JULIAN GERMAIN (12.01.2010)

The work of Julian Germain seems to have a theme of wanting to give some kind of message to his viewer. In 1995, he went to Brazil and started a project where he worked with street children. He gave them all cheap 35mm, disposable cameras with a flash, to take photographs of whatever they wanted. The group of children and Germain would meet up every one or two days to review the photographs taken. By carrying out this project, he managed to document the lives of these people.  

To show people what their lives were like, for better understanding, and any potential help to be gained for these street children, an exhibition was arranged in 2002. This wasn't any ordinary exhibition; he printed large posters of these images and put them up in the streets where people couldn't ignore them, and where no effort was needed to view them. They also made newspapers with their photos in and handed them out for free. The posters made were sold for £150.

I think the way Julian Germain presented these images shows his intelligence; not many people would have seen them if he had held an exhibition that people had to attend. Unfortunately people are blind to what is going on around them, and often don't care enough to notice; by shoving these photos underneath people's noses, many more people would have got to at least see them photographs, and opinions would have been more likely to develop in more people's minds. I think his exhibition was clearly a success if he sold the works of the street children for £150.

Germain says that he wanted the photographs to represent the people in them, and to show "that these people are capable of expressing strong, intelligent feelings and deep human emotions". These images not only document and record the life style of the people within the works, but has a strong meaning and message to them. They show courage, resistance, deprivation and inequality of the world. Germain got people discussing these issues, and educated more people about what was going on around them.

Overall, I would say that Julian Germain's work is a good example of photographic media, because the visual communication of the work is so strong. I think from his work, you learn how important it is for your images to have some 'visual voice' to call out to the viewer and say something; even if it doesn't matter, you're photographs should just say something. I think that this work contrasts strongly against Joe Cornish's pieces; they don't say a lot at all, they're just picturesque - documentary at a push. I much prefer this body of work because it has a non-fiction story to grip you, and it has an important message to you as a viewer.

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