Hi, I'm new to posting but it looks like I'll be joining in some of your discussion as we start wrapping up the final projects. As you all know I've been photographing various events in Trinidad this semester, trying to finalize a final concept for a presentation. You can view my photos so far through this link.
Something I've been contending with, and that I discussed with Chris, is the problem of how I approach certain events: what am I trying to accomplish, what am I trying to say, and how can the photographs be read? During my internship, I've been trying to focus on portraying events in a photojournalist/documentary way: setting up the event, allowing the event to control the camera. But underneath this runs the problem of process, or how I engage with the subject(s) and perceive them, and how the photographs reflect this negotiation of comfort level, understanding, and control. I know that I've been struggling with finding the right form of composition in an unfamiliar environment. I don't really know or understand what I'm looking at, being from a different culture, and I want to resist relying on tired stock imaging of that the Caribbean should look like, or a sort of 'orientalism' of Trinidad carnival, as an American outsider. It's complicated because so much of the culture, in my limited perception, appears to be mas or performance in itself. The culture is a performance. How does photography, capturing this performance-in-action, play into this? What's behind it all? I don't believe I've accomplished this investigative approach yet, but I would like to.
Perhaps one of my favorite moments while photographing here was when I attended a Catholic funeral in Santa Cruz. I was completely caught off guarded, in a state of culture shock, having never before attended a funeral that pulsed with so much energy and diverse interaction. I got caught up in an adrenaline rush and I felt immersed in the space. That sort of feeling of transcendence is what I want to translate into images. I'm attempting to compile a series of final photographs, one about pan and steelband players, and the other about religious rituals of death and dying. But as Chris pointed out, there is more than just what the photographs objectively represent, there is always a narrative and a discourse underpinning the photos, in my case, it might be about the process of reconciling culture and control of the camera, and rendering images in terms of color, shape and form.