Documentry Essay

759 Words Apr 9th, 2011 4 Pages
Communication Styles

Documentaries are an important way in determining the way we construct history and memory. The word document is originated from the Latin word docere, which means to teach. It is also used to describe a piece of paper that demonstrates evidence. Today, films, photographs, and even recordings are correspondingly considered as documents.
In Robert Coles book Doing documentary work, Chapter one “The Work: Locations in Theory” he claims that when doing a documentary, the researcher must express his or her perspective in the story they choose to tell. “A close reading of what they ultimately wrote about their experiences, helps clarify our thinking about the various ways observers can respond to what they have seen
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Robert Cole classifies tape recorded material as audio journal and explains how helpful these recordings are to better understand of what he is hearing and seeing in connection to his work as a “participant observer”, work mainly done with SNCC. Cole also felt that he could learn more by being able to listen a second time (36). Another form of a documentary is a photo essay; they rely on simple truth. A photo essay contains a series of photographs that tells a story and attracts the viewer as to just using words. “A photo essay engages the viewer at a very personal level. While people can respond to written stories intellectually, photography essays often create an instant emotion within the viewer” (photography essay). Robert Cole also provides an example of photo essay. Dorothea Lange, was a portrait photographer of the well-to-do in San Francisco. Photos she took were in the early 1930s during the world of the Great Depression (42).
Web exhibits also fall into the category of documentaries. They are like physical museums but to our great advantage it is available at our fingertips. “A true online exhibit not only promotes discovery and exploration, but it also provides quality information built on a breadth and depth of knowledge, employs a variety of tools that support multiple learning styles, and supports structured educational efforts”(What’s an Exhibit). A benefit to having a web exhibit is that there is no limited space; it can contain much more
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