Guest Speaker: Jillian Edelstein

Jillian Edelstein is a London based, freelance, portrait/documentary photographer. She has worked for many publications and has been exhibited and published worldwide.

In the lecture, Jillian Edelstein describes her photography in reference to a cultural heritage, and more about the decisive moment. She focuses on the African Culture and issues, on portraiture, picking moments which significantly reflects something poignant about images, with a narrative story. it is about developing the “photographer’s eye”.

In her photo series ‘truth and lies’, Jillian Edelstein admits she sometimes direct images if her subjects are traumatized by circumstances. Objects that portray the characteristics of her subjects help to bring out the narrative element; perhaps to signifies anger. the whole idea was, to identify the quintessential of the image.

Most of her works were portraitures but with a documentary approach to her subjects. This sometimes poses an issue, that is, to look at subjects in ‘colonial eyes’.  I wanted to find out if this was true of her.

Hence, I raised a question:
Do you consider your images having a provocative element?

Admittedly, yes, but subtly. She uses humour to ‘make fun’ of situations, poking fun at the establishment. In essence, it is anything that creates comments is a success in ‘provocation’.

Through her responses, I found that there are many approaches to creating provocative images. For Jillian Edelstein, the provocativeness is not in the image, but what the audience make of. This response had been useful in my essay report.