A blurred photograph of Jesus is better than no photograph at all – the practicalities of using video as an oral history tool.
International Oral History Association Conference, University of Guadalajara, Mexico, 23-27 Setember 2008.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/86
Publisher's URL: http://www.iohanet.org/index.html
This paper deals with the use of video as an oral history tool and the importance of the visual image in understanding visual artists and their work. Oral history grew out of improvements in technology in the mid-twentieth century which allowed us to record on audio tape what people said. Whilst audio comes from the Latin ‘audire’ – to hear, video comes from the Latin ‘videre’ – to see. In fact video allows us to see and hear and this paper will argue the case for oral historians to engage more fully with video. In our multi-media, YouTube world many people now have access to a video camera and a significant number have computer software that allows them to edit – video is becoming second nature. This paper will use examples from video recorded interviews in the National Electronic and Video Archive of the Crafts to show the extent to which the visual element of the interview is crucial in fully understanding visual artists. The paper will also demonstrate the ways in which video can be misused and the pitfalls of favouring one recording methodology at the expense of others. In highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of video the author will seek to show the ways in which video, if used sensitively and judiciously can be used to greatly enhance the field of oral history and the visual arts.
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