Taryn Simon Ted Talk

Since my introduction into associate lecturing at UCLAN in November 2009 I have found that my desire and determination to learn as much as I can about the medium of photography has played an crucial role in how effectively I write assignments, plan critiques and deliver lectures.

In order to teach others about contemporary photography in a fresh and imaginative way one should not only be a creative practitioner of the medium, but also have an innate interest and understanding of culture, history, social issues and technology (to name but only a few).

In an attempt to form some kind of narrative structure to this photography blog, I thought I’d share a short video of Taryn Simon speaking at Ted Talks that I showed students of the BA (Hons) International Journalism course earlier today. We were discussing how we can develop our ideas from concept into practice when I remembered watching this fantastic talk by Taryn Simon.

During her Ted Talk, she presents her startling take on photography; to reveal worlds and people we would never see otherwise.

In ‘An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar’ (2007) she documents otherworldly locations typically kept secret from the public. With a large-format camera and a knack for talking her way into forbidden zones, Taryn Simon photographed portions of the American infrastructure inaccessible to it’s inhabitants. Her second project, the haunting ’The Innocents’ (2003), features a series of portraits of men convicted for crimes they did not commit.

Both projects feature some astounding photography and are highly thought-provoking in terms of approach, research and delivery. It’s certainly a talk I would recommend to anyone who is interested in learning more about photography and the world we live in.

There are a number of photographers who have spoken about their work at Ted Talks, including Edward Burtynsky discussing manufactured landscapes and James Nachtwey presenting his searing photographs of war.

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