Photography – A Beginner’s Guide –Conceptual Photography [Barbara Kruger] – An article by Goff James

Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my photography Beginner’s Guide to Photography.

This week I will be talking a look at Conceptual Photography and looking at an image by Barbara Kruger.

As I have stated in previous articles one can learn so much about photography by looking at; and, talking about other photographers’ work.

Conceptual Photography may be defined as;

  • a means to stage a false reality, or capture an idea.

  • being the idea (or concept) behind a work is more important than the finished art object.

  • concerning theconcept of a photo, its message whether it be political, social commentary or an emotional outcry,
  • as possessingsome level of abstraction,
  • as not being an explicit example of a concept, but a general expression of an idea.

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 17.58.20
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Your body is a battleground)

The image addresses media and politics in their native tongue: tabloid, sensational, authoritative, and direct.

The words and image merge the commercial and art worlds; their critical resonance eviscerates cultural hierarchies — everyone and everything is for sale.

This image is simultaneously art and protest. Though its origin is tied to a specific moment, the power of the work lies in the timelessness of its declaration.

The composition with its red, black and white palette demands ones immediate attention which is enhanced with its shallow depth of field and closely cropped framing.

The woman’s face, disembodied, split along a vertical axis in positive and negative exposures, and obscured by text, marks a stark divide.

The image is explosive possessing both political and social implications.

This tension is emphasised by the woman’s strong silent staring facial expression and the direct manner in which she stares straight ahead out from the print, addressing the viewer frankly and provocatively through both her gaze and the words emblazoned across her face.

I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

Your photographs are your world.

You can do what you like. 

Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

 Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

Happy Photography. 

Thank you for your visit.

Art Photography Poetry

Reference List