RESEARCH TASK 3.3: REPORTING AND DOCUMENTING

RESEARCH:

I had a look at the website: http://www.reportager.org ( http://reportager.uwe.ac.uk/ )

and then searched the internet for other reportage illustrations about protests.

I decided on using the following reportage illustration by Veronica Lawler:

http://www.veronicalawlor.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/march_for_our_lives_5.jpg

From her Reportage Journal:

http://www.veronicalawlor.com/?p=3138

I searched the internet for photographs of a similar subject matter. And found the following articles:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43527155

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/march-our-lives-draws-hundreds-thousands-washington-around-nation-n859716

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/24/us/march-for-our-lives-signs-trnd/index.html

I decided on using this photograph from the following article:

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/24/us/march-for-our-lives/index.html

WHAT IS EACH IMAGE EXPRESSING, DESCRIBING OR COMMUNICATING?

Both the Reportage illustration, as well as the photograph focuses on protesting against gun violence.

The Reportage Illustration expresses the emotions of the people at the protest, the energy felt at the protest and the reason why they are protesting. It is a clear representation of the message the protesters are trying to convey. The illustration focuses on visually communicating the reason for the protest, by highlighting the slogans/ words/ phrases, instead of including other detail. Using rough/ loose lines, the illustrator is able to create the effect of the crowds present at the event, instead of including details of individual characters/ people.

The photograph is a visual representation of the large crowds attending the protest. It communicates a message as it portrays the importance of the event based on the size of the crowds of people present. Although the large amounts of people holding plaques are visible in the photograph, the actual words/ phrases/ slogans on the plaques are too small in the photograph to be able to read it. Therefore the message or reason for the protest is not directly visible by only looking at the photograph.

WHICH IMAGE DO YOU THINK IS MOST MEMORABLE?

I think the Reportage Illustration is more memorable. The use of black & white illustrations with the words/ phrases/ slogans added in colour is very effective. It focuses on accentuating the message of the people, the reason for the event and the emotions involved. It creates a striking effect and I would say it is more memorable than the photograph. I would say that the illustration effectively ‘summarises’ the protest and the main reason for protesting.

DOES ONE IMAGE SEEM MORE TRUTHFUL AND WHY?

Reportage Illustrations portray a meaning/ message, it is a representation of an event/ place as seen through the eyes of the illustrator. It visually communicates a message to the viewer, including detail that is more effective. The illustration captures the emotions experienced at an event, focusing on getting an important message across, instead of focusing on other unrelated detail that might have been present in a photograph.

The photographs are an exact visual representation of the event, people present, etc. It shows the reality of the day. The photographer could still choose what to photograph and therefore manipulate what is seen by the viewer. Choosing what to include and what to exclude from the photograph.

I therefore think that the photographer and Reportage Illustrator are both in the position to manipulate what is seen by the viewer, by choosing what’ to include/ exclude from the images.

I find it difficult to decide which image is more truthful as both are a representation of the event from the photographer/ Illustrators’ individual perspective. If I ‘had’ to choose between the 2 images, I would say that the photograph is more truthful.

WHICH IMAGE WOULD YOU BE MORE LIKELY TO NOTICE IF IT WAS IN A MAGAZINE OR NEWSPAPER AND WHY?

If a magazine or newspaper article had photographs or Reportage Illustrations, I would be more likely to focus on the details of the images than the text of the article. In general images grab my attention more than text does.

I think I would be more likely to notice the Reportage Illustration, than a photograph if it was in a magazine or newspaper. I think I have become so used to photographs being used everywhere, that illustrations grab my attention more.

This particular photograph would not necessarily grab my attention, as the message/ slogans/ words/ phrases are not directly visible when looking at the image. I might notice the photograph but would have no idea what it is about until I read the text in the article. Thus individually the photograph is not very effective without the text in the article.

With a Reportage Illustration, the illustration decides to focus on the important detail to include in order to capture the attention of the viewer and portray a specific message. For this particular Reportage Illustration, the illustrator uses the combination of black & white, and the slogans/messages/words/phrases in colour. It is very affective in grabbing the viewers’ attention.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

When looking at magazines or newspapers, the use of photographs and illustrations are very effective for visual communication. When looking at articles online, I find that video clips of events like protests are even more effective as it is a more truthful representation of the event, it has the ability to powerfully capture the emotions behind a protest. I also think video clips of an event like this is more memorable as it captures the energy and atmosphere of a protest. It portrays the emotions involved and the importance of it for the protesters. They are speaking up for something they believe in, for something they think is important and for something that needs to change.

REFLECTION:

When looking at the website: http://www.reportager.org, I found it very inspiring looking at all the different Reportage Illustrators and the variety of events they capture through their illustrations.

Currently there are a lot of ‘Am I Next?’ protests happening in South Africa. The protests are being organised to spread awareness about the violence against women in South Africa and in order to ask the country’s laws to be changed for more strict prosecution of offenders.

South Africa is such a beautiful country, diverse in stunning natural scenery and wonderful people. It is sad that so many people/ women live in fear every day because they don’t feel safe anywhere. When you can’t even feel safe in your own home, where can you feel safe? Although horrible crimes happen everywhere around the world, the crime rates in South Africa are extremely high, I think it is sad that such a beautiful place with such wonderful people have to experience such horrific crimes. Although these protests are specifically about the violence against women, horrible crimes are committed daily against people of all genders, ages and ethnicities.

Although I know a journalist/ photographer/ reportage illustrator is just the storyteller who is suppose to document the event objectively, without necessarily having any opinion about the event being covered, I do think it would be so much more meaningful documenting an event with a cause/ message one feels strongly about personally.

After reading about all these Reportage Illustrators, I think I would have wanted to attend one of these ‘Am I Next?’ Protests to attempt to create some Reportage Illustrations to spread awareness of the event as well as the need for it. Although I don’t think I currently have the necessary skills in order to be successful in creating Reportage illustrations, I do think it would be an interesting experience. And why not create illustrations that documents and visually communicates a message that is important in saving lives? Having the opportunity to speak up for what you believe in by using your creative skills?

NAME: Juanita du Toit

STUDENT NUMBER: 522438

COURSE: Illustration 1: Illustration Sketchbooks

The Open College of the Arts (University for the Creative Arts)

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