Secondary Research: Bill Owens

Bill Owens Suburbia
Owens creates this narrative structure through photographing a suburban community in America, and then using the subjects quotes as a caption that is on the same page as the image. Each piece of text adds an amount of information to each portrait.Although, having this narrative form, the book focuses on the migration of the city folk moving to the suburbs.

“The migration was all around him – it was as if he was being swallowed up in it. Everywhere he turned, houses were springing up, row upon row; what had been farmland one day was a city the next… And there, around him every day, was this new, stunning social phenomenon. And so he began photographing it – understanding that he was witnessing something special, that these people were in the best American way buying not just houses, but dreams of a better life.” – Owens, S (1999). Suburbia. New York: Fotofolio. 5.

When flicking through this book I discovered that Owens has a very documental approach to photographing people of the suburbs and their surroundings.
When looking at the images throughout the book, all the captions that accompany the pictures are created by the people featured in the photograph. This gives the images a more personal response for the viewers to read – it tells us THEIR and makes the pictures look less documental.
One picture in particular grabbed my attention in particular – it is I wanted Christina to learn some responsibility for cleaning her room, but it didn’t work. In this image, there is a young girl sitting on a bed in a room full of toys that looks messy. Looking at this image jogged my memory of a photograph that my mother took of me at a similar age, and in a similar situation (I thought it would be good to display all my toys from my chest all over the floor in my bedroom). I really liked how this image managed to jog my memory and allowed me to have a little bit of a laugh at the image due to the humorous caption. Having this effect on his is something I would love to be able to encorporate with my images in my publication.

Having captions to go with the images is something I would like to consider as one of my outcomes for my publication for this project. Having short, simple captions will help to give my audience an insight into my personal life – making it personal both to me and my viewers.

I wanted Christina to learn some responsibility for cleaning her room, but it didn’t work.









We enjoy having these things.











Sunday afternoon we get it together. I cook the steak and my wife makes the salad.




Project Proposal.

BA (Hons) Photography

Project Proposal

1. AIMS: SUBJECT, TREATMENT A brief description of the project you are carrying out, including the subject matter, narrative strategy and /or structure used for each narrative and intended outcome. Name a few key references (artists and/or theory) relevant to your approach or theme.

(Be brief and concise, use key words and specialist terminology whenever possible)

I aim to create a presentation that is video based on myself growing up and the changes I faced throughout the period of time. For my presentation video, I aim to use Flashback/Memory narrative structures as I feel I can personally relate to the images and will be able to give the audience a brief understanding of my life, by either adding text or experimenting with voice recordings.


For my publication, I will try to create a photo-album (or something in the scrap-book style) using found imagery of myself from an early age to present day. For this publication I aim to make it in a Linear narrative structure as well as focusing on Memory too, but maybe incorporating a family member’s input with captioning my photographs (as if seen through somebody else’s eyes).


RESEARCH: Roland Barthes, David Campany, Linear/Flashback/Memory Narrative, Victor Burgin, Araki Nobuyoshi, Nicholas Nixon – Brown Sisters.

2. SKILLS AND RESOURCES REQUIREMENTSIdentify the skills you think you will need to develop and the resources you envisage being required

  • Looking into the family archive albums
  • Familiarize myself with Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Scanning images to the highest  quality – recapping.
  • Get to terms with Indesign – recapping on it to help me create my publication
  • Book Binding – look into how books/photograph albums are made? Maybe look into scrap-book style
  • Blogging – familiarize myself with WordPress
  • Restoring the quality of images to place into the album – or doing the reverse and making them look older? Experiment.
4. OBJECTIVES AND OUTCOMESWith reference to Assessment Requirements and Learning Outcomes for this project, specify what you intend to achieve by the end of the unit and what you hope to have learned.

1)  To have researched and analyzed in depth all research (primary and secondary)to show an understanding of my journey into creating my digital presentation and publication.

2)  To gain a better knowledge as to how to use video-editing software to create a presentation other than using Microsoft PowerPoint.

3)  Archiving images of myself/organize them in a time-line order to show progression of me growing up and changing over the years.
Using found images for this project, to clearly demonstrate how I went about this and using industry-standard equipment to create my presentation and publication.

4)  Creatively make a presentation that explores the use of text or audio.
To creatively make a photo album/scrap book that an audience can interact with.



When planning and writing your Project Proposal, keep in mind the Aims of the Narrative unit:


A1         Research and critically analyse various narrative strategies

A2         Develop an understanding of how the presentation and editing of the same images and/or text may be employed to construct alternate narratives

A3         Experiment with techniques and modes of production and presentation relevant to narrative

A4         Apply narrative as a strategy to represent a given theme