The two main themes which we were able to choose from were purity and austerity. Both are two very different from each other and with great thought and effort, a good photo story will be able to be created if research was thorough and included enough interest into the theme.
What is Purity?
Purity is mostly described as being free from anything else, such as taints and impairs. A good description could be that it is clear from anything else and nothing else is included in it. A man named Oswald Chambers once said that ‘gold must be heated and and melted to rid all impurities, it is then unmixed with any other substance and becomes pure gold’. A lot of people see religion as purity and believe that Jesus is the only completely pure person who ever lived, this is why a lot of people look up to him, to try and aspire to be like him. There are many different kinds of purity, this being within relationships, such as being all loving and having no flaws of selfishness or lying. Athletic is another, this being no cheating or decieving, Work which involves no disobedience or laziness and the most well known being sexual, with things such as no sex before marriage and no impure thoughts.
What is Austerity?
Austerity is the trait of great self-denial, this refraining themself from worldly pleasures. It can also mean the condition of of living without things that are not necessary and without comfort. They also have limited money and goods. This could be due to an earlier experience or just a habit of living like this, a lot of people can look at it as being ‘stingy’ in the modern day if they have enough money but aren’t willing to spend a little extra for something a little more. Austere is the definition of being stern, cold and rigid, the best example of this is a ‘nun school teacher’, this is because she would not be lenient and isn’t afraid to enforce order without showing mercy. Another example of this is extreme simplicity of style and appearance such as a huge plain white room. Another great example which I found was this ‘In economic terms: poverty. In behavioural terms: harshness.’ If looking at economics, it is when a government reduces its spending to pay back creditors. Austerity means that in time of recession such as the government reducing spending, then one should cut back on spending and budget money instead of spending how they normally would.
I have decided to focus on looking at Austerity, this is because I believe it to be a more difficult aspect than looking at purity, when I searched for photographers of purity, there were so many to choose from, but with austerity, that was a different matter. This photograph was taken by James Galpin, it was produced for a competition which was themed ‘Austerity Britain’ after researching the full definition of Austerity, I believe this gives off a brilliant vibe, the first visual thing you see is the fact that it gives off no colour, this is therefore stating that austerity is a dull time and there is nothing really good about it. Then you can see that the area is quite a wide open space, this then showing that it is quite a plain picture and very simplistic. There also isn’t many signifiers in the picture apart from the house itself, chairs, table and maybe a few decorations, this showing that the person has obviously limited and budgeted themselves at this present time. Or another reason could be they might be the type of people to be very plain and also quite snobby with their money, not wanting to spend on things they believe that aren’t needed and live of basics.
Another photographer which I found based on the theme of Austerity was Wendelien Daan. As I am interested in fashion, Daan is in fact a fashion photographer herself, this photogaph was shot quite recently and is bringing back the theme of ‘new’ austerity. Although the picture involves a bit of colour I think it reacts with the dull background shades and also the clothing to make an impact. These pictures represent the fashion of austerity, this being minimalistic as well as severly plain.
Another photograph I found which was taken by Magnetomotive shows a different can of austerity. This links in with government cut backs, as they could have been living like any normal human being but because of recession, everything may have been taken away from them. Although some people openly live from basics, these people have to. This is a very moving image taken in NY and shows these people sleeping in places where people take for granted.
A man named Joseph Turp came up with a series of photographs in 2009, these representing ‘Austerity Games’. His photographs are published in the University of London and represent the 1948 olympics, showing people who took part six decades later in a simple form including things such as their achievements and memorables. Joseph himself says, “My images aim to show the Olympians in glorious, honest detail; capturing the beauty of these lived-in faces. These portraits are a celebration of the 1948 London Olympics, and those who participated in them. The preparation for the 1948 ‘Austerity Games’ was chaotic. There was no time, no money, and little sponsorship. Athletes often had to fund their own transport, race without any knowledge of the track they were faced with, and bunk down in the nearest RAF barracks. There was no Olympic village, only an Olympic spirit. Despite this, ‘The Austerity Games’ were a great success, and boosted morale after the war.” This proves that even due to lack of money and hardly any sponsorshop, there can still come achievements and proves that during the time of austerity, not everything has to be a dull place. Here are some of the photographs which were taken by him,
After researching thoroughly into this theme, I have definitely came to a final definition of austerity which I would use myself. This is that austerity represents a somewhat cold time in many people’s lives, showing signs or lack of qualities and just living with the necessaties. It also has made me realise that their are not two but three types of people, the first being those who are living in poverty whether it is due to recession or have been throughout their lives, then there are those who balance out and hold back their money whilst austerity is going on and lastly those who are basically the higher class and live with their riches but only purchase the simple things which they believe they need. This basically is showing the difference between the poor, rich and the in-between.