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.