Documentary LO1 Whitney Graham Photographer

Photographer - Hashem el Madani

This image is part of a series taken between 1948 and 1982 by Lebanese commercial photographer Hashem El Madani. In this image we see two sisters in the courtyard of their school in Saida, Lebanon (Aisha Om el Mo’minin School for Girls). They are both posed identically with their elbows resting on the long table that is topped with a table cloth. A noticeable difference, and only difference, in their stance is the sister who appears to be the youngest has a clenched fist while the others is placed flat out. The table is positioned just off of the centre the image with a sister on either side. The sisters are dressed identical and are both gazing directly into the lens with blank, expressionless faces. The surroundings of the courtyard looks very basic as we can see behind them outside taps which could possibly be used for washing feet. The sparse background leads to a large amount of negative space in this image.

Due to the image being developed in 1948, no editing would have been done to it. The fact that this image is in black and white is due to the fact that it was printed on gelatin silver paper.

The first thing that drew my attention to this image was on first glance it appeared reminiscent to the twins from Stephen King's, The Shining. After a closer look I was intrigued by their deadpan stares. It made me very interested about their life at this school and evoked an unsettling emotion in me. I am curious if this was the intention of Madani for his portraits.

This image is one of 117 collected by Tate International Council of Hasem El Madani work in Lebonan during this time.

Cancer Connections by Photographer Aaron Vincent Elkaim

This very moving image by Aaron Vincent Elkaim was part of the Cancer Connections documentary for Photo Sensitive. This multi award winning exhibition was viewed by more that 300,000 people in Canada. In this image we see a young woman, Erin, simply applying her eyeliner as she looks into a mirror. She is recognisable instantly as a cancer sufferer so viewers know a bit of her story.

The composition is what interests me most about this image. The camera is positioned over her right shoulder so we are seeing almost exactly how her reflection appears to her. A shallow depth of field is used so it is only the reflection of her face that is clearly in focus, really letting the viewers know what the focal point is. In post processing the image has been converted into black and white. I feel that this gives much more depth as the message is not muddied by distracting colour.

This is truly evocative to anyone who looks at this, it is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. What is a simple day to day task for most woman here takes on a completely different meaning and challenge. It has a powerful context for such a minimal amount of information in the image.

I feel that the photographer has excelled at capturing an image that highlights the gravity of cancer on the sufferer as we are seeing her looking at herself and seeing back the direct effects of her illness. Yet through all of this, she is still strong enough to hold on to a part of herself by doing something as simple as putting on some eyeliner.

Family documentary by Kirsten Lewis

This candid image is taken by American photographer Kirsten Lewis. In the shot we see a mother holding her son on her hip while they both brush their teeth. Her son looks to be no more than a year old. The mother is wearing a baggy dark t shirt and her hair is up in a messy bun which suggests that this is in the morning and are brushing once they have woken up. They are standing in front of a mirror over a sink. The sink is cluttered suggesting a hectic family life. On the sink there is a framed picture of the son and in the reflection we see a canvas of his on the wall also, this gives the impression of very loving and proud parents.

The composition and use of depth of field is what makes this an interesting and compelling image. The reflection of the mother and son in the mirror is what is in focus while they are in the third out of focus. This draws us into the image from them to their reflection

As the boy is so young he would not be brushing his own teeth, the small amount that he will have. Here we see a very important point in the boys development. He is holding an adult style toothbrush and getting used to the idea of brushing his teeth. He is mimicking his mother and holding it up to his mouth in the way that she does, even with the bristles rubbing against his low lip. This candid image showcasing his personal development and curisoty is something that would be completely missed had it not been captured.

I feel that this is a very moving image as the mother is getting to see things that she may otherwise miss as she goes about her busy life. She will be able to cherish this image of such a mundane task of brushing teeth together when her son is far to big to rest on her hip.

The Widows of Varanasi by Andrea Bruce

Andrea Bruce is a documentary photographer who's main body of work focuses on the lives of those living after war. She is a staff photographer for The Washington Post through which her main focus is Irag. These images go into her column "Unseen Iraq".

In this candid image we see two woman sitting on steps. They are sitting quite far apart. The woman sitting in the right third is looking out to the right while the other woman is facing the camera but has her eyes closed. They are both dressed similarly to each other with material wrapped around them and bare feet. They both have a bowl sitting on the ground next to them and there is a bottle of water behind each of them, the one to the left is looking a bit worse for wear implying it used frequently. The setting around them looks like an old building with areas of the walls and steps beginning to crumble away.

This is part of a series documenting the life of the widows of Varanasi. After the death of their husbands they are left homeless or living in charity homes in the holy Hindu city. According to their tradition once their husbands have passed their lives become devoid of meaning. The expressions on both of their faces is what makes this image so moving. The woman on the left looks oddly at peace with her fate, her eyes are resting closed and her body is very still. She is sitting very comfortably in the "third world squat" which further reinforces her background. She has a bag at her feet which makes you curious if this is a bag full of all her belongings. The second woman has a pained expression on her face as she gazes off into the distance. She is sitting a bit more relaxed with her legs spread out and reaching down to scratch her foot.

The image has been changed in post processing to black and white but looks like little other editing has been done. The black and white style of the image gives it a deeper context as we are not distracting by the surrounding colours and highlights the worn appearance of the women.

Healthcare & Medical by Viviane Moos

Viviane Moos is an award winning photojournalist and documentary photographer who travels the world over. Her ability to speak 6 languages allows her to develop connections with her subjects all over the globe.

This image was taken in Brazil at a hospital that teaches new mothers correct breast feeding techniques. We see two new mothers and a nurse aiding them. They are sitting on a long stone bench with potted plants behind them. The wall has white tiles which gives it a clinical feel and reinforces that they are in a hospital however the hospital is drastically different from what we would find in the UK. All the woman are dressed in shorts.

The baby on the right looks almost brand new, the mother has managed to get her baby to latch on successfully and we can see the elation on her face at this success. However, the baby with the next new mother looks to be at least a couple months old and the mother is needing a helping hand to get her baby to latch on. Her facial expression is more serious and concentrating on the baby. This candid shot highlights the different experiences women face with the challenge of breast feeding.

This is an evocative image in so many different ways depending on who's looking at it. Many woman may look at this and identify with the woman on the right, feeling a rush of pride as they reminisce over their happy experience bonding with their baby through breast feeding. Other mothers might look at the mother on the left and remember their struggle and the pain of not achieving what their body was built to do. However, it may have a positive influence on new or expecting mothers. Showing them that asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of and it doesn't just happen as easy as it may sometimes appear.

Prayers in a Mosque by Viviane Moos

In this image, again by Viviane Moos, we see two woman praying in a mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They both are wearing a khimar, a traditional muslim headscarf, one in white the other in a pale lilac. The mosque is completely empty except from the woman and their prayer mats. They have positioned themselves right up next to the wall by an open window. I find this interesting as it suggests that they are too warm yet unable to remove their traditional muslin dress to cool down. This hints at a discomfort they face everyday to keep in with the custom of their religion .

Compositionally this image is very interesting as the row of identical windows work as a leading line going from the right corner to the left third. This takes us up to the ladies praying in the centre of the image. The reflection from the windows on the hard floor of the mosque create a more interesting element to this image and make it more aesthetically appealing. Mostly so the window in the left third as we can see strong reflections of the blue and green window pane.

The Nightmare of Assassination by Bill Eppridge

From the book Photojournalism- Life Library of photography. Page 30.

Bill Eddpridge was a photojournalist from America working for Life magazine. This image of Robert F. Kennedy was his most well known piece of work which was taken in June 1968. This image documents a massive moment in American history, the second Kennedy brother to be assasinated in less than five years.

In this image we see the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy lying on a kitchen floor in the Ambassador Hotel. He has just been shot three times, one shot to the head. He is lying in a pool of his own blood with one hand extended out to the side. We see him in his suit as he had just finished addressing the public to thank them for their resent support in the California primary election which he won. His head is being supported and raised by a busboy who worked in the hotel, he was the last person he shock hands with before the shooting began. The bus boy is dressed in his kitchen uniform which is instantly recognisable. We can see in the background that he is still surrounded by the crowd.

The contrast is what is the most moving about this image. We see Kennedy in the most vulnerable position anyone could image to be in. He is being comforted by someone who moments before felt lucky to be shaking his hand and excited to meet him. Kennedy is dressed very formally in his shirt and tie, highlighting to anyone looking at this image with no information about it that he is a very important and wealthy person. The busboy uniform of his comforter shows someone from the opposite side of the spectrum. This sends home the message that these trival differences are irrelivant in such dire circumstances.

60 Years of Photojournalism, page 84

This image is by photographer Filp Schulke.

In the foreground of this image we see a couple in mourning at the Berlin Wall, they are standing on the West side of the wall looking over to the East. The man, who is dressed all in black, has his arm around the woman who is dressed in a light coloured jumper and a darker navy skirt. She is nuzzling her head into his neck for comfort. They are standing beneath a large wooden cross that appears to have barbed wire hanging on it in a style thats reminiscent of a wreath. In the foreground the message "Those who attack the GDR will be destroyed" has been threateningly painted on the side of an East Berlin building. In the background we see

Compositionally this image is interesting as the couple is positioned in the right third and the woman's head is in line with the large cross. They work as a leading line to the message on the wall which reinforces the source of the couples misery.

Its very moving to see the misery from the free side of the wall. The image has been taken in black and white which is due to the time period and style of camera he would have had. The black and white feature evokes nostalgia in the viewer.

National Geographic, page 32

Photographer Francis Latreille

This image is from the May 2009 National Geographic, it is one of the images for their main feature regarding the article "Ice Baby" written by Tom Muller and photographed by Francis Latreille.

We see two men carrying a wooden crate carrying the ancient carcass. The man at the front is dressed in a red anorack and blue jeans. He wears clear gloves on his hands, the medical style of the glove suggests he isn't wearing it for warmth but rather for handling the carcass. The man at the back is dressed in a cream anorack, blue jeans and a fur black hat. He also wears the gloves for moving the animal. The negative space around them is all white from the snow. We can see that they are in an area with heavy snow fall as there is an area that has been raised behind them.

The main subject is taking up the majority of the image with each part of it in every third. The photographer has held his camera up above to gain an interesting perspective of the men and be able to capture as much of the elephant as possible.

National Geographic, page 14

This image was taken by photographer Gretchen Gann who is from Austin, Texas who was voted audience favourite by

In this image was see five very young children watching the smoke erupting from the Concepcion volcano on the Nicaraguan island. The children are positioned in the right third of the image in the foreground. We see that they have positioned chairs so that they can sit and watch this happen. Three of the five are sitting on the chairs while the other two appear to be trying to get a better look by standing on the stools. Surrounding them are two old, run down buildings. They have brick walls and tin roofs, these buildings are likely the homes of the children as there are washing lines connected to them. In the foreground there are a selection of trees, all different shades of green, leading to the volcano itself.

One thing that is sticking to me about this photograph is that the children have decided to arrange seats to watch this natural event occur. It makes me wonder if children in the western world would be interested in watching this or too consumed by their electronic consoles.

I would speculate that the photographer set up her camera with a wide angle lens and using a tripod to limit the amount of shake.

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