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The Significance of the Word ´Narrative´ Essay

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In this essay I will analyse the significance of the word ‘narrative’ by using the examples which I have chosen too understand how it provides us with the information to connect with visual images.

The examples that I have chosen are: the first in a set of three paintings by Augustus Leopold Egg named ‘Past and Present, No. 1’, a photography by Jeff Wall named ‘Insomnia’, and, a photograph by Tom Hunter named ‘The Way Home’.

The artist Augustus Leopold Egg painted my first example, ‘Past and Present, No. 1’, in 1858. Fowle (2000) suggested that this panting shows a family in an ordinary house setting, but we see the mother and wife lying on the floor as her husband has exposed her of her infidelity. We also see the two daughters in the background playing, unknowing of their parents’ situation.



The photographer Jeff Walls took my second example, ‘Insomnia’, in 1994.
Fremin (2010) highlighted the fact that

‘Jeff Wall’s Insomnia is a definitive example of a staged environment where the human figures relates to the space in a psychological way which evokes the feeling of being confined both in the space and in the figure’s psyche. The frantic expression on the man’s face animates the otherwise motionless image and suggests that there was some sort of physical or internal struggle which left him laying under the table, panicking and sweaty. I believe this image is the result of an encounter, whether it was physical or mental, that has left the man in distress and incapable of finding comfort through sleep’



The photographer Tom Hunter took my third and final example, ‘The Way Home’, in 2000. Cotton (2004) suggested that this photograph is a modern-day remake of a Victorian painting by John Everett Mallais named ‘Ophelia’ i...


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... want to find and look for the beginning of the story that it is telling. The image should show the story telling moment. Unlike a film, an image only shows one moment of a scene or story, so that moment it is portraying needs to display a real atmosphere to engage the viewer.

To conclude, from the research I have found, it is suggested that there are many mixed opinions on how narrative forms are represented. The way people see narrative varies, whether people don’t see paintings or photographs as a form of narrative or not. In my opinion, from my examples, I believe they fit the requirements to be a type of narrative as they show a moment, an almost screen shot, of a, could be, film or television programme. Depending on the story in which they are telling, I think that it all depends on how powerful the story is and whether or not it can be captured in one frame.



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