Exercise: Recorded conversation

My account of the conversation

The idea of this exercise is to record a conversation, then write my interpretation of the conversation before listening to it and noting the discrepancies.

This exercise was fun. I recorded a conversation between me and two work colleagues during a break. My colleagues didn’t know I was recording! I didn’t get the chance to jot down my interpretation of the conversation until much later that evening.  Even though the conversation felt fresh in my mind, I was amazed how hard it was to recall the detail of what had been said.

Listening back I realised just how much of the conversation I had misinterpreted or assumed. There was more talking than listening and talking over each other – really annoying! I discovered that the informal conversation was spontaneous and random whereas my written conversation was more organized and unstructured.

As a reflection, consider ‘the believability of re-enacted narratives and how this can be applied to constructed photography. What do you learn from the conversation recording process?
The recording process has reminded me how we hear what we want to hear – selective hearing, biased towards information that is of personal interest. I think this also applies to vision which could account for why art is subjective. It also links to memory. Memories are not totally reliable as evidence of truth, as Annette Kuhn states;  “Memories evoked by a photograph do not simply spring out of the image itself, but are generated in an intertext of discourses that shift between past and present, spectator and image, and between all these and cultural contexts, historical moments. In all this, the image figures largely as a trace, a clue: necessary, but not sufficient, to the activity of meaning-making; always signaling somewhere else. “

How can you transfer what you learned into making pictures?
Thinking about how I could transfer my conversation in to a photograph is visually challenging. Also to ensure accuracy of the original event would be extremely difficult. Therefore, as in my written translation of the recorded conversation, interpretation of the event is safer than an attempt to portray a true representation. Many books and films ‘based on a true story’ cover themselves with statements such as “The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this book/production are fictitious”. What I have learnt is that re-enacting a narrative in a constructed photograph doesn’t need to be totally believable, subtle hints and metaphors can be portrayed.