Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey.

Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey. Author: Robert Frank. Year: 1955. Medium: Gelatin Silver Print
This is a picture taken by Robert Frank in 1955 at a parade in Hoboken, New Jersey. Instead of taking pictures of the parade, Frank decided to take a picture of an American flag blowing in the wind with two Hoboken citizens behind it watching the parade out of windows. This picture became very significant to photography history because it was first published in a book written by Frank called “the Americans” and it was denied public publish rights in the USA. So to get his book published he decided to take it across the seas and get it published to make money. While the book became a hit the American publisher gave in and published it in the US.
Personally, I really like this photograph. It has a great contrast and also elements of opposites. I like that the brickwork and how it is dirty and gritty compared to the shades that hide the windows and the cleanliness of the American flag. The contrast in the flag is great; even though it is in motion you can still see the stars and stripes both evenly and clearly. The woman on the left of the picture had a facial expression of emotion and sadness so it makes the viewer curious to see what is actually going on behind the photographer. I also find it interesting that the person standing in the right window has been covered by the fla

Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, Diane Arbus, gelatin silver print, 1966.

Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, Diane Arbus, gelatin silver print, 1966.

Diane Arbus (March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971), an American Photographer, was best known for her square black-and-white photographs of “deviant and marginal people or of people whose normality seems ugly or surreal.”  She began her career as a fashion photographer for her father in New York.  After WWII she and her husband began a commercial photography studio.  She quit the commercial photography business to begin doing some magazine assignment work; this gave her an opportunity to tour the country.  She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1963 for a project on “American rites, manners, and customs”; in 1966 the Fellowship was renewed.  She committed suicide in 1971.  Arbus’s work has been considered controversial and her estate has been criticized for denying permission for exhibition or reproduction of her photographs.

I found the work of Diane Arbus to be quite intriguing.  Most of her photos were of circus performers (freaks), nudists, and transvestites; far more risqué than the seemingly tame nature of Identical Twins, Roselle NJ.  But, when you consider that the ghostly twins from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shinning are in an identical pose you can see how powerful the image is.  I especially appreciate how Arbus is credited with taking the time to get to know everyone she photographed and to get their permission to take the shot.  Even going so far as tracking down, catching up with, and re-shooting subjects years later.  Two quotes I found to be amusing were: “We thought it was the worst likeness of the twins we'd ever seen.”  Bob Wade (father of the twins), and “Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child.” Norman Mailer.

Margaret Bourke-White, Flood Victims, 1936

Margaret Bourke-White, Flood Victims, 1936

Even at first sight of this photograph a feeling of unease overcame me.  Not because of some cunning way in which the photographer staged her photo, but of the raw message which it throws out at the viewer.  The harsh reality that is captured to dispel any idealist thoughts that people may have of this era was photographed beautifully.  The stereotypical white American family on their way to some cozy and remote lake side cabin to enjoy the fresh air and get away from the bustle of everyday life.  While black American flood victims stand in line for hours to receive fresh water, a loaf of stale bread, and some dry clothes.  “There’s no way like the American way” really does say it all.    

Ten Year Old Spinner, North Carolina Cotton Mill

Artist: Lewis Hine
Title: Ten Year Old Spinner, North Carolina Cotton Mill
Medium: Silver Gelatin Print
Date: 1908-09
Nationality: American
Born: 1874
Died: 1940

The photographs shot by American Photographer Lewis Hine (1874-1940) were pivotal in reforming labor laws in the United States for both adults and children. This photo of the ten year-old spinner girl focuses on the great contribution he made to exposing the ugly truth about child labor during the industrial revolution which was a time when the numbers of child laborers in the U.S. was astronomical. Industrialization moved workers from rural communities into urban areas to do factory work. Children were the perfect employees. They were cheap labor, they had no rights, no voice, and were highly unlikely to strike. American children worked dangerous jobs in mines, glass factories, textiles, agriculture, canneries, cotton mills, and as newsboys, messengers, peddlers, and much more. Children were exploited and placed in dangerous and often fatal conditions. Beginning work at ages as low as three years old, the children earned only 10 to 20% of an adults wage and worked sixteen hour days! Not only were children being robbed of their childhoods, but this was a serious violation of human rights! Lewis Hine used his camera to create social reform for adults and children alike.

It is my belief that Lewis Hine's photographs saved the lives of countless individuals. So maybe his job was photojournalism and he got paid to take these photographs. However, the import thing about his work is that they became sociological studies of not only the working class during the industrial revolution, but the truly poor souls who were suffering from inhumane working conditions. His photographs provided a voice for those who had none. I know it's cliché to say “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so I won't say it; but looking at such a powerful, poignant image makes such a loud, resounding statement. And you know that at the time the picture was published the content, the evidence of a truth, was even more earth-shattering. The imagery of this somber, hardened factory worker is not indicative of a child. It's indicative of a ten year-old girl of whom the joy and spark of childhood has been snuffed by countless hours of structured, taxing labor. Lewis Hine is a perfect example of how a photographer can become a paladin. Images as powerful as Hine's help change the world. 

Fading Away

Henry Peach Roberson, was named the “king of photographic picture making”, and was one of the greatest photographers of his time. In the picture “Fading Away” by Mr. Roberson he made this photo with 5 compositions of negatives, to contrast with the young girl lying in the bed dying from consumption due to come kind of sickness. Most of the viewers that have looked at this photo thought it was a controversial picture, because it was not suitable of photography. One critic said that Roberson “went to the most painful segments.”          
I really like how in the middle of this picture the viewer is pulled to looking at the vase, on the table to the right of the man in black standing by the window. I also like how the picture is contrasted by the light and dark, and light colors from the women slouching and standing in the chair. Lastly I like how when the viewer looks in the middle of this picture, they see to arcs of the stool and the table holding up the vase. One thing that I do not like about this picture is how the women on the left has a mixed color of lights and darks on her bonnet, and chair cover she is sitting on.

Migrant Mother

Title: Destitute  pea pickers in california, Mother of seven children.
Other Title: Migrant Mother
Age: thirty-two
Place: Nipomo, CA
Creator: lange, Dorothea, Photographer
Date Published: 1936 Feb or March
Medium: 1 Negative: nitrate; 4x5 in.

The image of a worn, weather-beaten woman, a look of desperation on her face, two children leaning on her shoulders, an infant on her lap; has become a photographic icon of the Great Depression in America. It was taken at pea pickers camp, Nipomo,CA 175 miles north of Los Angeles by Dorothea Lange. Lange was working for Farm Security Administration as part of a team of photographers documenting the impact of federal programs in improving rural conditions. Dorothea Lange was taking pictures as she walked toward her,she did not asked anything but the woman told her age and that, they been living on frozen vegetable from surrounding fields, and birds that her children killed. She had just sold her tires from her car to buy food which she wont go anywhere. There she sat on her tent and seems to know that Dorothea's pictures might help her and her seven kids.
The image was interesting, looking at her pale face you can tell that,  she is very depressed on something that she cannot bare. To me, the impression on her face was more of sending the message out that starvation was in place which, was true. Seeing her two kids leaning on her shoulders, I could tell that they are hungry or crying out for a great satisfaction. An infant laying on her lap shows another sign of starvation and place to rest. It's very imotional image! For my point of view, I would say that, I couldnt make it if I was her, it's a heavy load especially with seven kids.

Sir John Herschel

Image Title: Sir John Herschel

Artist: Julia Margaret Cameron
Year it was Produced: April 1867

Julia Margaret Cameron was on of the first  women photographers who owned her own camera, and how she took pictures, like Sir John Herschel, was very unique to the time period. Cameron avoided using the perfect resolution and minute detail that the glass negatives, which were used in the 1860s, required. Instead she used carefully directed light, a soft focus, and longer exposures, meaning instead of seconds, she would use minutes. There are no classical columns, piles of weighty columns, scientific attributes, academic pose or  anything that related to Sir John Herschel, who was a scientist and mathematician. She did not take a typical portrait, instead she took the history that he and her shared and put it into the portrait she thought suited him best. Seeing him as more of a vision emerging from the darkness. 
My first reaction to this photograph is the erie feeling, like a ghost. Until i read about the description behind the style of photography, i didn’t understand why such a famous mathematician, would be photographed as a ghost, like he wasn’t alive anymore. But after reading her remarks, I understand she was seeing him more as a vision, because he was the person who sent her, her first photograph, along with his discoveries he made through his life. So she wanted him to be viewed as a visionary like in the Old Testament in the Bible.

The Horse in Motion, Edweard Muybridge, photograph, 1888

Muybridge, upon arriving in the United States from England, changed his name numerous times, including to Eduardo Santiago, the spanish equivalent to his name.  His photography career was oriented mainly towards capturing motion, as seen here in The Horse in Motion.  However, he also used the same technique to capture to running movement of a bison, as well as two people dancing. This idea became highly significant to the progress of the art of photography by sparking ideas and thoughts in regards to motion picture.  He influenced many after him, and ironically enough, as he was the quintessential precursor of motion picture, a 1950s motion picture documentary of his life was made. Both the inventor, William Dickson, and the patented inventor, Thomas Edison, of the first motion picture camera, credit Muybridge as an influence.

The picture, to me, seems far more impressive when one picture is shown at a time, thus making it appear more so as a motion picture, as opposed to twelve picture organized in three rows of four.  Regardless, however, there still a substantial amount of credit due to Mr. Muybridge.  Photography was taken to a completely new level of respect and regard than before, as Muybridge had used it to answer a question scientists had long been debating.  The camera now could be used for many purposes, such as documentation, an art form, and even as a scientific tool. Muybridge was able to transform the camera, and the art of photography, into something new, and that, is something to be revered.

August Sander,Pastry Cook, Produced in 1928

August Sander a German Photographer, was born in Herdof Germany. He started off his working life just as his father, as a miner in 1892 his uncle gave him his first camera and he began photography in his spare time. After time in the military he really started to take photography to the next level he began commercially photographing architectural and industrial buildings. He eventually had his own photographic studio
When business was slow studio he would load his tripod, camera and glass negatives onto his bike and ride the surrounding countryside, taking photos of his photographic passion the German people. The life movement of his was to show the working normal middle class person and make them extraordinary through photography. Through his career he took over 50,000 photos. He died in 1964.

            I really enjoyed Sanders photography he had a very unique style. The way in which he posed his models, and their expressions really added meaning. The life work and how he really loved his people carried through into his work. This really made the photos stand out from his other work, to me because a person always does something better when they love it. My favorite print would have to be the policeman just the contrast in the photo and how the model is composed made me laugh. The pastry chef is a great photo but it just doesn’t hit home for me maybe if the chef was a woman.