Informing Contexts – Assignments

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All submitted, this morning.

Mick Yates. 2018. Choeung Ek (The Killing Fields).

The opening statement from my Critical Review:

I am documenting the personal stories of people that we have known for twenty years, and who suffered during the Khmer Rouge Genocide of 1975-1979. This is a multi-faceted project, with activities that will go on past the MA. Photography, text, voice recording, and video are all part of it.

In this Work in Progress, I am combining infrared photographs with quotes from Sarath, a survivor of the Genocide, and my friend.

The aim is to create images which only give up the horror of place when studied, so engaging the audience without being overly literal. The eye should move from image to text, and back again. Each of the images stands alone, although the series narrates a story.

The work involves paradox, with haunting images, possibly even beautiful ones, uncovering personal suffering and social atrocity.

Over the years, my documentary practice has evolved towards a desire to change people’s perceptions about social issues. Robert Frank summed this up perfectly.

Above all, life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference, and it is important to see what is invisible to others’. (Frank, 1958).

Bill Jay went further, making it essentially an ethical responsibility to share the truth, a view I share.

While images still have the capacity to disturb us, I have hopes for both the human race and the medium of photography’. (Jay, 1992: 43).

I am guided by the principle that ‘we are more the same than we are different, although the details of difference matter’. Photographers can tell the truth in respectful and ethical ways. although, as Susie Linfield pointed out, the audience still remains responsible ‘for the ethics of seeing’.

Photojournalists are responsible for the ethics of showing, but we are responsible for the ethics of seeing’. (Linfield, 2010: 60).

Work in Progress

Critical Review

PDF file here: Informing Contexts Critical Review Final

Critical Research Journal

You’re here!


Critical Review References

BAUDRILLARD, Jean. 1981. Simulacra and Simulation. 1994 trans. Sheila Faria Glaser. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

BERGER, John. 1972. Ways of Seeing. 2008 Edition. London: Penguin.

BROWN, Mary E. and POWER, Rebecca. 2005. Exhibits in Libraries. Jefferson: McFarland & Company.

BRUTVAN, Cheryl. 2001. Sophie Ristelhueber’s Obsessions. Queen’s Quarterly, vol. 108, no. 4, 2001, pg. 501.

FRANK, Robert. 1958. A Statement. US Camera Annual, pg. 115. Available at: (accessed 02/04/2019).

GLICKMAN LAUDER, Judy. 2018. Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception. New York: Aperture.

HARIMAN, Robert & LUCAITES, John Louis. 2016. The Public Image: Photography and Civic Spectatorship. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press.

HERSCHDORFER, Natalie. 2011. Afterwards. London: Thames & Hudson.

LINFIELD, Susie. 2010. The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

MEISELAS, Susan. 1997. Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

MIYAMOTO, Ryuji. 1988. The Silence of Photographs. In Vartanian, Ivan, Hatanaka, Akihiro and Kambayashi, Yutaka. 2006. Setting Sun: Writing by Japanese Photographers. New York: Aperture.

RISTELHUEBER, Sophie & MAYER, Marc & LADD, Jeffrey. 2009. Sophie Ristelhueber: Fait. Books on Books. New York: Errata.

SCHWAGER, Christian. 2007. My Lovely Bosnia. Zürich: Edition Patrick Frey.

SEAWRIGHT, Paul and DARKE, Colin. 2013. Discussion at Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast. In Tuck, Sarah. 2015. After the Agreement: Contemporary Photography in Northern Ireland. Pg. 146. Available at: (accessed 30/03/2019).

SEKULA, Allan, 1995. Fish Story. 2018 Edition. London: Mack.

SEKULA, Allan. 2016. Photography Against the Grain: Essays and Photo Works, 1973-1983. London: Mack.

SHARP, Bruce. C. 2005. Counting Hell. From Cambodia – Beauty and Darkness. Available at: (accessed 18/04/2019).

SHARPLEY, Richard and STONE, Philip R. (Eds.). 2009. The Darker Side of Travel. Bristol: Channel View Publications.

SHNEER, David. 2014. Ghostly Landscapes: Soviet Liberators Photograph the Holocaust. Humanity, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 2014, pp. 235-246. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Available at: (accessed 29/01/2019).

STEARNS, Jason. 2011. Shocking Pink. The Guardian. Available at: (accessed 04/02/2019).

VARTANIAN, Ivan, HATANAKA, Akihiro and KAMBAYASHI, Yutaka. 2006. Setting Sun: Writing by Japanese Photographers. New York: Aperture.

YATES, Mick. 2000/2002. The Cambodian Schools Project. Available at: (accessed 18/04/2019).

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