Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research

Photography and the Sequence: The Image as Poetry, Page by Page

Author: Hammond, Anne
Publication: The Blue Notebook, v.3, n.1 pp 19-23
Date: 10.2008


Despite the separate hand-made status generally attributed to the artist’s book, its study yields insights into the more commercially generated photographic book. This essay uses the examples of books by three 20th century photographers – Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and Minor White – to demonstrate the cumulative development of visual syntax, degrees of interaction of image and text, and the capacity of the visual sequence to produce and sustain states of emotional response.

The research offers scope for an understanding of the difference between the message delivered by a narrative sequence of images, and a different kind of meaning created through image relationships based on non-sequential, subjective and cumulative interpretations. The work encourages readers to be aware that meaning may be created or implied by non-sequential groups of photographic images stimulating different parts of the viewer’s consciousness, and to consider the roles of contingency, memory and internal reflection in the interpretation of sets of images.