(Lecture 4) The Frozen Moment Constructed and Captured

(Mike Joslin)

In the lecture theatre, Mike presented a lengthy and educational narrative of photography being a method of story-telling. How photography can capture and freeze a single moment to be overlooked over and over again. Within this lecture Mike introduced us to numerous photographs depicting different scenes frozen in action, he also said “anything can be used to freeze a moment- paint, photography”.

The ‘fly on the wall’ method approach to photography creates a certain feel to an image of a quick shot fire with a camera.

Other points/notes from lecture:

  • frozen action | changed our perception
  • made us pick apart an image to tell the story | realisation
  • we read the frames that are in it
  • we fill the frames with our own minds/perception

From this lecture we were given a task:

Choose an image that attempts to freeze time as part of a narrative and discuss

  • one A3 sheet research
  • on dropbox/blog
  • the story
  • what the artist is trying to portray
  • what has been stated and what hasn’t been

image ref:http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/may/26/photography-larry-clark-best-shot

‘My best shot’ [1971]

Larry Clark

This striking and controversial photograph by Larry Clark depicts a man appearing to be in pain, his half naked body covered by blood stained bedsheets, a woman with her head in her arms and a small hand-gun beside them both.

“He shot himself by accident. He was fine – it was just a flesh wound, and it meant he got a lot of good drugs”

At first glance of studying this photograph to analyse it, the scenario looks quite seedy as its set in a bedroom, in particular the man laid in bed, appearing half naked, covered by bedsheets, the woman in front of him, her head in her hands. Perhaps she’s guilty or didn’t expect this to happen. His body posture gives the impression of pain but also lack of control, he doesn’t look to be ‘sober’.  Her face is covered by her hands, her features seemed to have been absorbed by her mane of dark hair, making her anonymous.

Taken in 1971 when consumed by drugs, Larry Clark may not have been in full control of himself, but managed to compose his camera and document this illicit scene.

Interview explanation:

I took this in 1971. It was such a long time ago, like a different lifetime. The man’s name was Gene Knight. He was an old friend – I’d known him for most of my life. We were all taking drugs, and he had this little pistol in his pocket. He reached in there to get it and shot himself in the leg. It was an accident.

I stood in the corner, taking pictures. When something like this happens, you have to turn pro and just do your job. The girl looked up at me and said something like: “You’re the coldest motherfucker I ever met.” Like I’m supposed to take the bullet out of his leg. It was a very strange place to be: it was as if I were one of the people in the photograph, only I had a camera. I can split myself in two and have some distance.

He was fine in the end, it was just a little flesh wound. But we carried him around to a couple of doctors and got prescriptions for some kind of synthetic morphine you could only get for cancer and gunshot wounds. So shooting himself actually meant he got a lot of good drugs.

I had started photographing my friends in 1962, but with no idea of ever doing a book at all. I was just practising. Really, I wanted to make a film, but it was impossible to do it on my own. So in 1970 I thought about finishing up a book, and I laid it all out with the pictures I’d already taken. I was determined to get in everything that I’d seen over the years, so I went back to live in Tulsa, Oklahoma (I’d been living in New York). I knew what photographs I needed to finish the book because I knew the Tulsa life so well.

I knew when I went back that certain things would happen, including violence. I didn’t know when those things would happen, or where they would happen, but I was ready for them. I was ready for anything


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