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ERIC Number: ED341107
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Aug
Pages: 23
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Dialectic of Staring as a Way of Knowing.
Newton, Julianne Hickerson
What is the most important moral problem faced by journalists and photographers when they document people's lives? The answer rests in knowing why, how, and when to observe other people. The process of professional observation can be explored by examining photographic books such as Richard Avedon's "In the American West," Bill Owens'"Suburbia,""Good Company" by Douglas Harper, and "Rich and Poor" by Jim Goldberg. Avedon's and Owens' books appear to exploit their photographic subjects. By contrast, the strength in Goldberg's work lies in its intention to be honest and human and to reveal a personal dialectic. In "Good Company," Harper offers a good example of how and when to stare: long and hard but with respect, an open eye, mind, and heart, and a willingness to question's one's own vision, and to stop staring when appropriate. Good observation is interactive and reciprocal, and acknowledges that every observer is privileged to stare and record what is seen. A fifth book, "Illuminations, A Bestiary," which contains photographs by Rosamond Wolff Purcell and text by Stephen Jay Gould, provides further insight. The book portrays dead organisms, yet because of how the observers viewed them, others also can respect, honor, and find parts of themselves in the organisms. (SG)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A