Week 4 – Acting the part. 14.02.20

Week 4 – Acting the part. 14.02.20

I’ve now finished reading ‘Acting the part’ , and was much relieved to find a book that both critically evaluated and positioned images that I could understand clearly and concisely . It did just what I expected it to, made me want to go and create tableaux images. I definitely think this is one of my issues this module,  every new thing I see , or read about, I want to try out myself, with my own take on it. That is fine, but it takes away from the larger picture. I had a very clear picture in my head when I came to the MA of what I wanted to focus on ‘alternative education’ and by the end of the first module I had a very clear path of how I wanted to do that (module 2 – home ed families in cornwall, module 3 photographing alternative schools and home educating groups, module 4 focusing on my own home educating family, module 5/6 focusing on world schoolers and pulling it all together) I am starting to feel like I desperately need another module to be able to ‘play’ and ‘experiment’ with all these ideas that I have. I don’t want to deviate too much from my path as I have a very exact idea of what I want to achieve with my final project, and if I take time out this module and only focus on tableaux and constructed scenes, I potentially will land myself with lots and lots of work to do in the FMP to tie it all together, and I don’t want to do that as my two boys will be in the final year of being home ed, before one does his a-levels going off to uni ,and the other does his final GCSE’s going of to study A-levels at a science school, the 6months of the FMP is going to be very full on for all of us, so I can’t put an added unnecessary pressure on myself than what there will already be. So …. where does that leave me this module ?


Week 4 - constructed realities & acting the part. 14.02.20

Week 4 – constructed realities & acting the part. 14.02.20

Ref to Bayards self portrait as a drowned man being the first staged photograph created, and thus establishing it’s importance since the advent of photographic technology.

“The origin of photography, as Roland Barthes observes, can be seen as more closely allied to acting than to painting.” (Pauli. 2006 Pg 15)

“Bayard and Morimura are not only actors; they are also directors, choosing the sets, props, and costumes, determining the lighting, and establishing the gestures in order to tell a dramatic story.” (Pauli. 2006. pg 16)

NOTE ****This ‘dramatic story’ is what I need to focus on in my work this module, the combining of the above to create visually dramatic scenes and narratives.

The discussion around tableau vivant, and the essentially, ‘family pastime’ of trying to recreate scenes from pieces of art or sculpture .

“stereographic images became the most popular format for staged photographs int he early years of the twentieth century.” (Pauli. 2006. pg 16)

NOTE ….. I can’t stand books that reference images that are not on the same page as them ! On the next , or previous page I can deal with, but 3/4/5 pages away is ridiculous. REMEMBER THIS for when I make any book !!!

“Because photography reflects the physical world more directly than does painting, manipulation of the image may seem tantamount to deception.” (Pauli. 2006. pg 26/27)


IDEA …. to produce a staged tableaux of our educational provision with reference to a piece of art. Consult perhaps ‘the art book’, or one of the teschen books I have.

Look up polak, “photographs from life in old dutch costume, showing domestic scenes staged in imitation of dutch painting.” (Pauli. 2006. pg 33)

On page 40 discusses Shermans history portraits. The idea of restating historical paintings, or indeed combining different elements from different paintings leaving  ”the viewer with an uncanny sense of recognising the sources of Shermans restagings but not being able to pinpoint them.”(Pauli. 2006. pg 40)

“These artists [wall/evergon/anne ferran/ anne zahalka etc] speak with a new vocabulary derived from art history but informed by other elements of visual culture such as advertising and film.” (Pauli. 2006. pg 44)

“Wall considers the “constructed” photograph – he prefers the term ‘staged’ – to be complete, it’s meaning independent and self contained, like that of a painting. Unlike the documentary photograph, which Wall sees as relying on an aesthetic of the ‘fragmentary’, the staged photograph is a complete visual statement. Gesture, pose, set design, and lighting are all highly controlled, as would happen in preparing a scene for a motion picture.” (Pauli. 2006. pg 62)

“staged photographs have a space described by Lewis Baltz as “a narrow deep area between the novel and the film.” (Pauli. 2006. pg 68)

“One could argue that all social activity takes place in the realm of representation , in the eye of the camera.” (Pauli. 2006. pg 134)

“Diderot, writing about genre painting in eighteenth century France, defined tableau as the self contained formal unity of a picture that captures the immenent potential of an instant in time.” (Pauli. 2006. pg 134)

“The works of Thomas Demand are re-enactments of a sort that operate as negative tableaux in which the social is implied by it’s absence .” (Pauli. 2006. pg 152)




Pauli, Lauri. 2006. Acting the part, photography as theatre. London. Merrell publishers.




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