Arsifa Deliyana

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Week 9 Visual Semiotics & Photography

James Nachtwey and Taryn Simon TED’s Talk

Photography is a proportion of seeing the projection of reality, technically. It has been used to reveal truth as its function as objective evidence. Photography as objective substantiation is able to raise the believe among the audience who see this projection of reality. In criminal case, photographs are important matters to be investigated to judge the truth or false. Photography can be objective, but has has subjectivity on it. In other words, photography has ability to blur truth and fiction.

Photojournalist James Nachtwey is considered by many to be the greatest war photographer of recent decades. He has covered conflicts and major social issues in more than 30 countries. Accepting his 2007 TED Prize, war photographer he shows his life’s work and asks TED to help him continue telling the story with innovative, exciting uses of news photography in the digital era. He understands that documentary photography has the ability to interpret events from their point of view. He wishes his photographs bear witness that can give a voice to those who do not have a voice.

In TED Talk, Taryn Simon shows her surprising take on photography — to reveal worlds and people we would never see otherwise. With a large-format camera and a knack for talking her way into forbidden zones, she photographs portions of the American infrastructure inaccessible to its inhabitants. She shares two projects: one documents otherworldly locations typically kept secret from the public, the other involves haunting portraits of men convicted for crimes they did not commit.

One of her photographs titled “The Innocents” furthered the fabrication of lie. And for the men in those photographs, photography had been used to create a fantasy. Taryn Simon has traveled across the United States photographing men and women who had been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit, violent crimes. Photography offered the criminal justice system a tool that transformed innocent citizens into criminals, and the criminal justice system failed to recognize the limitations of relying on photographic identifications. Her real experiences seeing things via camera lenses derive her to state that photography can support or blur the fact.

References:

TED Talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/taryn_simon_photographs_secret_sites?language=en

TED Talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/james_nachtwey_s_searing_pictures_of_war/transcript?language=en#t-130000

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