250MC – Essay.

50% of your terms mark – the essay needs to be 2000 words, exclusive of your references/bibliography. 

The essay title I have chosen:

“Using examples to substantiate your argument discuss some of the problems a photographer may encounter as a documentary photographer”.

Essay plan:


  • What is a documentary photographer?
  • Different types of documentary photography.
  • When did it begin?
  • Can capture so much yet have to overcome problems.
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson – the decisive moment. People argued he could not gain such good shots just through luck, accused of staging them.


  • Robert Doisneau – “The Kiss”
    • 2 people led to believe it was them in the photo, which led to him being taken to court.
    • This led to him admitting he had staged the shot – questions the truth in documentary photography.
    • Does this cheat the truth? Relate to photography and truth.
    • Does the photograph tell a real story or a staged one?
    • People question their work – problem.
  • Kevin Carter Pulitzer photographed such a controversial image.
    • Felt it was his role to observe rather than help and committed suicide.
    • Captures truly horrific situations – as a photographer how do you deal with this?
    • Should they have to deal with this?
    • Career vs Morals?
  • W Eugene Smith seriously injured whilst photographing World War 2.
    • Shooting “a day in the life of a front line soldier”.
    • Injured whilst photographing.
    • “I forgot to duck but I got a wonderful shot of those who did… my policy of standing up when the others are down finally caught up with me”.
    • Risking his life to create incredible pictures.
    • Shows extreme dangers/life threatening situations.
    • Where to draw the line? How far will they go?
    • Is their heart really in photography?
  • Conclusion.
    • Can documentary photography take things too far?
    • More problems or more successes?
    • Could it get worse/better/photographers wellbeing/safety.
    • Sontag – how we are no longer responding to photographs.
    • Personal opinion.
    • Relate back to essay title.

~ by victoriasimkissphotography on October 26, 2013.

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