Monday, January 31, 2011

Stephen Shore

Though this image follows the documentary style that bothers me so much with most of Shore's work, I find the picture interesting in a way that is uncommon for this upfront, building photography. The juxtaposition of the white, brown and gray houses. Though different colors are normal and even expected, the uniformity of the designs give the impression that they should look the same in all other ways too. The flat, upfront approach serves to add to this feeling of expectant uniformness, all of which is shaken by the shift in color. 

This photograph is made up of a lot of little details that dont really strike me as that important until they are all added together. The shadow of the road sign of the far left points in to where darkened part of the road and the white line form twin arrows. The shadow of the do-not-enter sign hits the hill in such a way that it parallels the upper arm of those two arrows. The dark streak on the road is balanced with the darkening sky on the opposite side of the frame. In the same manner the white of the no-right-turn sign is balanced by the back of the sign on the left. 

To use Ron's favorite hypothetical portfolio review question, "Why should I care about this?" I honestly dont want to look at Shore's McDonnell's meal. Not only is the subject totally bland but the handling of it is just as flat. Flat overhead, florescent lighting, no highlights no shadows. Strait on I'm-about-to-eat-this-but-I-have-my-phone-so-I'll-take-a-pic-and-send-it-to-my-bff view. Oh and he doesn't even take the time to balance the pole sprouting out of the top. He didn't bother to move a couple inches to get rid of it, or a couple inches in other direction to balance it with something on the bottom. The graffiti has potential and thats probably what he saw, but really, it just didn't work. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Todd Hido

Todd Hido's pictures of the interiors of foreclosed houses shows a beautiful handling of light, color, and geometric shape. The recession of the wall, where it meets with the closet and the positioning of the doors all balance to create a simple and eloquent composition. The gentle blue and pink of the cool lighting creates and empty and deserted feeling to the space. This also illustrates how the article described the infinite number of shots that could be taken while only one is the right one. Though this room and even this corner could have been shot from any number of angles, but this one picture that the photographer chose as the "right" one, the one where all the elements align to create balance and calm.

Alec Soth

Though all architecture pictures lean towards a geometry base, this one uses it especially well. The zigzag of the stairs, ceiling and floor are balanced by the solid forms of the door and window on opposite sides. In terms of color, this picture tends towards the "ignore" tactic; what ever color is there is washed out by the flat light. The color plays little to no part in the photograph which is made up purely of composition. Again the subject of the photo has no historical or philosophical significance. In its self, the staircase isn't even a very beautiful one, it is the photograph the makes it aesthetically pleasing. It is not a recording of some eloquent quality that is evident in this rather derelict space; rather the photograph has moved past recording to create its own beauty, just as described by Szarkowski in the reading. 

Doug Dubois

The first thing to strike me about this photograph was the two dimensionality of the space. It seems entirely flat. Secondly, I was surprised by the precise arraignment of all the elements. It is so clean cut, that it is hard to believe that the dinosaur is actually flying and the cild is still in motion. The balance between the blue bottle on the right and the soup holder, as well as the child's eyes and the dinosaur is uncanny. Just as stated by the article, it is a "tension so exact that it is peace." The simplicity and just plain regularity of the subject here is a perfect example of the photography discussed in the article. The subject has no deeper significance then the "pretext for the making of color photographs." 

Friday, January 14, 2011

William Eggleston

A simple street running past a plain house, this image is transformed by the cold, wet, predawn atmosphere of the picture. There is nothing extraordinary about the subject; the attraction is in the lighting. The color almost looks like a tint and, except for a slight warming in the middle of the street, the same effect could be achieved by tinting a black and white photograph. With out the color, the image would still be just as intriguing and mysterious, but it would not have the same cold morning feel that this gives me. I think I like the use of the color for the place setting; it adds an extra piece of information. The large amount of void black in the bottom left bothers me, although the reflective bit of wall does serve to break it up just enough to make it passable. 

The first thing to draw me to this picture is the strong composition. It seems pretty basic, the two descending verticals leading towards the vanishing points of the four receding lines that radiate out of the center of the right half of the image. It is a simple and eloquent handling of the classic vanishing railroad. The color is a warm wash of low sunlight. The orange light brings out the yellows of the fall trees and the brown and red in the rust and decay on the tracks and posts. In black and white, the image would be far more abstracted; there would be no way off guessing time of year and day. Though it would still work in black and white, it would be far less interesting and would need a lot more contrast. 

Of all the Eggleston photos I looked at, the subject and possible 'meaning' of this held my attention far longer then any of the others. In his typical everyday style, the image is of something totally normal even obnoxiously mundane, the back of a woman's head. What makes this picture interesting is the presence of the she blots out, made apparent by the hand holding a cigarette on the opposite side of the table. In terms of color, the two dominate colors are the red of the brick and the faded green on the booths. Shades of pink and red flow through the table, the woman's shirt, and the menu. This juxtaposition of complimentary colors adds a strange tension that would not be there were the picture in black and white. I especially like the clash between the light green and the pink of the woman's shirt. Another intriguing correlation is drawn between the cigarettes that both the figures hold. These slight gestures bring the eye around that side, leading back towards the middle while some not vignetting contains the upper corners.