Mark Neville

To look at side by side, juxtapose these two links:

North Hills High School Prom, 3, 2012

Woodland Hills High School Prom, 1, 2012

Interesting is that the Prom 1 picture in the Aperture magazine is different from the one on internet. A choice made by the photographer, curator or publisher?

Difference: focus on internet photo more on the girls bumping and grinding and their expression doing so. On the photo in the magazine the boy in the left below corner is aware of the camera and pretends to slap the girl in the purple dress on her bottom.

‘In 2012, Neville was commissioned by the Andy Warhol Museum, in Pittsburgh, to produce a body of work for the group exhibition Factory Direct: Pittsburgh (2012)’, (Wolukau-Wanambwa, 2017). The usual social themes are included: wealth, poverty and the racial dividing line.

The two different versions of the photo made me think about the power of the photographer. Recently I read again about Steve McCurry and the by-gone-times-way he portrays India and his unethic methods. History of photography was written from white man’s perspective undervaluating woman and with colonial views of other cultures. Like there is a big vigilance for journalists, never trust one source, there should be a vigilance for photo-reporters. I think the way to deal with the “alternative facts”, to use a popular term, in speech, writing and photography is to keep asking questions.

After realising this I looked again at both pictures:

Prom 3

  • Where are the black men?
  • Is it a group of close friends or is black culture more open?
  • Is this scene as ‘natural’ as it looks? Are the girls being themselves?

Prom 1

  • Are the whites only busy with themselves?
  • Are they being themselves, or copycats?

General

  • In which group is social pressure highest?
  • What is the influence of the photographer?
  • Are supposed differences not ‘created’ by the choice of B&W and color?
  • Are we shown a truth that is to one-sided?
  • Isn’t the photographer to prejudiced?

Mark Neville later juxtaposed some pictures from this project with pictures from other projects. Apparently he keeps asking questions as well!

Bibliography

Wolukau-Wanambwa, S. (2017), ‘Mark Neville Braddock/Sewickley’ In: Aperture 226 pp. 56-63

Baron, J. (2015), What’s Next for Pittsburgh, At: http://www.nextpittsburgh.com/events/londonpittsburgh-first-solo-exhibition-western-pa-international-artist-mark-neville/ (last visited 2 May 2017)

The Guardian (2017), People power: Mark Neville’s documentary photography – in pictures, At: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2017/jan/06/mark-neville-documentary-photography-in-pictures (last visited 2 May 2017)

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