Category Archives: Text and photography

Catcalling: Photography and society


This post, while not specifically related to the course content, felt worthy of saving and reflection.

Noa Jansma from Amsterdam was fed up of receiving unwelcome catcalls as she walked down the street. So she started publishing selfies of herself including the person who had done the catcalling.  The image title was the words they had said to her.

This shows how photography can be a helpful tool in reconciling and healing.  Also, it can become a powerful, unforgiving mirror held up to society, showing it what it really looks like.  The words seem colder and more sinister in print, accompanied by a picture of the person that said thrm.  There are some similarites here to ‘Take care of yourself’ by Sophie Calle who ‘turns things that annoy or hurt her into a game’.

Fortune Cookie

Although this does not fit precisely with the course content I wanted to retain these ideas as something that I could potentially develop further in the future.

As it was Chinese New Year we sat down to a meal which included Fortune Cookies.  It occurred to me that the ‘fortune’ contained within could be made the primarily element in a portrait. What does this then infer in the resultant image?

‘You are a person with a good sense of justice’

‘The quieter you are the more you hear’

I would have liked to have made the series a set of three with others but this was not possible.

Monochrome was selected as it more strongly emphasised the writing on the paper by eliminating colour distractions.  Focussing closely ensured that the actual subject was portrayed as secondary to the text.

The overall impression is that the ‘fortune’ plays a significant role in how we believe the subject to be.  For instance, in ‘The quieter you are the more you hear’ we are immediately led to assume that the subject is particularly quiet, or otherwise.  His out of focus smile then suggests the irony of the latter.

Conversely, the stern face of the first image fits well with the text suggesting that the subject has a ‘good sense of justice’