Reflection: PHO702: Week 5. Gazing at Photographs

Published on the 1st March 2020

The nature of my own photographic gaze for this project at this moment in time I am still trying to work out with this project, am I an outside viewer of a scene that is being acted out in front of me by the subject whilst I watch from behind the viewfinder, is this slight voyeurism? Or is my graze more from a more of a subjective and sensitive view, from my subjects allowing me into this very personal and closed away world they live within.

As Sontag mentions in ‘On Photography’

“To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.

(Sontag, p121)

I feel that my work could be seen this way by the viewer if the context is not strongly brought across. This being to my subject matter and how it could be seen as I am taking advantage of someone in a difficult situation. This could be seen as taboo, I need to make the context of the project as strong as the image if not stronger.

I have started to move away from letting my subjects have free rein on the shoots and take more control and direct my subject more when shooting. Asking them to stop when they are in certain positions, the shot still looks natural as I intend and give me more control over what the final image will look like.

The direction of my subjects there are a few things I need to be aware of

  • Objects on walls
  • Space around subject
  • Clutter within the room
  • location of room lights
  • position of subject

By addressing the above areas it will make the images stronger and the subject would be most prominent in the frame.

I have introduced text to my imagery to try and bring the context of the project across more in the imagery.

I am mainly working with tungsten settings and film at this moment. I am unsure if the lighting works with my images as I am trying to make the set have a connection between them. maybe I have to bring actual lights instead of working with natural light to get the balance between the natural and tungsten lighting. I could possibly test high powered tungsten light bulbs, as I don’t really want to be dragging lights into subjects houses/flats

(fig 1)

I had planned to blend the text into the image to make the image still more prominent than the text. The text is not strong enough in the image and is a little lost. I will need to look into the layout of the text and image more over the coming weeks. The narrative of the subject matter does not come through that strongly within the imagery as of yet. I feel with the correct text layout this will be much stronger.


Sontag, S, 1933-2004. On Photography. New York :Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977.

(fig 1) Hopes, J, 2020, Drew, Uploaded by author