Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Library Journal Assignment

Nicole Henderson on Wright Morris, Origin of A Species Series, Sidewalk in an Abandoned Development, South of Cleveland, Ohio circa 1948
-Has a wide tonal range and even lighting throughout -Strong sense of detail in the grass uses a long depth of field -Composition draws eye through center of image from bottom to top with visual breaks due to the grass in the sidewalk’s cracks. This image’s composition gives the feeling of being led into the unknown. However the weeds and grass growing through the cracks suggests that no one has travelled this path in a long while, and in addition leads me to believe this is a path I may not want to walk on due to the sense of loneliness and isolation it creates. After seeing the date and knowing the image was taken soon after the depression and World War II ended, it confirms these ideals. His central composition keeps your focus on this path and this path only and also is a reference to Walker Evans style photographs that were being made during this time. After reading about Morris’s childhood which consisted of relocating endless times to pursue his father’s hopes of success which failed time and time again, placing him in foster homes for most of his youth, this can also confirm ideas of loneliness and failure. Morris even states he had a hard time remembering parts of his childhood’s past which could be represented metaphorically in the segments of the sidewalk.
Nicole Henderson on Mary Keithan, Michigan’s Heritage Barns Series, Dovetail Log Barn-Mackinac County (approx. 1990s)

-using 8x10 camera for greatest tonal scale and detail -composition keeps eye moving through the photo between the barn and the snowmobiles in the front, it also shows the structure and architecture of the barn while creating an interesting composition artistically -the use of light on the most exposed side of the barn and the “junk” in the foreground brings life to a seemingly abandoned area. The images in this series began as an interest in the heritage of Michigan’s farming history and became a historical study on barns based on region and culture. The artist also hoped to appeal to those who were familiar with Michigan landscape which is dotted with these cultural landmarks throughout every part of the state. In this way the artist was very successful in not only creating a good historical background by incorporating text and photographing them to feature their architecture, but also creates timeless images that flood my mind with memories of my home state. Images such as these frequented my childhood and are captured perfectly from the seemingly abandoned building with wearing roof to the littering of old machinery in the fields.

Nicole Henderson on Richard Misrach’s Golden Gate Bridge Series, 1-26-00, 5:45PM -used a wide angle lens, landscape -sunset photography, therefore a fairly long exposure -uses a lot of negative space with a dramatic color as the focus This image is part of an extensive series of images that documents (in the exact same camera position) the Golden Gate Bridge which was seen from Misrach’s porch from his home. The images he creates vary greatly in tone, mood, and atmosphere based on the time of day and weather conditions. This image is one of the most harsh and aggressive images of the series. The use of red on an almost entirely black background (There is more detail in the book, however the scan couldn’t capture it) brings to mind the meanings of red. It makes me think this was either before or after a storm and makes me think of war or some sort of Armageddon. Perhaps if there were other colors in addition to this red splash across the black landscape it may change the tone, but the use of these two colors together is very powerful.

Nicole Henderson on Richard Misrach’s Golden Gate Bridge Series, 10-13-99, 9:19AM (Unfortunately this is a TERRIBLE scan. The original colors are much more muted and softer. The tones in the lower half are not pink but more yellow/ivory) -Again a landscape, wide angle lens used -Muted tones throughout the entire image. Very soft lines and textures I chose this image to contrast with the prior image in Misrach’s series. I decided to choose two images where you could actually not see the bridge to make a more equal comparison. This image is in fact the exact OPPOSITE of the prior image. Again you cannot see the bridge and there is no sunrise or sunset. Also the fog and clouds combine to distort and almost even completely destroy any idea of a horizon line. In fact you could almost take this image from the window of an airplane. The soft tones and lines and the textures in the clouds/fog make for a very peaceful and calming mood. In fact this image seems like something that could be almost meditative to look at. It is interesting the drastic changes that can be made from photographing the same thing for two years at different times of day and conditions.

Nicole Henderson on Douglas Levere, New York Changing Series, Mulberry and Prince Streets, 1998 (Re-photograph of Bernice Abbott’s Mulberry and Prince Streets, 1935) Abbott's Image

Levere's Image

-used an 8x10 camera to re-photograph with the same materials as Abbott -Matched up structures close to exactly within the frame, also used the blurred shadow of a figure in the foreground, and depth of field is the same -Time of day different from the original image I have viewed several of the re-photographic images in this series, but it is the figure that stood out in this pair that set them apart from the rest. What is surprising to me is that in this pair while he even goes through the effort to get the person in the background he did not try to capture them in the same area of the frame. People in the background changing in the background would clearly be impossible to recreate exactly, however this is the focal point of the entire photo. Also he does not take the steps to photograph this during the same time of day as Abbott in this pair, where he does in most others. So the dramatic shadows seem to make his figure more appropriately dark where in Abbott’s image the figure is the darkest portion of the photo while in bright daylight. I think this is one of Levere’s least accurate reproductions of his series and could have put much more effort into this image.

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