We are all actors
Another artist I've looked at closely and can find inspirational although I haven''t really worked in a similar way is Jeff Wall but I'm looking at producing work in a similar way.
In his interview he talks about being asked about the notion of staging within his photographs.
" A gentleman came and asked about the staging of the people in the photograph,, and Jeff very politely commented " I don't stage, I work with people." ' -Thierry de Duve ( quoting Jeff Wall)
I don’t make sets, I wanna be a bit of a sticky about this vocabulary for a reason phtoography is still being id d as an art form i dont believe we really do know it as well as we know painting,… we’ve had painting for a thousand years and its part of our tradition. - Jeff Wall 08:30
The replica that becomes a document that vanishes into the picture to me its a dialectic, lets say a movement inside of our experience, our aesthetic experience... art is made essential to be an experience it's an experiential thing .... and it's also a judgement of quality. Jeff W
During that interview linked above Jeff Wall talks about his strong objection to his work being called fake or false. To paraphrase in very blunt terms Wall walks us through our cultural understanding of 'reportage' work. Which loosely defined is generally accepted as work made with no interaction or collaboration ( even with the most minimal of interaction this is still achievable in my opinion as I've mentioned previously). I also agree with Wall's words on the viewers job in interpreting the image. Thierry de Duve quotes Wall
The only narrative element in the picture is supplied by the viewer not the director or screenwriter. 35: 28
I really enjoy how Wall employs his relationship with cinema and how we decode images and motion with this sense of narrartive and search for meaning. The idea that the viewer brings their realty to the image. It is subjective albet Wall embracing that but also defending it as documentary and not fake is something I can support. As he mentions he is different to film directors and or screen writers in the sense he using people and their behaviour even if they are acting, by getting non trained actors to do tasks over and over and stripping away the performance the left over results are a document of the behaviour.
This is enough for me to abandon any defence of a photograph being ‘really real’. The term itself ‘really real’ means different things to different people. For example a photograph of a book could prove the existence of a book to a viewer and although the cover could resemble a book they own the pages could be empty in the photographed version. It’s not proof of anything, our problem comes becuase we’ve culturally grown and evolved over the lifetime of photography.
It’s inventors and creators had intentions using it for ‘scientific recording’ and trying to do objectively and the problem with the audience behind with photography’s perculiialr quality to render the world with such life like appearance unlike any other medium that came before it. How could something that looks so real not be true? Fast forward to today and the amount of digital imagery around let alone the amount of digital manipulation it’s hard to decipher what is truthful ( although photographs cannot be completely truthful because of the flawed nature in which a photograph has to be made ( with a human at some point of the process) and what is not.
Photographs cannot be completely truthful and thats ok to me. It’s a medium of expression, it can have elements of truthfulness but cannot be an objective record. I use it as a record of my opinion and thoughts both inwardly and self reflective and outwardly. In both cases they are my opinions and ways in which I look at the world with parts of it out of my control and other aspects within my control. Objectivity in a photograph is impossible.