Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The looking machineEssays on cinema, anthropology and documentary filmmaking$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David MacDougall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526134097

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526134097.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 18 November 2019

Looking with a camera

Looking with a camera

Chapter:
(p.15) 2 Looking with a camera
Source:
The looking machine
Author(s):

David MacDougall

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526134097.003.0003

This chapter presents the camera as a ‘looking machine’ that extends human perception. However, photography and film fix the act of looking, placing further constraints on who can look at what, and forcing the act of looking into specific channels. The constraints take the form of artistic conventions in filmmaking itself, commercial pressures, community standards of propriety, legal and ethical concerns, and ultimately self-censorship. Filmmakers often compromise their work by colluding too closely with the aims of sponsors and the film subjects themselves. The author suggests that all these forces pose serious challenges to the ability of filmmakers to represent honestly what they see, resulting in lop-sided portrayals of human experience, particularly in documentary cinema. He argues that it may therefore be necessary to make ‘impolite’ films that challenge viewers’ cultural rigidity and ethnocentrism.

Keywords:   photography, filmmaking, censorship, documentary, ethics

Manchester Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.