Sunday, 10 July 2022

Initial Research: Poetry & Photography

Many photographers have used poetry as inspiration for their work or part of their work, PhotoPedagogy has a brief history of this practice, you can read this by clicking on the link.  As can be seen from the image above there are some beautiful examples of Photography used as illustration. I am more interested in the Avant Garde works and 'Man Ray and  Nusch Éluard entitled Facile (1935), a beautiful publication in which images and text create an integrated and unified design.' (Nicholls, J., Tallis, T. and Ling, K. 2022), is a wonderful example of the kind of art I would like to create for this project.

The beauty of the bodies that are pulling and stretching, the hands reaching out and connecting exemplify the heart of the poem which is about connection and disconnection through the telephone. 

Looking further into how Photopoetry works; "In the photopoem," writes Boulestreau, "meaning progresses in accordance with the reciprocity of writing and figures: reading becomes interwoven through alternating restitchings of the signifier into text and image." [1] Poem and photograph encounter each other, and Boulestreau appears to suggest that the photopoème should be defined, not by its production, but its reception, as a practice of reading and looking that relies on the reader/viewer to make connections between, and create meaning from, text and image' (What is Photopoetry?, 2018)

I included this longer explanation here as I think this better defines what the photo should do and I want the reader/viewer to make the connection as stated here.  The interpretation by the photographer should be fluid and allow for many possibilities.  I spoke on John Berger in my welcome this term and in later life, he worked with the illustrator Selcuk Demirel to construct stories through text and image and I think that is possibly why this appealed to me - the connection or disconnection or perhaps gap between words and pictures that I really wanted to explore. 

In 'Smoke' Berger speaks of this deadly/dying habit and its rituals and its consequences are all beautifully illustrated by Demirel.  I will research further, more examples of photo poetry and perhaps analyse Facile further however the originals of this work are now going for between £2,000 and £6,500 so it may be difficult to find one that I can afford to read!  


Berger, J. and Demirel, S., 2017. Smoke. [online] New York Review Books. Available at: [Accessed 10 July 2022].

Nicholls, J., Tallis, T. and Ling, K., (2022). PhotoPoetry. [online] PhotoPedagogy. Available at: [Accessed 6 July 2022].

The Photographers Gallery. 2018. What is Photopoetry?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 July 2022].

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