Study Visit–UCA Farnham, An Audience with Anna Fox – 7th May 2014

For my review of Anna Fox’ talk in Pallant House Gallery in 2011, see my Art of Photography blog:

Prior to the event, I read this interview:

…and looked at Anna’s website: I found this particularly interesting and will review the news section regularly.

The OCA “Photographers Talking” recording of the event is here:


Anna Fox is a very busy and dedicated photographer who readily acknowledges the influence of her fellow photographers Martin Parr, Paul Graham and Karen Knorr and how privileged she felt belonging to such a small and influential group. Over a long career in publishing, exhibiting and teaching photography she has built up an impressive catalogue of work, a lot of which she described in detail during this afternoon’s talk and in the ASX interview above.

What I wanted to concentrate on on this post is the interesting discussion that took place over the afternoon about Documentary, Photojournalism and Truth. Anna was clear that, very like John Grierson’s quote… “his own story, what was happening under his nose”, you don’t have to travel thousands of miles to tell a documentary story. Most of her work has been done in domestic situations and in her immediate surroundings.

In her Resort project at Butlin’s, she explained how some of the images where digitally joined. This raised the question in the group about the “truth” of such images. She was unequivocal in her response and explained that documentary (as opposed to a document) was “a story about the truth”. Joining two or more images added nothing to the frame that wasn’t there, all that had been changed (or compressed) was the time, much in the way a film is edited to compress time. She explained that a story sometimes needs exaggeration for impact and drama which is different from the levels of veracity required for photojournalism and reportage which strive for objective truth.

Anna also had some interesting things to say about book design and publishing and in particular about the use of text with images. For the series “Workstations” she explained that although the images are captioned, the pictures and the quotes used for the exhibition were collected independently and were matched up very quickly. None of the images were made in response to the quotes, they were brought together at the last minute when it seemed that they fitted together.

She talked briefly about the importance of networking for those aspiring to make a career in art photography and about her consultancy work in photography education in India.

The audience lasted for over two hours and was a fascinating insight into the work of a practising artist photographer, particularly relevant to my current course.


1 thought on “Study Visit–UCA Farnham, An Audience with Anna Fox – 7th May 2014

  1. Pingback: Project: A British tradition | OCA Photography 2 Documentary

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