, it just makes society more chaotic.
     
  11. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    ...and this is where I tend to go off track and my points are missed.

    This isn't about revenge. It is about prevention.
    For the photos I described, the areas I want to have as the biggest players are not the victim or the criminal, but rather the cell phone and the pistol.

    It isn't about vigilante justice (which I do think has a place in the world - if the powers that be refuse to act, society has a right and obligation to do so), it is about empowering women. It is about giving women food for thought about their own safety.

    In the past, I have taught self defense and firearm safety classes. more than 2/3 of my clientel were women.
     
  12. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Your points aren't missed.

    I just think they aren't good and this discussion is drifting off into a discussion of political ideas under the guise of talking about your intended images.
     
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