Research and Analysis: Assignment 4

Research and analysis: Assignment 4

Bibliography and Illustrations:

In the following analysis and research I start off by exploring two photos from Philip lorca-di corcia. These images helped me to develop the exercise of emulating which was an element of part 4 of the course. The staring from the window influenced the final image that I produced for this exercise but also effected the way that I thought about developing assignment 4 from the point of view of the study of light. Whilst I have not emulated di corcia’s form of lighting in the assignment (only in the exercise of emulation 4.11) it served to prepare the way for some thoughts on lighting in general.

Image 1. Woman who is staring from her apartment window.

Figure 1. (see bibliography, assignment 4)

Image 2. Young woman is staring from the window of a bar and being stared at by young men.

Figure 2. (see bibliography, assignment 4)

BORN: 1951

STUDIES: school of the museum of fine arts, Boston, later: Yale university to complete a masters in fine art.
GENRE: documentarial.

CAREER: influenced by the Boston School of photography his speciality was to stage scenes as if they were real, using interior staging with friends and family initially.

Later he used random street scenes to bring forth a drama through lighting and the decisive moment to highlight the subjects. He would often shoot photos without the awareness of the person.

KNOWN WORKS BY THE AUTHOR Each of his series: Hustlers, Streetwork, Heads, A Storybook Life, and Lucky Thirteen.


Image 1: Women sits on a bed looking out onto the harbour. The TV in the room appears to be showing a scene from a hurricane. The main focal points for the image are the women looking to her own reflection, the TV scene, the boat and building in the distance. The woman is located in the bottom near quarter of the image not quite conforming to the rule of thirds. The image has several planes, the foreground of the bed, the women and the distance with the sea and the city scape. The scene has connotations of melancholy or wistfulness. She sits with her back to us although we see her frontal reflection in the glass. The image has a sense of someone lost or loneliness. Is this women bereaved?

The lighting in this image is not typical of many of di corcia’s works as it is indirectly highlighting the figure through reflection. The lighting is also strange and unnatural as one would normally encounter such strong reflection in daylight. However there is some lighting used in the scene from the front, thus reflecting the woman’s face and body in the window. The TV provides a curious image within the scene.  It arrives within the lower right third of the image and thus the eye is strongly drawn there.

Image 2: Young woman stares out of the window of a bar at some young men. The men are staring back at her. She sits in repose and there is a feeling of eroticism in the photo. The scene draws its attention to the women. She is somewhat on guard. The light seems to be evening, dusk, which was a favourite theme for di corica. She sits near the end of the table and the eye follows the line of the chairs and the table to her position. The image does not strictly conform to the rule of thirds. However there is a strong theatrical element to the image made by her stance and the scene of the men and one woman gazing back at her. Why? The scene is an everyday one but it feels staged. There are many lines within the framing such as those of the window and those of the table and chairs. The lines of light thrown onto the background of the scene also produce an interesting effect. The woman sits in the mid-ground of the photo. In the foreground we see tables and chairs. The connotations of the scene are quite sensual. The woman is young and attractive. There is a spark of interest between her and the men outside. It is a slightly alluring image although subtle. It shares some features with the above photo although not so melancholy.

Analysis of my main image for assignment 4:

To see the up-dated image post tutor feedback, see Assignment 4 page

Main image for assignment 4

This image has four main focal points leading the viewer into direct contact with the facial expressions of the protagonists. The arms and hands of the people also act as focal points in a sense of adding a dynamic feel to the picture. The expressions are somewhat strained, to indicate struggle. The lighting provides a darkness to the scene which helps to communicate the sense of struggle and intense division between one element or more and another. The rope, a simple prop, forms a part of the endeavour to communicate struggle. The elements of power, as pointed out in the feedback is somewhat missing. The image has neither foreground nor background thus unfolds in a single plane with the four characters.

What works in the image is the sense of struggle. Although a simple composition, it is direct (also a weakness according to tutor). I think that the image could have been enhanced if I’d of used other elements in the picture such as: A background that helped to enhance the theme of power (a power station, which was my original intention) or a sense of the elements present in the scene (mountain scape,  outdoors, instead of within a dark lit studio).

Another idea that I played with in the preparation for the shoot was to have characters bound up in a cage, tied together and naked. The scene would have been more visually powerful and would have felt quite oppressive.


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