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    Reflecting On Documentary Research

    As the spring semester comes to a close, I am beginning to reflect on this class, Documentary Research. To start off the year, we started small with the concepts surrounding location, voice, and ethics behind documentary work. We looked at pieces by Robert Coles and Bill Nichols that built upon our understanding of becoming a documentarian. Simultaneously, we watched films like Stranger with a Camera and Banished that allowed us to see what we were learning about put into action. At first, I struggled a bit to think like a documentarian but as the semester went on, my learning for the subject soared and I began to think, act, and…

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    Alumni Week

    Coming into this week, I was not sure what to expect considering this was my first Alumni Week here at Muhlenberg. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Beginning with my interview with Lisa Siciliano, we discussed her times in college as well as her career journey. I loved hearing about her experiences at Viacom, especially how she currently works with Nickelodeon. Lisa gave me the impression that working in the entertainment industry was very fun and exciting. Next, I really loved hearing Sadie Katz speak about Classpass, a fitness subscription service. Being that I want to work in the sports world, her stories were so intriguing to me. I loved that…

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    Lange’s “Lost” Location

    Throughout Dorothea Lange’s life she has traveled all over the country and the world. East coast to west coast and across oceans to capture people in her photography. With so many differing subjects and settings, it is easy to wonder what makes up Lange’s location as a documentarian. She says, “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” This quote is representative of how she takes on her work in documentary photography. Lange often discusses getting “lost” in the moment and experiences to fully, visually grasp a situation. Lange’s location is not so simple, not so stagnant. It is very much a dynamic shadow…

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    Just a small town girl?

    As I began watching A Stranger With A Camera, I was intrigued by the many perspectives that were involved in the history of this 1960’s criminal case and in the more present day documentary. Particularly, I was interested on Elizabeth Barret’s take on the murder of Hugh O’Connor as she was a resident of Letcher County, Kentucky during this time period. In reference to her location, she says she is “a wife, neighbor, and mother with a camera”, implying her personal biases that will be exhibited throughout the film. To dissect that even further, the first part of the quote that mentions that she’s a wife, neighbor, and mother relates…

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    Objectivity versus Subjectivity

    “The issue, finally, becomes one of judgement, and thereby a subject matter: an opinion of someone whose mind has taken in all that information, that documentation, and then given it the shape of sentences, of words used, with all their suggestive possibilities.” (Page 21) In particular, this quote stood out to me as it related to documentary work. One of the primary ways in which documentary work can become biased is through our own personal judgement on those we document. Due to the difficulty of being purely impartial, it is only right that documentarians try to be aware of their subjectivity. The way in which others present their story should…

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