Monday, October 25, 2010

Sandy Skoglund

A lot of the respect I have for artists comes from the effort that goes into their work, and the amount of work that must have gone into an image like this is incredible. I think that most people would have just made one of the cats, tossed it on a stand and called it finished. However Skoglund went through the effort of having this entire image created before she even pulled out the camera. In terms of imagery, I love the chaotic effect that the marauding cats seem to have. The way they interact with the rest of the set makes them appear to be alive and moving. The use of color is also very strong; obviously the colors were not random luck and were deliberately put into the set for a purpose. I feel as though the grey gives the objects a dead look, allowing the cats to be the real life of the shot. 

More cats, though this time, not nearly as successful. Honestly, this one looks like a bad photoshop job. I know that the color of the cats is real because they are the same cats that are in the other shot, but the blue of the world around is probably done with photoshop. Also, the photo doesn't have the same feeling of widespread chaos as the other one. The fact that the cats are all with in the frame makes it seem like you are seeing all of them; it has none of the implied 'more to come' that the other one holds. Finaly, the clutter of the city takes away from the clutter of the cats. It seems almost normal, which is contrary to everything that Skoglund does. 

This image stood out to me because of the apparently natural environment. There is no color manipulation, no posed people, it just seems to be a bunch of large blue leaves in a field. Typical Skoglund stuff. I really enjoy the implied narratives that show up in all of her work. This one for example seems to be leading some where and coming from some where else. Though we can probably see all of the leaves, it seems like they could go on for ever in either direct, "as far as the eye can see" as the title puts it. The use of the borders and grass to cut of the leaves before they end allows for the effect, adding an element of mystery to the already strange scene. These are all elements I am trying to focus on in my own work. As I construct sets, I want them to look like they are part of a larger world and not contained by the frame. I want the mystery of a before and after to show just as much as it does in Skoglunds work.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Keith Carter

The beauty of this photograph is found in the use of focus and blur. The hard edge of the hand is just enough to anchor the boy in the bubble while the fraction of a reflection gives the impression of a watery platter form or deck. The way in which the light defines the bubble through the black shape and then turns dark as the edge enters the light creates a truly stunning reversal of tone. The blurring of the image may have been achieved with a lenses baby or tilt focus lens. Shallow depth of field provides the blur that engulfs everything else. Though I find most blur photography cliché, this is an image the inspires me to strive for similar effect.

We have all seen light trails with headlights and airplanes, flash lights and glow sticks, but moths in spot light is a new one. Not only is the idea new and interesting, the execution is beautiful. The swirling of the insects as they are drawn in makes for a much more interesting photo then the straight lines of a moving car, and the way in which many of the insects flap their wings creates a unique bead like pattern. The inclusion of the moon adds a sort of scene setter. This picture makes me want to set up a light and camera on some warm summer night back home and wait to see what I get.

This is my favorite of Keith Carter’s photographs. It used to hang on the corkboard in my high school dark room and would constantly fascinate me. The size of the leafs in comparison with the apparently emaciated children has always caused me to question which really is in front. The light playing through the jar adds to the already mysterious quality that the soft focus lends the picture. The reflections on the water and light in the foliage complete the picture. How the photographer managed to throw the children so far out of focus while still retaining detail in the back ground is beyond me, but it certainly creates an amazing image.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sabastiao Salgado

The tonal range of this photograph is one of the most beautiful I have seen in a long time. The soft quality of the light, the hazy background and the overcast sky, make the atmosphere of the image strangely surreal. The placement of the figures, the eye contact of the two largest and the gesture of the child are really the subject of the photo. The shot is balanced by the figure facing away in the middle ground. Even though the tallest man was notably dogged, the effect is not glaringly painful. All in all, I think this picture is a true mastery of art. 

Yannis Behrakis

The juxtaposition of the poster and the boy, both of whom are looking right at the lens, is what fascinates me about this image. Though the tonal range is slightly washed out by the presence of the window, the bar running through the middle provides enough solid information to get past the blur of the glass and the reflected landscape. The image is segmented in several different ways: the flat poster and the boy, the interior and the exterior, the reflection and what is behind the reflection. All of these devisions create a complexity that is hard to achieve in a picture this flat. 

Dean Armstrong

I think it is the deliberate motion blur that drew me to the shot. At first, I thought it was fog but at a second glance I realized he just has shaky hands. However, I feel it works with the look of the picture. The ancient, timeless structure, the classic sepia tone, it all adds to the feeling of an old photograph taken of some great mystery as two civilizations begin to collide. Were the picture in sharp focus, I wouldn't have given it a second glance. It is the compilation of all the different tools that make this photograph something intriguing. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Architecture is always an interesting part of photography. In photo 1 I used it to achieve abstractions through close ups of reflections, and earlier this semester I used them as the subject of my “Abandon City” series. Here, Caputo uses the building as a backdrop, a stage curtain for his subjects, the two talking women. He arranges the frame the make the figures seem small and insignificant, overshadowed by the size and complexity of the architecture.  However he uses the soft blue shadows and light pink highlights to tie it all together, connecting the pink of one of the woman’s dresses with the pink of the walls and the blue of the second woman’s dress with the blue of the shadows.

Rae Barnes

Wedding and portrait photography is, next to advertisement, is the photography that I have the hardest time respecting.  Not that I don’t think it is an art, but I find that wedding and portrait photography is just too popular. Everyone does it. However, not ever portrait photographer cuts off the heads of their subjects. The fact that Rae was able to show the emotion and connection of this family through simple gesture of their bodies without using their faces is a crucial element to making this picture beautiful. It is far too easy to lean on the expressions on people faces to portray emotion, but a photographer who can show both emotion and relations without the use of the head is truly an artist to be admired.

Arthur Tress

The light illumination the sheet from behind is truly what makes this photograph. It silhouettes the tree and allows the gust of wind to turn it into an extension of the undulating shape of the tree, like a massive unified piece of foliage. The filter used to darken the sky and the flowing sand dunes tie the picture together allowing for interesting shapes from one border to the next. I picked this image because of the use this strong use of light. It is a feature that I strive to achieve in my own work, and one that when present, really makes a photograph.