237.130_A2_W5_TASK 4_Blog post

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Curry, Steve. Sharbat Gula. Digital image. Steve Curry. National Geographic, Dec. 1984. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

Steve Curry’s “Afghan Girl” was photographed at Nasir Bagh refugee camp, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984. She became the iconic front cover of National Geographic in June 1985. The photo was taken with Kodachrome 64 color slide film and a Nikon. The contrast in the vibrant colours draws the eye in, Gula’s green background reinforces the power in her eyes framed with earthy terracotta.

Originally Gula’s named was unknown, for 17 years she was the “Afghan Girl” with no identity. After many unsuccessful attempts to locate her, Curry in January 2002 inspired by the closure of Nasir Bagh, inquired the few remaining refugees. With luck, they managed to track her down in a remote village at the age of 30, before then she had never seen the 1984 image.

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237.130_A2_W5_TASK 4_Blog post

237.130_A2_W5_TASK 3_Essay topic research

Mindmap – Afghan Girl, Steve Curry. 1984.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 3.15.54 pmStepping away from contemporary portraiture such as the selfie for a moment, the visual text “Afghan girl” exemplifies how powerful portraiture photography is in the communication of identity. The mind mapping process allowed me to analyse the visual texts in depth by categorising important information into essay points which then can be further expanded. The correlation between visual texts is made clear through the branched categories in the mind map, it isolates important contextual similarities and patterns.

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Curry, Steve. Sharbat Gula. Digital image. Steve Curry. National Geographic, Dec. 1984. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

These two seemingly similar images tell different stories. The left image is the first photograph Steve Curry took of Sharbat Gula, she hides her face with her hands in an attempt to mask her identity, this ties back in with her tradition and culture. In the second image, Gula’s piercing gaze tells a story of terror, her past that has become her identity. The picture becomes more than a picture of one girl, it becomes the symbol of an entire population with the same stark identity.

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237.130_A2_W5_TASK 3_Essay topic research

237.130_A2_W5_TASK 2_Contextual understanding

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Felig, Weegee Arthur. The First Murder. Digital image. Johnsheridanart. N.p., 1938. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.

Being a mid-twenty-first-century photographer in the USA, Weegee captures the “hard-core deceptions of crime and violence in the streets of New York” (Sturken, Cartwright, 11). The two photographic images discussed both are of an extremely violent nature, the first photograph “The First Murder 1938” captures the practice of looking, showing a clear difference between the adult distress and children’s curiosity.

“both the act of looking at the forbidden scene and the capacity of the still camera to capture heightened fleeting emotion” – Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright pg 11

The sobering discussion of the second image “Emmet Till’s brutalized body in his casket” addresses the role of images in the exposure of violence and the fascination we have with it (Sturken, Cartwright, 12). It exhibits the power of the photograph as evidence and a record.

237.130_A2_W5_TASK 2_Contextual understanding

237.130_A2_W5_TASK 1_VISUAL LITERACY

This visual presentation about Édouard Manet’s painting “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère” explores how the alteration of perspective can capture intimacy and emotion. Paintings reflect current context – place, time, and society. For example, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, the mirrored relationship between the female and male suggest a sort of intimacy through body language. However, her face tells a different story, Manet captures the vacant expression on her face. The painting channels Manet’s thoughts and feelings regarding 1880’s Paris where the “working class women” were seen as more sexually available than higher class women who were sheltered. The mirror is once again seen as a path of knowledge, it gives insight into the context of the painting and the relation to the subject. This ties back in with Velázquez, Diego’s Las Meninas painting, where perspective captures the relationship between the living, from the dog at the bottom to the king and queen reflected in the mirror.

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237.130_A2_W5_TASK 1_VISUAL LITERACY