Beginner Dissertation help

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Jojo
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#1
Hey fellow photographers I need to start my dissertation, I'm stuck on a question I know I want it to be around the genre of documentary as this is my passion, I was thinking of how did documentary photography impact art/photography? I'm unsure I really want it to be interesting it's for my final year in uni thanks guys any suggestions welcome!
 
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#2
So you're unsure you really want it to be interesting? :confused:

Perhaps you could have a chat with one of your tutors, discuss what you want to achieve and ask them for a bit of guidance on the question?
 
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Jojo
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#5
Lol no I'm unsure what to do but I really want it to be interesting, I'm meeting with my tutor on Monday but I want to have some sort of idea before I meet him
 
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#6
OK, so let me get this right... are you thinking of comparing the two main (supposedly) genres of photography; documentary and art, and want to ask the question how did documentary photography impact upon art photography?

If that's the question you wanted to ask (rather than it being a question you were 'set' [or lumbered with!] as part of your exam/dissertation), then are you sure documentary style photography actually did impact on art photography? In fact, can you actually pigeon-hole every photo you've ever seen into one or the other category? Isn't there a crossover (a 'conceptual ecotone' perhaps?) in the middle between these two genres where they merge and coalesce? And if so, who decides which one of these categories a photograph falls into... the viewer or the academic? For instance, have a good look as some of the photos Martin Parr has taken and published, can you honestly categorise which is art and which is documentary for every one of his published photos? Do some perhaps fall into both categories? If so, who decides?

Sorry if I'm barking up the wrong tree here, I'm not a pro photographer and I've never formally studied the subject, so don't blame me if I've just given you a lot of worthless thinking to do! Best of luck all the same. (y)
 
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Neil
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#7
Please note haven't completed a photography degree/post grad so this may not apply. However with a different subjects post grad my experience, as stated by others, is your Tutor will help you come to a structure question/s to drive your dissertation/research. Not sure how you dissertation is structured. If I remember rightly, previously I had to come up with a title and 4 or 5 supporting questions (e.g. Mr Badger's additions).
 
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David
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#8
What ever you choose, make sure it's an area that interests you. Sounds stupid, but it shows in the end result. Different field, but when I had to choose for my final year, nothing on offer interested me and I started on one which was a real struggle. I spoke to the tutor fairly early on and ask to move the focus of mine a little and so much more interesting and enjoyable as a result.

Secondly choose wisely - this is an undergrad dissertation - you're not expected to 'break now ground', so make sure you pick something that has a wealth of material you can reference and mine to help support your arguments / conclusions. It's hard working in a Vacuum!

Not questions for your dissertation, but questions to ask yourself to help drill down a little...
  • What is it about Documentary photography that drives you?
  • What even is documentary photography? Can it be defined - really? etc.
  • Are you influenced by photographers? If so who? who were their influences?
  • How are they influenced by the culture, economics, their backgrounds and what impact did it have on their style? How are you?
  • How did their style change over their lifetime? What drove that change? Skill, political / social events? How did they evolve?
  • If there are social or economic factors, how did they after different photographers approaches - the same, differently? Can you explain the quantify the impact the different approaches had etc.
Best of luck and enjoy!
 
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Dave
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#9
I was thinking of how did documentary photography impact art/photography?
That's part of the overall discussion about the relationship between documentary and art photography. Which involves influences both ways and re-purposing one as the other. Seems like a good choice of subject so long as, as others have said, it is a subject which interests you.

Have fun and good luck.
 
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#10
There's plenty already written about documentary photography, how it was used for social change, Riis, Hine, the FSA etc. Sandlers documentation and classification of people.
Did it change art, or did photography steal the ideas from artists, use them as references?
 
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