In this blog, my plan is to produce an ‘initial thoughts’ posting about each assignment immediately on starting the respective part of the course. These notes will be a naive response, ‘uncontaminated by research’. It will be interesting to see how they compare with the eventual outcome.
There are many examples in literature, entertainment and news media of the device of showing a story from alternative viewpoints. An example is the Guardian 1986 ‘Points of View‘ advert, in which we see an action from three angles.
In an episode of the TV sitcom Coupling we see the same office party conversation as (mis)remembered by two different characters.
In Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone, a series of narrators (all more or less reliable) carry the story forward, but there is some backtracking and alternative views at each changeover point. More recently, in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl we see a single story as told by two unreliable narrators.
Even with a single narrator, a plot twist can skew the reader’s (viewer’s) viewpoint and lead to a radically different interpretation of what has gone before. Classic examples are Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd or M. Night Shyamalan’s film The Sixth Sense.
All of these are fictional examples. Attempting to do the same thing in a documentary photography style will be a challenge. Should one version be ‘true’ and the other ‘false’? Should both versions be equally ‘true’ but rely on different viewpoints? Am I interpreting the word ‘documentary’ in too conventional a way?
The coursework notes offer some alternative suggestions. I rather like the idea of personas created for a dating website. Two other ideas have come to mind: a human’s eye view and dog’s eye view of the same walk, or a driver’s and passenger’s view of the same car journey (brought on by the real-life observation that I am usually watching the road while my wife sees the surrounding scenery)
Watch this space. It may be a few weeks before my next post under this assignment heading, as I plan to let my subconscious do a bit of work while I concentrate on some coursework exercises.
Christie, A. (1926) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd [various editions]
Collins, W (1868) The Moonstone [various editions]
Coupling: season 3, episode 4 ‘Remember This’. (2002) BBC. 14 October 2002
Flynn, G (2012) Gone Girl: a novel. New York: Crown
Guardian (1986) Points of View [online at] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SsccRkLLzU (accessed 8/2/17)
The Sixth Sense (2008) Directed by Shyamalan, M.K.