Friday, 24 February 2012

Section 5 Context

Photography is in a constant state of flux, forever changing and developing. The things that drive these changes a far wider than the immediate and obvious. Within one of the UAL Level 3 courses the students have to look at the wider contexts that affect and drive photography and force the changes that we all see.

One of the biggest and most historic changes centred around the British photographer David Bailey. The things that came together to enable that change are the things that were happening in the wider context - things associated with...

Society, Politics, economics, sub-culture, art, class, war, attitude, education, media and more.

Watch this video (It's in two parts) and you'll start to see how the wider contexts affect change within photography...

Things that might have affected David Bailey’s and everyone’s lives prior to and throughout the 1960’s…
·         WWII The Bombing of the East End (Including Bailey’s own house forcing him to move to East Ham).
·         The fact that he suffered from Dyslexia and suffered at school and was rejected by the London School of Printing when applied for college.
·         Conscription into the RAF where he learned Photography.
·         Working with John French as an assistant.
Meanwhile in the USA – (The USA recovered from WWII far quicker than Britain).
·         1950’s economic boom.
·         Rock ‘n’ Roll – white musicians influenced by black blues musicians create the genre Rock ‘n’ Roll.
·         Buoyant economy = more cash, better education, more free-time, the teenager is born.
1950’s Britain -
·         Late 1950’s, Middle Class Kids at a Jewish school in North London who are into Modern Jazz and Italian styling and design adopt the name ‘Modernists’ and designate Lambretta’s and Vespa’s as their mode of transport. The name is soon shortened to ‘Mods’. Their choice of music was music from the west coast of the USA and Jamaica – Blues, Soul, SKA. The mods shared the same feelings as the African Americans – repression; they wanted similar things – self-determination, freedom to do what they wanted to do, their way.
·         1961 – The wide spread introduction of the contraception pill giving women choices and freedom with regards to their own sexuality.
·         1960’s economic boom in the wake of the USA’s economic boom, meaning that young people had money to spend, were able to move jobs and for the first time ever make decisions about what they did, where they went and what they wore.
·         Harold Wilson (Labour) wins the general election.
·         By 1963 the Mods phenomenon is hijacked by the media and every kid in the country becomes a ‘Mod’, with the exception of the backward looking Rockers and Teds.
·         1964 – Easter Bank Holiday riots at Clacton on Sea -  “Mods and Rockers”.

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