Gesture and meaning part 1 – Early social documentary

This is where I live


I went out to the road I live on and showed the different avenues that lead off the road such as an alleyway or a small country park that people seem to have forgotten that it exists.

I used a Nikon Coolpix s570 and I did not allow myself to move the zoom at all when taking these pictures. I think that these pictures somehow don’t tell the truth about the area as this road can be so much busier than it was when I went out with the camera. I purposely chose not to go out on the busier times as that is when people are most likely to stop you and ask why you are taking pictures and they can get very threatening and may even hit me in the face even though I was doing no wrong or they weren’t actually in the picture at the time.

In another sense these pictures do show a truth to the area as I have not gone with creative angles or fussed about the lighting in the frame, something which I have not done since I started taking photography a lot more seriously.

Using a JPEG format was also very hard for me as I find that I love to have my pictures at the best quality and RAW is a higher quality than JPEG and it is only now I have used RAW for a long period of time that I realise how poor the quality with JPEG.


I felt more comfy photographing with my Nikon D4s than I did with the Coolpix camera due to the weight of the D4s I felt more balanced, it was also easier to shoot from the hip with a few of these images when I didn’t feel too comfortable to pick the camera up and take the picture that I wanted to take.

I chose to have some of the pictures in black and white as I felt the impact of the image was greater than when it was in colour due to many bright colours that could have been very distracting to look at.

These pictures have less of a truth in them than the point and click style with the Coolpix camera, however they do have a few pictures that just wouldn’t be capable than the Coolpix such as the car on the end of the road, this picture was taken as I was crossing the road and not being comfortable picking the camera up to my eye I decided to use a shooting from the hip technique and managed to get this picture, with the Coolpix this shot would not have happened because the Coolpix was too light and unpredictable than the D4s.

It is easy to create a false impression with photography as we can choose the different angles to be creative and as a photographer we do like to tell a story with these images such as the picture of the man in the mobility scooter, my story in that image was to show that Clacton is very much a retirement town and this is the most popular mode of transport in the whole town due to the average age of who are living here. This does sparks the question; should we believe everything that we see? In some way no we should not believe what we see in newspapers and magazines and the photographer would have had some choice in the angles and lighting etc, but to get the whole story it would be very hard to show, for example war, with a lot of free choice so it is very hard to pin point whether or not we should believe every picture that we see in the papers but then giving the photographer free reign with the story will mean that they will be able to connect with the story and create something incredibly heart breaking, such as the famous Vietnam war picture by Nick Ut of the little girl fleeing her village after an attack.

In a recent survey it was found that 56% of photo journalists have admitted that they stage their images, this really shocked me because when you look at the images in a newspaper you hope and think that they are the real deal, not staged so to find out that so many photographers are willing to stage their work begs the question of are photographers feeling the pressure of short deadlines and everyone having a camera on their mobile phones?


Half of photographers admit they stage images, global photojournalism survey finds


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