Photography: The Key Concepts by David Bate

Learning points from the book: Photography: The Key Concepts, David Bate, Bloomsbury Academics, 2009
Chapter 3
p 45 Documentary aimed to show, in an informal way, the everyday lives of ordinary people to other ordinary people.
ln this respect, the modern notion of documentary is a media product of the twentieth century.
p 47 Editorial control  is a key issue and the conflict between photographer and editor over photographic meaning remains highly relevant for documentary photographers today.
p 50 As an active political campaigner, Hine promoted photography as a tool of social criticism
p 53 Objective and subjective approaches to documentary photography. Objective-neutral camera view:Subjective-capturing a fleeting instant.
The mode of ‘objective’ photograph was already an established convention , long before reportage and documentary were coined as the general terms for the photographic expression of a  social interest 1 ph. century Dutch ‘descriptive’ paintings exemplify the objective tendency too).
p 56 Cartier Bresson’s famous idea of the ‘decisive moment ‘fuses a notion of instantaneity in photography with an older concept from art history :story-telling with a single picture.
p 58 To capture, not reality but the dramatic instant that will come to signify it. Staging refers to the act of creating a scene. Not a critical description.
p 65 The making of documentary work not only involves shooting pictures, but also the process of selecting(editing)pictures from those taken to make a body of work. This may include cropping, use of captions and titles, establishing the overall context for the work.
The motivation for documentary photography is to ‘creatively inform’ an audience about another part of  the population, whose life and experience  may be unfamiliar to them. The aim of the work may be to criticise, celebrate, support or attempt to reform the situation they describe.
The tactics adopted by photographers range between tripod-based views and hand-held scenes (tableaux), which create distinct viewer positions usually perceived as either an objective or subjective ‘witness’ position.