Evidence of action

This exercise asks you to “Produce one photograph in which it can be seen something has happened.”

This to me is very wide brief (although the guidance also goes on to cover abstract ideas and concepts which, by definition, are harder to convey photographically) as I am of the view that most photos explicitly or implicitly indicate something has happened.   For instance these are some shots I took on several of my walkabouts all of which indicate as I see it some form of action taken:-

DSC02680 DSC02676 DSC02675 DSC02671-2 DSC02670-2 DSC02668-2 DSC02689 DSC02687 DSC02685-2

Some of these could be considered as implied (the shot of the postman for instance implies he’s delivered letters) or explicit (there is no ambiguity about the renovated house – especially when contrasted against its neighbour)    I like the last picture of the above set because this has all sorts of connotations.   At its simplest it evidences that a flag has been erected in a front garden but it could also indicate that the owner has certain political ideas.


In the end I opted for this shot of my mother’s recently installed stair lift.   I thought that by photographing it empty at the top of the stairs there is a clear indication of action(s) taking place – both the use of the chair and it being vacated.

This of course is not an abstract image, symbolism is something which, if I am honest, I have not used much, if at all, in my images (although a planned series, of which the shot below is a precursor, could I guess be considered as symbolic – but only if you know the references)


One of my initial shots for a planned series on the home being a prison.

Using the example cited in the exercise, insurance, I think I would consider, in addition to the examples stated, such symbols as a moat, padlock to be suitable but, like a lot of illustrative symbolism, it can depend on context.  For example a picture of smiling sleeper safely tucked up in bed could illustrate an advert extolling – in its text or commentary – the peace of mind that insurance brings.   Similarly a smashed door could symbolise the effect of not being insured – “do you want to come home to this?” or a man living rough on the street symbolising not having redundancy insurance.

As a postscript, I revisited the speed sign shown above in the postmen shot as it was not working at the time.  It was working this time and I would consider this as a viable alternative choice:-


Evidence of action – speed sign


One thought on “Evidence of action

  1. hollywoodward2013

    Hi, Richard. I like the shot you decided to use – it gives a real sense of someone invisible having gone upstairs, and has a whole story behind it. Re the idea of symbolism, I think it works really well if it is quite subtle and, when used in the home environment, utilises items that are already there in the home. Having to work a bit at understanding the meaning makes the experience of viewing more interesting. Really obvious symbolism can be seen at once, and one then moves straight on.


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