[Accessed 16 October 2016].
KRESS,G, and VAN LEEUWEN, T (2006). Reading Images; the Grammar of Visual Design second edition. london, New York. Routledge
Lois Netter is a reportage artist, studying for a PhD at Portsmouth University. This paper was published for TRACEY as part of the Drawing and Visualization research programme, Feb 2014.
Netter looks at the particular drawing challenges facing a reportage artist and how these require the development of a personal schematic visual language.
He explains how the response to the subject is as much about editing and imagination, as about documentation of place and subject. Essential sketchbook drawing as an aide memoire combines with this personal set of symbols to enable the reportage artist to work at speed. Ronald Searle’s Japanese prisoner of war drawings are used as an example. The second part of the paper looks at the communicative value of the sketched line (as opposed to a reworked drawing), and how mistakes, overdrawing and suggestion, engage the viewer. George Grosz and Mario Minchiello are examples. Finally Netter explains the process of composition and compilation of images to make a drawing, and how he uses line quality to imply character.
Netter makes valid points about developing a personal language and about the value of drawing constantly in a sketchbook. The paper also poses some important questions for the reader, though not explicitly. Drawing on location requires a memory bank of shorthand symbols, which is definitely improved and enlarged with practice in the field. The skill comes with editing what is seen. Obviously all drawn images are symbols and metaphors for life (Kress and VanLeeuwen 2006 p 8), but there is a difference between re using a shorthand image, and searching for visual language which represents what is before you? Netter states that reportage is as much about invention. How much can you invent before it ceases to be reportage?