A resource for students of Community Education Lewisham, and a showcase of some of their published work. Copyright of all images exclusively retained by individual students of CEL.


Photographing the Past. Studio Nan Versus Remembered Nan

Original. 'Nan' photographed as quickly as possible.


More like the Nan as remembered. The photograph the photographer would have preferred to have taken, if he'd had the time. Courtesy of image manipulation.

The question of this 1950's remembrance image was, 'Is this how you remember your grandmother?'. Obviously, the photographer was not being paid enough to take a great deal of trouble over 'conveying the character' of the sitter.
The next question is therefore whether to adjust it to be more faithful to the memory of the sitter is to be unfaithful to historical truth.
Does emotional truth take precedence over the chemical record of the moment, snatched briefly without any sympathy with the sitter, or much real consideration of the needs of the target audience for the photograph?
The slight rotation of the head, plus 'smearing' of the edges of the mouth with Photoshop make the photographed Nan more like the real Nan, according to her grand-daughter. Which reality is truer?

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