Historical Research Workshop

Reading Response: Richards, ‘Film and Television: the moving image’

This week’s reading from Richards sheds light both on the challenges faced when using visual sources as historical evidence, and also specific techniques for their analysis. The variety of methods for evaluating the reception of films and television for example, such as letters written into fan magazines, I found particularly interesting. Richards makes clear the obstacles faced when trying to use visual sources as evidence of contemporary belief or perspective, including the censorship they were subject to and the ideological and political motives behind their manufacture. What stood out to me was his contention that in this regard there is no distinction between feature films and documentaries. Both are constructed realities that are designed to emphasis certain aspects of life, and to provoke an emotional response from the spectator.

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