Project 4 – Documentary as art – Sarah Pickering research

Sarah Pickering has worked with the emergency services, pyrotechnic manufacturers, TV prop makers and the police to produce her images.

In Public Order, Pickering creates a set of images that viewers believe to be a derelict town. On a more in depth look at the images, it is made know that this is a fabricated place used for emergency services training.

On first look at the photographs, it made me feel uneasy, as it looked like it could have been taken in a normal town at a time of day where there are no people presence. The imminent presence of people in photography makes it haunting, and uncomfortable, for in documentary photography we are used to there being a human presence.

The damage to the area (smoke stained walls, and crashed cars) make the viewer concerned as to what the ‘town’ has experienced. When the viewer find out that none of this is ‘real’, they begin to wonder why a place like this exists, and they begin to worry about future disasters that the emergency services are preparing for. The subjectivity she creates in this image, is canny.

In all of this series, Pickering creates an alternate, but no lesser, reality for the viewer.

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