Discussion 1 : Finding your voice

  1. Dawoud Bey approaches the idea of using photography as a way of finding his voice by taking photographs in a way that shows viewers what is not seen. Bey describes that due to his hearing loss, he compensated by seeing more than most people as to not be overlooked. An interesting example of  Bey making the invisible visible, is his photo overlooking Lake Erie, which is from his Night Coming Tenderly, Black series.This photo is so unique and important because it was taken in a site that Bey found due to his own research, which is believed to be an Underground Railroad used by sleeves seeking passage to freedom. Bey says that instead of forcing a feeling through the viewfinder, he naturally felt a very strong presence at the site and knew that it was a location used by former slaves. Their existence was present and therefore the photo would reflect this existence and give viewers the same feeling. The photos in the series are all dark toned, or grayscale which help influence the emotions of viewers. This is all a part of how Bey’s personal voice is illuminated through his metaphorical photos, which in this series strive to show the viewers the world through the eyes of slaves moving through the darkness, hoping to gain freedom.
  2. Carrie Mae Weems uses photography as a way of finding her voice by creating The Kitchen Table series, which is a series that features photos of herself, family and friends going about their daily lives around the kitchen table. The series does not contain any extravagant lighting or setting. The one light source being the overhead lighting above the table. It is simple and real. However these simple photos encapsulate her experience as a woman that is shared by many others. 
  3. I can find my own voice by experimenting with different forms of art, not just photography. I think the more time a person dedicates to self expression in different ways without trying to confine themselves, produces more authentic and real art. In terms of photography I think it’s best to just take pictures. Take pictures of anything that catches your eye because what catches your eye is unique to you. When you take the picture you allow others to see the world through your eyes which is not something you can do in any other way. Once you take enough pictures combined with deep thought into whatever story you’re trying to tell, I think a recurring theme will naturally show up and you will have found a style and voice.