Thursday, April 16, 2009


Alright, this is slightly random, but while I was leafing (scrolling) through Callie Shell's photographs (my next photographer report is on her), I stumbled across a webpage full of photographs that really blew me away. Hence this post.

I think this one really demonstrates how powerful the connection between the subject and the camera can be, especially in pictures of people. I love this photograph, particularly because the man in the middle is staring at the camera. You can't see the faces of anyone else in the picture, which sort of pushes them into the background and really pulls you into the point of view of the man in the center. I love how busy this scene is, yet how isolated he looks. Even the colors (gray and white in the middle of green and brown) set this guy apart from the rest of the photograph, and I think that's incredible. One of the things I came to believe/realize after Mr. Crane's lecture was that photography has to communicate with someone, and I think that this is a spectacular example of that.

This? This is creepy. But I love it. Again, the colors (something light in the middle of an overall dark photograph) isolate the subject. Also, the person in the photograph (who I think looks kind of like a ghost...) looks almost out of place. The background is very vague, but at the same time the kind of polished granite look makes the subject seem like he is somewhere they don't belong. However (and I'm not sure if this makes sense anywhere outside of my head...), they also seem sure about their position, if not entirely comfortable. Often when people are out of place they're very shy, and leave quickly, something they're all too eager to do. But this person doesn't look like he's going anywhere. It's like he knows that he doesn't belong here, but that fact alone isn't going to move him. He's rooted to the spot, even if it's not his.

This photograph is one that only gets scarier the longer you look at it. At a first glance I only got the general gist of the picture - a woman being pushed away by a line of scary guys with sheilds. But then I started noticing little details that are frankly disturbing. For example, look down at the feet. I like how hers are in motion, raised and uneven, and I think it's pretty creepy that the shoes two feet to the left are absolutely still, and the man is just standing there. She's putting forth the effort to fight, but he doesn't look like he needs to do anything to combat her. Which is probably one of the scariest things in the world - an indestructible enemy.

Also, look at the bat coming out from behind the wall of black sheilds right above her head. It makes me wonder what happened about a second after this photograph was taken. Also, it's a little bit horrifying. These men clearly outnumber her, are larger, stronger, not holding children, and very well protected (against someone who really doesn't seem like a threat). Yet they're merciless and violent anyway. It seems (to me, at least) that this photograph kind of raises questions about humanity/morality, questions about what you can do to another human being and the extent that you can do it to.

A final note: look at her hand. At first I thought she was just running away, hand outstretched, maybe reaching for help, safety, etc. But then I realized no, that's not the case at all. She is in fact holding on to one of the sheilds. She's completely defenseless (and so is the seemingly oblivious child she is holding), but she doesn't back down. She is still fighting to the best of her ability, which seems kind of astounding. Of all the photographs on this webpage, this was the one that really jumped out at me most, and it is by far my favorite.

So, on that note...

Random post over, back to work with writing journals.


Mr. Patteson said...

Nice post. These are very interesting images. The first two are definitely staged (tableaux), which makes me think the last one must be too, though it doesn't quite have the same otherworldly look. Hmmmmmm.....

If these are all staged, how does that affect your response to them versus if they were "captured"?

Mr. Patteson said...

p.s. let's count this as one of your research assgts. Very thoughtful stuff.