Category Archives: Photography and narrative

The heron.

« Deaf Community ». An expression that we aren’t used to hear, and yet the hearing-impaired people are united. They have developped a whole life between them : news, magazines, store, people … We have two example of thèse plateform :

The editor of makes the difference between deaf culture, which is elitist and excludes not born deaf people, and deaf community, which includes hearing families, friends, supporters, and advocates.

So, as The Dictionnary says, a community is :

–       a group of people that shared goals, beliefs, experiences, or simply life in proximity,

–       a group of people having cultural, religious, ethnic or other carateristics in common,

–       a group viewed as forming a distinct segment of society.

The community often groups together the people in minority in the society, like the ones who are considered as disabled. Deaf people, for example.

A community is « a segment of society ». So, what is a society ?

–       The totality of social relationships among humans,

–       The institutions and culture of a distinct self-perpetuating group. (The Dictionnary).

But even if the British Sign Language (BSL) is recognized as an official British language since 2003, it still doesn’t have any legal protection. Deaf people do not have a full access to vital services life éducation, health and employement.

They take part in the society process, paying taxes for example, but they do not belong in it.

Why ? Why are they isolated ? Why a such gap ?

« Deaf women and Girl » choose to show deaf women’s life through a video project. They want to tell their story about the violence and abuses facing deaf women, in Toronto.

The project.

In the 90’s, the De’VIA, a group of 8 deaf artists, explores and experiments the deafness through their Works. Their movement emergerd after the deaf festival of Gallaudet University (USA), in 1989. 6000 deaf people met there, to celebrate deaf culture. All the art of thèse artists was grouped in a book : « The Deaf Way ».

This is few of them :

–       Chuck baird, 

–       Susan Dupor, 

–       Paul Johnston,

–       Ann Silver, 

–       Betty G. Miller, 

–       Ethan Sinnott, 

–       Orkid Sassouni, 

–       Paul Setzer, 

–       …

A lot of work concerning the deaf issue is without sounds, but the viewers can hear the noises around them. So, in this project, « The Heron », the concerned persons are the hearing-impaired : people who can hear some words, or in a certain situation.

When brain understands only few words, it tries to make connections between them, and to recreates a story which seems right. But most of time, the true story is really different or even the opposite. In that case, the misunderstood can be important and the hearing-impaired can be through into confusion and completely excludes.

With this video, I want to make the viewer feel the impotence and the boredom. It’s easier to give up and isolate itself when each conversation is a battle.


Tale of “The Heron”, by Jean de La Fontaine, translate in English by Robert Thomson:

One day went strutting on the river’s banks,
The long-necked heron–long beak and spindle-shanks.
The stream was clear as on the finest days,
While Mother Carp a thousand gambols plays
With Father Pike, attracted by the rays.
They came so near, ’twas just as heron might please,
He could have gulped them up with ease ;
But he thought fit to stroll along,
Until his appetite got strong.
He lived by rule, had stated hours for food.
His stomach came, and now, with greedy eyes,
The bird approached the border of the flood—
Saw tenches from their low abode arise.
That dish displeased him ; with disdainful air
He lounged along to look for better fare,
Something like Horace’s disdainful rat.
“ Tenches !” he cried, “” a heron stoop to that !
Whom do they take me for, or what ?”
Tenches rejected, gudgeons hailed him next‑
“A heron dine on gudgeons ! ” cried he, vexed ;
“ Open for these my beak !
I’d rather fast a week.”
At last he oped it for a homelier dish,
When he no longer saw a single fish ;
Hunger came fast, and glad was he that day
To feast on snails that could not run away.


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“Using only found images (ie images from family albums and local library archives, not published in magazines) research and construct a photo-artefact that weaves a narrative linking the people depicted within your the images (the archive population).”



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David Campbell Talk

Professor David Campbell was at the Coventry University on november 17th.

A sum-up of his talk can be found here.

What do I think ?

” What is the story you really want to tell?”

This essential question from David Campbell define the work of a photographer: Story Telling. Indeed, now, he can’t just take a picture, show it, and go away. He has to explain the context, to allow viewers to understand the whole story. However, as the question says, the photographer chooses to tell that events or not and with that particular detail and not that one. That’s his work, his art !

Objective, definition:

” not influenced by personal feelings interpretations or prejudice, based on facts.”

A photographer can’t be objective: he chooses to deal with this subject which is directly linked to him, to his own story. He is a part of the context. His life can allow viewers to understand better his work.

This is a very important difference between a photographer and a journalist. This one has to cover events in the world to convey informations. When he chooses a topic, he must be objective. And the subject match with what people want to know, what they are expecting.

So, where the photographer takes place? Where is he ? In which area can he evolve ?

Must he become an objective journalist ? Or must he become really engaged and makes real choices ?

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The Crazy Alarm Clock

Creative Workshop 4 : “Another person’s story”

“Research and record somebody else’s personal story to share with the group. You should choose the most appropriate method of recording and delivering the story but it should last no more than 3 minutes.
Your decisions should draw on the lessons learned in creative workshops, lecture and class discussion. You should choose accordingly whether or not to use the subject’s voice or use a narrator, record/construct soundscapes and make or appropriate images.”



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Chocolate pastries

“Record a personal story to share with the group. You should speak your story in person and it’s telling should last approx. 2-3 minutes (no more). You should especially consider your choice of story/subject, your audience and your verbal delivery – in terms of your script, language, pace and intonation. No accompanying soundscape. No pictures. Just a story.”

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A man in a blue tracksuit

This is a picture I did not take of a man in a blue tracksuit walking across a snowy, barren field, carrying a white plastic bag from a drug store in one hand and a 2-liter cherry soda in the other, and upon reaching the middle of the snowy field, the man stopped, set down his plastic bag, unscrewed the cap of his cherry soda and brought it to his lips; a man in blue tracksuit, in the middle of that white expanse, drinking bright red sweetness.”


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Pete Brook, Prison Photographer

When Pete Brook begins to work on the practice of Photography in prison, he didn’t expect to find coverages. Since October of 2008, he collects informations, and pictures. His website works like a magazine, or a diary.

In Photography and Narrative classe, at Coventry University, we have the luck to speak with him about the Haiti earthquake in January of 2010.

This is 4 articles he wrote about that subject:

Haitis national penitentiary crumbles inmates gangs return to slums

Damon winter inside Port-au-Prince prison

Who actually escaped from Haitis penitenciaire national ?

Massacre and cover up at haitian prison



What do I think about that ?

On Tuesday, 12 january 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake destroyed Haiti. The Port-au-prince prison has been partly demolished releasing inmates in the Cité Soleil. At Las Cayes the prisoners took the control of the prison for several hours.

This disaster permitted to the whole world to discover the current situation of Haiti: the misery, the violence, the constant terror of the gangs … The new haitian president Rene Prevail took a lot of measure to restore peace in the country, but with the earthquake, the gangs are back and terrorize the population.

It’s complicated for a journalist to explain in one article that very complex situation. The many issues doesn’t make the task easier. We need a patchwork of writings, pictures, videos to clearly understand what’s really happened in Haiti. Unfortunately, the earthquake in Haiti is less covered than the hurricane Katrina in america. Why ? Maybe the medias cover more the events which take place in countries where the hearers are. People feel more concern and shock when the disasters are near to them. When the problem is close to them, they realize that they aren’t invincible, it could happen to them !

The United States offered their help to build a new judicial system. It’s a good example of the consequences of a disaster. In that case, the issues of Haiti are exhibited at the world, and the other countries want to do something. People are asking why a such tragedy happened ? What could we do improve ? What could we do to prevent another one ? The Haitian political, human, economic aspects are judged and reappraised. Would we talk about the misery in Haiti without the earthquake ? Would we denounce the not human conditions in the prison ?

We really can’t answer to these questions, because the media tornado is too much unstable, unpredictable, and depend mostly on the auditors not on the important news.


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