Dialogue, Document, Discourse

An Introduction to the photographic practices of Malcolm Hutcheson


indusrtial-area-misri-shah-including-joseph-colonyDocumentary as a medium, within the gallery space, has shed its genre specificity and freed itself of the cycloptic vision to provide multiple interpretations within single events. The Gallery is a place for experimentation and innovation where we can bring together a new documentary form, a hybrid convergent medium which uses sound, video, writing and single images to impart effect. What this amounts to is a re-evaluation of both image studies and convergent histories where the central narrative is within the control of the artist and not directed by media troupes.  The freedom this imparts requires documentary artists to re-engage with subjects on multiple fronts and over extended time periods to re-tell familiar stories in a variety of new forms.
Only images which directly challenge their conventional uses are of interest. Only images which engage beyond their surface to reveal their operation as part of their structure have sufficient life to fill the gallery space. It is necessary at all times to challenge the conventional reading of images but it would be a mistake to separate that concept from the study of reality forms which imply both a philosophical and practical engagement with the real. Therefor in representational systems, the subjects role in the triangle made of reality/subject, practitioner/documentarist and market/audience has to be of major concern when reading the images proposed in my work. joseph-colony-1st-display-004-copyBecause the works are complex does not mean they are not concerned with the real problems and suffering which are described within them, for without direct engagement the works would become sophistic. But the traditional forms of documentary photography which signal direct engagement with subjects have become ridden with the cliche of sentimentality and confused by issues of truth and authenticity. Most photojournalism barely rises above a form of emotional manipulation of the ‘other’ while ignoring the corrupting power structures inherent in the medium itself. I look towards a new discursive space where reality image constructs replace photo-agency packaging and committed engagement replaces the self serving of the ’Artist’s Vision’.

Image 1. Badami Bagh, (Almond Garden), Lahore 2015. 
Image 2. Sound Piece with hand written translation, 2014.