Category Archives: Assignment 3 – Research

Robert Frank

I came across the work of Robert Franks while researching street photography.  Robert Frank took a different approach to other photographers.  He photographed the everyday mundane drudgery of life, without setting up any compositions in the way that Walker Evans did, although Robert Franks did work alongside Walker Evans earlier on in his career.

Trolley, New Orleans

Fig. 1.

The image above was taken just before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person.  The image clearly shows the separation in America between White people and Black people at a turning point in America’s history. 

The people on the bus appear to be aware that their photograph is about to be taken with everyone looking at camera except the lady in the last window.  The two children in the middle of the frame draw your eye in straight away with the girls white top. You are then drawn to the man in the window to the right of the children who has a a lacklustre to his expression.  He looks tired and browbeaten almost demoralized and in despair.

In the City of London, you are herded onto public transport and packed in like cattle.  Some people make friends who travel on the same transport at the same time ending up in a huddled group chatting.  Others just stare out the window watching the world go by as they try to switch off from work with normally with a blank/vacant expression on their face. This would be a possible image to consider when photographing in the City, either on a bus, train or tube.

Canal Street, New Orleans

Fig. 2.

The above image is of a busy street in New Orleans. Franks has used a dark black and white tonal range in this image. By using the darker tonal range the detail in the shop window has merged into the background and does not cause a distraction from the passers by. It has also created a separation between the passersby and the backdrop allowing your eye to concentrate on the people in the crowd. The framing of the image also conveys the hustle and bustle of the street. Franks has not worried about people being chopped by the frame leaving your imagination to continue out adding more people to the scene. The height that he has taken the image also creates a deep pavement that is approximately 3 to 4 people deep reinforcing the how busy the scene is as you are unable to see he whole face or body of each passerby. Although this could be seen as a mundane image it captures a social aspect and fashions of the time.

Former actress Edna Wallace Hopper, now in her mid-80s, exiting Wall Street subway en route to her office, NYC

Fig. 3. 

I’ve picked up on the above image as one of the images I am considering trying to capture is of the City workers coming out of the Underground on their way to work or home depending on the time of day I choose to take my images.

In the image Franks has positioned himself slightly to the right of the center of the subway exit, which has allowed people to walk straight up the stairs rather than having to separate in order to walk around Franks. The angle he has used looking down into the ticket hall allows fractions of the detail from the ticket machine and booth in the highlights informing you if what is h=behind without creating a distraction. By looking down into the subway when taking the image everyone is on different elevations, which draws the eye down and then back up to the forefront of the image.

Illustrations

Fig. 1.
Frank R
(1955)
Trolley, New Orleans
[Photograph]
https://www.phillips.com/article/15343481/through-his-lens-robert-frank-s-america
(Accessed 7 June 2019 2019)

Fig. 2.
Frank R
(1956)
Canal Street, New Orleans
[Photograph]
https://www.danzigergallery.com/exhibitions/robert-frank-s-america?view=slider#17
(Accessed 7 June 2019 2019)

Fig. 3.
Frank R
(1953)
Former actress Edna Wallace Hopper, now in her mid-80s, exiting Wall Street subway en route to her office, NYC
[Photograph]
http://www.howardgreenberg.com/artists/robert-frank?view=slider#7
(Accessed 7 June 2019 2019)

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Philip-Lorca DiCorcia Continued

Because my idea for the Assignment has changed and I now plan on taking photographs of people on the fairground rides at Carter’s Steam Fair I decided to revisit Dicorcia’s work. After reviewing his photographic series ‘Heads’ and seeing the way he picked individuals out of the crowd, I felt that his work would be a good guide/inspiration to the way I want to capture the fair.

My initially researched Philip-Lorca DiCorcia for Project 1 The frozen moment and my research for this can be found here https://emma519041.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/philip-lorca-dicorcia/

Igor, 1987

Fig. 1.

In this image you can the motion blur of another train passing out of the window telling the viewer that they are not static, but rather on the move.  The colour of the seats compliment and highlight the goldfish in the clear bag of water that the main subject of the image is holding.    The subject of the image is sitting down and is composed on the left half of the frame.  It appears that DiCorcia has taken this image using a wide angle from knee height as the angle has distorted the size of the subjects hand in comparison to the other and face.  There is a slight fish eye effect to the image linking it back to the goldfish.

New York, 1993

Fig. 2.

Dicorcia has used two effects to allow the subject of this image to stand out.  The first being the shallow depth of field separating her from the street she is walking down and passers-by.  The second is the colour.  The street has a grey colour with the people walking around in subdued coloured clothes allowing them to blend more with the street.  Whereas the subject is wearing a white coat and has orange hair bringing her to the forefront allowing her to stand out from her surroundings.  Looking at the image it looks like Dicorcia has used a flash which has gone off as the subject passes highlighting her left side bringing more clarity and vibrancy to the colours.

Francesco,1985

Fig. 3.

When viewing this image, the shadows don’t appear to correspond with the subject on his bike.  The shadows in this image fall right to left.  However, the subject is fairly evenly lit with a light halo around him from behind, which makes me wonder if DiCorcia has lightened the shadows on the subject to enhance him and bring more separation from his surroundings.  This is something that I will need to consider and see the effect on my images if the light isn’t good enough.  Will I need to bring the shadows up on the subjects due to the shade created by the roof of the rides?  If so, I need to keep in mind that this creates noise within the image and I will need a fine balance between the shutter speed, exposure and ISO.

DiCorcia has used a slow shutter speed on this image to create the motion blur of the bus coming down the road and the two people walking away down the pavement.  The composition of the photograph takes you from the main subject, who is brighter than the rest of the image, down to the crushed can of Coca Cola.  The pop of red from the can against the grey of the pavement stands out creating a path via the white curb to the two people walking away.  I am then taken out if the tunnel to someone riding a bike with a red jacket following the white curb edge.  The yellow of the taxi brings you back into the tunnel and onto the bus as your focus shift to move back forwards to the main subject of the image.  This has created a great tension within the frame keeping you in the tunnel except for a brief glimpse out into the open with the rider before being brought back into the tunnel by the taxi.

Illustrations

Fig. 1.
DiCorcia P
(1987)
Igor
[Photograph]
https://www.phillips.com/detail/PHILIP-LORCA-DICORCIA/NY040115/305
(Accessed 8 June 2019)

Fig. 2.
DiCorcia P
(1993)
New York, 1993
[Photograph]
http://www.findartinfo.com/english/art-pictures/7/65/0/Color%20Coupler%20Print/page/40.html
(Accessed 8 June 2019)

Fig. 3.
DiCorcia P
(1985)
Francesco,1985
[Photograph]
https://www.moma.org/collection/works/46121
(Accessed 8 June 2019)