Friday, October 29, 2010

Frank Lewis lecture

The way of documentation is not just about recording in text, photography is a more permeable and collective way of documentation. I was really intrigued when Frank Lewis talked about the idea of Taylorism. According to Lewis, Taylorism was originally set to document every stage of a consecutive movement to achieve better management. For example, it is like we are watching a film frame by frame and then we can discuss or criticize it. In my understanding, Taylor-ism can also be applied to the documentation of history. The comparison between them is pretty obvious, one is documenting all the steps in a single movement, the other is documenting the development through history. Through photograph, we can easily see the actual history back then without imagining it with our own perceptional color, thus it is more permeable, understandable, and fair to view the history of labor-ism through photography. People could  view this history in a clearer way after they organized and lined up the works of all the great photographers like Eugene Smith, Henri Catier Bresson, Robert Frank, etc. Their works was organized like what Lewis said in the lecture, frame by frame, so we can analyze and delve into the development of labor-ism. So this photo essay of history needs effort from collaborative works of artists though they may not know at the time that their work would contribute to the future history analysis when they took those pictures for other purposes.

Pittsburgh Steeler-Eugene Smith

In this lecture, I learnt that photo journalism or photo essay is a permeable and collective way of documentation. It has this Taylorism style that brings us back to the time frame by frame.

Here is a video about the history of management.


  1. Are there situations where the form of documenting is limited to creativity? For example, when a murder happens is there any creativity to the photo, or is it simply for the purposes of the crime scene? In a movie , could this profession take crime scene photos to the extreme

  2. I was also interested in the photographs that were produced using the Taylorism method. They had an ethereal quality to them which made the rough process of hammering, for example, seem so delicate. It is also interesting that this kind of photography was used to make labor more effective.

  3. I agree, the Taylorism example Frank Lewis showed was really rather interesting, and I should have liked to hear more about how that sort of photography was used. It would have been neat to see more examples of that type of photography, and also to know more about in what sort of contexts it was used or displayed, and what people's reactions to it were. It really was a way of taking something static(photography) and animating it into a progressive series of actions, which could have various applications in capturing the working world.

  4. Taylorism was in fact very interesting. At the same time we have to appreciate where photography has come to. Sure, using photography was amazing for documenting and recording different forms of labor, but all it took was one person to say, photography is more than that, it is art. Once the world began to loko at photography as art, and not just documenting, well, that's the photography I enjoy.