After a short explanation of what constitutes ‘objective photography’ we are asked to produce 4 images as though they were visual evidence. The session was to be of me reading the student notes and as the notes suggested the 4 photos should reflect (1) me (2) reading (3) the notes in (4) this location.
The images have to lack a sense of aesthetic. In a sense they are to look artless, as though the camera was pointed at the evidence and the shutter pressed with little or no concern beyond the technicalities to record a correctly exposed and focused still image.
The set I have produced do exactly that and they look objective, responding directly to the brief in the student notes. But when I consider the lengths to which I went I to produce these images I am left questioning the notion of objectivity or at least casting doubt on my claim towards it.
For example: I chose a location that appears rather utilitarian and functional, it’s blandness reinforcing the lack of aesthetic. Being indoors I needed some artificial light and so chose a direct undiffused flash to give a bright overall light common to all the images. A 35mm lens was chosen, as the room was fairly small and a narrow f-stop was used in order to capture a broad depth of field. The camera was mounted on a tripod and the same distance (and camera height) from the subject area was maintained for 3 of the 4 images. This too was a conscious decision as I felt it would reinforce the sense of objectivity. In the vertical image of me I stand upright making no attempt to ‘pose’.
Objectivity in this way, the sense that we are recording evidence, implies no great thought was applied to the photographic process but as I’ve just demonstrated this need not be the case. Perhaps what I’ve created are some ambiguous images that while falling within a definition of objective are the result of a creative process.