Hampe's "Visual Evidence" is a discussion of how to create a visual piece and what sort of topics should be represented by a visual medium. Hampe tells anecdotes of how his experiences of filmmaking help illustrate his argument. The main argument is that not every piece can be best represented by visuals. If your piece doesn't have the proper components to get your point across or if it could be better made in a different medium, then you shouldn't be using video.
Key Concepts Edit
With this particular reading, documentaries are the main visual medium discussed. Many documentaries have expert commentary to back up the claims and provide credibility. However, a documentary is a visual argument. Having people in your documentary telling you the argument of the documentary isn't very powerful. Hampe is saying that a visual medium needs visual evidence! Watching people talking about something and reading people's quotes on that same topic are just as powerful. As Hampe says, we need to "[r]ecognize that some ideas just aren't visual ideas...[a]nd there's nothing wrong with that. Unless you try to force them to become a documentary." This is a topic we've discussed in class, too. Mainly in the audio project, many people were asked why their piece was best represented in sound. Keeping the medium in mind is very important. We might not always know what the best medium is at first, but we should always strive to find this best way of making an argument and pursue it, while not being afraid to switch if we need to.
Since the reading has so many examples of its own, I'm going to refer to one of them.
One example Hampe uses to get this point across is a list of different sentences you want to record. So, imagine you have a script and it wants to portray this point. The first is "the boy runs toward the camera." This would be easy to film as you point a camera at a boy and tell him to run. The next is "the frightened boy runs toward the camera." With facial expressions, the frightened adjective could probably be conveyed. Next, however, is "the intelligent boy runs toward the camera." Now this is much more difficult because there's no way to quickly show that someone is intelligent without already establishing the fact prior. The same idea applies for the following examples: "Economics is the dismal science" and "On Tuesday, the mail didn't come".
Specific Film Example: Los Calles Hablan Edit
Los Calles Hablan is a documentary film shot in Barcelona, Spain, and it shows how graffiti ties in the city itself and showcases some of the prominent street artists in the city. Based off of Hampe's article, the documentary does a good job in using visual evidence help the audience interpret the documentary. I would say that the documentary does also rely on the interviews, but without the visuals the significance of the street art would not come across. The documentary uses a lot of shots of the different street art around the city. It's truly diverse in many ways and shows that it can be interpreted as art, and I think the documentary takes this visual evidence as a way to challenge viewers into questioning how they view street art. By also showing the artists work on the art, the documentary can show just how long of a process it is and how passionate the artists are about what they do. Telling us they are passionate is one thing, but seeing them work is another.
Relevant Keywords Edit
Resources and Further Reading Edit
- Layton-Jones, "Introduction: Visual Collections as Historical Evidence" -This article discusses the use of film collections as historical collections.
- Aaltonen, "From Evidence to Re-Enactment: History, Television, and Documentary Film" - Aaltonen explains in his article the evolution of film and documentary, and how there are now more historical documentaries on television and how this relates to academic research.
- Parsons, "Digital Stories as a Method for Evidence-Based Practice and Knowledge Co-Creation in Technology-Enhanced Learning for Children with Autism" - This article explores the use of films and visual media to enhance technology learning for children on the autism spectrum.
- van Enschot, "The Occurrence and Effects of Verbal and Visual Anchoring of Tropes on the Perceived Comprehensibility and Liking of TV Commercials" - van Enschot explores how television and advertisement viewers perceive ads and their meaning.
- Dunat, "Film Space as Mental Space" - Dunat discusses how we perceive images from film as a mental construct based on our perception of what we see on the screen.