Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Wk 3: Artist Study // Imogen Cunningham & Diane Arbus

Focus: fore, mid and background, vantage point

Imogen Cunningham 
Living till she was 93 years of age and starting her career as a photographer early, Imogen amassed a huge variety of styles. Famous for her botanical studies and nudes she also managed to work in the areas of portraiture, street photography and industrial still life. With her work spanning from pictorial style portraits to incredibly detailed images of lily's Imogen kept herself immersed in her work and keep having fun. What interests me most with her work is her almost constant use of triangles (45 degree angles) through out her work be it still life or with the human form - to the point where it looks like it has been purposefully manipulated to do so. 

Diane Arbus
The camera gave New Yorker Diane licence to talk to strangers and document society. An attempt to get into someone else's skin - an impossible task. She tried to be specific rather than general. Photographing the fringes of society 'freaks', 'homosexuals' and 'lesbians' for example. She asked all her subjects to pose and look directly into the camera in an effort to create still and ended up created images that draw in an audience. These subjects hadn't really been exploited before, she would go on adventures photographing seemingly dangerous people,  people who would be looked away from at  in the street. In terms of composition - although she was highly aware of the traditional techniques but is far more interested in her subject (or trophy). 

Composition: The subject has been placed in the middle of the frame in a chair in front of a fireplace. She has cut off the top of the fireplace and has only shown a hint of the chair at the edge of the frame. The subject is clearly defined and the positioning makes the image somewhat symmetrical by placing her right arm on the edge of the chair and having the legs pointed in the other direction. The vantage point in the image is at the same eye-line as the subject.

Composition: In this image Arbus has employed the rule of thirds, placing the subject on the left hand line with her head and foot place on the floor just popping out from above and below the horizontal lines. The bench has the affect of a leading line and her vantage point is definitely higher than the subject but only slightly.

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