IVSA 2013, visual sociology

Reflecting on #IVSA2013

My final image from the series I captured at IVSA 2013 comes not from the photo walk, but from a moment of clarity during a coffee break. Sitting on the lawn, I gazed towards the giant mirrored windows of the academic buildings and starting back at me was an image of myself, surrounded by people. Sometimes we focus in so closely on the nuts and bolts of academia that we miss the wider picture. The fact that it is the people that exist in the social that are inherently interesting and not the tools we use to capture them. Appropriate then that this image was the product of a mere iPhone and not the more complex set up that normally typists my best images.

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IVSA 2013, visual sociology

(In)visibility of the observer and the observed – #IVSA2013 Photo Walk part 5

(In)visibility of the observer and the observed - #IVSA2013 Photo Walk part 5

Several of the presentations in the morning panels I attended at the IVSA conference focused on the issues surrounding visibility of the researcher to the participants in their research or photographs and the ethics surrounding that. There were also discussions of the partiality of representation of subjects by the way the lens frames them. This image seemed to draw together both of these concerns through the partial representation (and anonymity) of the subjects of the photo and their relation to the shadows of myself and two other photographers.

IVSA 2013, visual sociology

Subject/Object – #IVSA2013 Photo Walk Part 4

The juxtaposition of these two images is intentional. At first glance they both appear to be of the same thing, some young lads performing a routine and wowing the crowd with their physical agility but if we look deeper into the images, they are about something else, the crowd within the frame. This shifting from the performers being the subject of the photo to the object of the gaze of the crowd is something at I found particularly interesting. The onlookers who saw my camera would have assumed that the flips and turns were what I was focusing on when really it was their reactions that were capturing my imagination and the way they were interacting with the performance.

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IVSA 2013, visual sociology

Performing the street – #IVSA2013 Photo Walk Part 3

Goffman talks about presentation of self and the way individuals act in public and private. The Southbank is the prime example of a site of performance and I found that a series of images I captured highlighted the performative nature of human interaction. Some of these are clearly identifiable as performances, some are more hidden in the performance of the everyday practices of living within urban spaces.

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IVSA 2013, visual sociology

Pondering the meaning of life – #IVSA2013 Photo Walk Part 2

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As the walk continued along the South bank, we decided to move from the more familiar path onto the beach that is unveiled with the tide. Sitting on the glistening peddles was a badge adorned with the words ‘it’s my birthday’. When I looked up from the trinket that had captured my eye, I noticed a figure on the end of the jetty that was staring into space deep in thought. This made me think of the fleeting moments of celebration and occasions that such objects symbolise and the impact they have upon our thoughts and feelings regarding the passing of time and the ageing process.

IVSA 2013, visual sociology

Urban Inequality – #IVSA2013 Photo walk Part 1

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This is the first in a series of posts sharing some of the images I took during the photo walk with Paul Halliday, organised as part of the IVSA 2013 conference, I happened upon a young man dressed all in black sporting tussled locks of blond hair who was tagging walls with graffiti. The poignance of the words ‘As easy as being born’ did not pass me by, having taken a journey from south London streets around New Cross into the south bank where many bars and restaurants are beyond the means of many of the residents of the capital yet their patrons take them for granted. For me, this image typified the groaning urban inequalities of London.