Talk:Social documentary photography

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WikiProject History of photography (Rated B-class)
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Learning[edit]

I am learning about photography and I think this page is awesome!!! SwissLawyer (talk) 19:23, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Incorrect Header Definition[edit]

"Social documentary photography or concerned photography is a socially critical genre of photography dedicated to sowing the life of underprivileged or disadvantaged people." sic.

Apart from the spelling mistake: 'showing' not 'sowing', the definition is not correct. This definition is far too narrow and should cover much more than underpriveged... people. It can include any part of society, including the upper and well off classes. It also includes environmental issues et al, wherever, whenever and whatever the effects on any social group. Eg: War, see Simon Norfolk's documentary work. The article needs someone to come up with a better definition that is also concise.

80.42.138.232 (talk) 11:12, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Social documentary photography has many definitions; it may be defined as the act of recording, with a camera, human beings in their natural (ie unposed) condition. Documentary photography is even broader and is often used as a differentiation form fine art photography. ConcernedPhotographer (talk) 21:34, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

partial view[edit]

This is a good beginning but is about one third of the history of documentary photography; one problem is with the history of activist photography during the Depression, which was enormously influential. It laos suffers from category confusions.

This selection points to some of the problems: "After 1945 the dedicated, collectively organized social documentary photography no longer was able to gain ground, except in England, where the tradition lingered on a bit longer. The vigorous anti-communism of the McCarthy era had anathematized the engaged, liberal social documentary photography with the verdict of evil. Great documentary photographers of the postwar era, such as W. Eugene Smith, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, William Klein or Mary Ellen Mark were either lone fighters or were forced to work as story-suppliers for the large illustrated magazines (especially Life). "

what have we learned about this: "the dedicated, collectively organized social documentary photography"?

It also refers to photojournalists as somehow "forced to work as story-suppliers." That IS what photojournalists do. Arbus and Klein and to some extent Mark do not fit the model, and there is some problem with them as well, as Arbus shows up as not in fact arguing for social change. ("lone fighters" is an unfortunate phrase.)

It also leaves out the war photographers, including all of Magnum. It leaves out most photography elsewhere in the world, except for a few select examples. It leaves out the Workers Film and Photo Leagues. It mentions but fails to discuss anthropology and proto-anthropology/ethnography; in general more difficult categories are consigned to the section "Border areas and related genres". Most importantly, except slightly in that very section, it fails to distinguish street photography from social documentary.

It fails completely to take account of the serious critiques of documentary approaches over the past thirty-forty odd years.

There are many other quibbles, especially when considering the bald effort to promote a select few of the photographers who fit this rightly important category. Actio (talk) 22:04, 25 August 2014 (UTC)