Day 07: Documentation

Group dynamics.

Top: Officers of the Optodev Workers' Union spend idle time at their union office on a Sunday to participate in a focus group discussion about the situation of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Optodev Inc. is a subsidiary of Essilor International, a multi-national ophthalmic lens manufacturing company, with a factory situated in an export processing zone in Laguna, Philippines.

Bottom: Workers of Wolf Fang trucking agency at a labor rights seminar

If in yesterday's entry, I shared about my renewed personal interest in photography, here I would like to talk about coming across its place in documentation work. I knew that I liked taking photos, but I still struggle answering what for? The popular use of photography that I know of is "telling stories," as in the work of photojournalism. But I feel hesitant to position myself along those lines. By design, stories start and end somewhere. Essentially, where they start and where they end are imposed by the storyteller. From my experience, journalism can even teach you multiple mechanisms, like how to construct your sentences, to hide yourself, the storyteller, from the story. Maybe these are things that are being challenged by now.

I feel more comfortable with positioning how I work with photos along the lines of documentation and archives, especially since shifting towards the Library and Information Studies (LIS) field. Putting things on record. What things looked like at a certain time. A story could still be there. Contemporary archival theories are increasingly aware about a record's ability to evolve over time. As the person holding the camera clicking the shutter, my voice and authority over the narrative is part of the record. Then a viewer's alternative interpretation becomes part of it too. Each touch of the record creates a slight change. New meaning, or new knowledge, can be derived from its accumulation in ways a singular view of the record, as in stories, could not have arrived at. 

Entry 07 / End of Week 1 / #100Days 


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