Research and Image analysis: Assignment 3

Research and Analysis: Assignment 3

Bibliography and Illustrations:

In this following analysis and research I look at three images that influenced my work for this assignment. Analysis for my own images are below these three.

2. Analysis of three images :

Exploring the work of Duane Michals (analysis of a photo “certain words must be said”

Figure 1: Michals, D.certain words must be said (1987)

duane-michals-certain-words-must-be-saidDUANE MICHALS: Czech born parents
BORN: 1932, McKeesport,p.a EDUCATION: University of Denver, CO, B.A., 1953 EARLY CAREER: Worked as a designer and later worked in commercial photography.
GENRE OF PHOTO: Artistic-conceptual
MOVEMENT: Conceptual Surrealism?
TECHNICAL INFO: Gelatin-silver print 20,2 x 25

By Damien susset

1987 Black and white photograph, gelatin-silver print 20,2 x 25,3 cm Year of Purchase: 1987 words must be said 1987
By Damien susset
1987 Black and white photograph, gelatin-silver print 20,2 x 25,3 cm Year of Purchase: 1987

“In order to understand Duane Michal’s work you have to know its origins. His parents were Czech (like his contemporary Warhol) and at a very early age they handed down to him their Catholic faith, which was nevertheless tempered by all the magic and mystery of the culture of a Central Europe intrigued by mumbo jumbo. There’s something else, too: his first name derives from the name of the son of the house where his mother was employed. This model, this rich but never encountered eponym, would mark him all the more because it would forever be remote and mysterious (he committed suicide during his first university year). A family probably issues from obsession with the double and a fascination with death and everything that illustrates intimate relationships within a group. In 1966 Michal’s began to develop a photographic style where the narrative results from short sequences of images put together. In 1974, these simple sequences were complemented by short sentences handwritten directly on the print. The works belonging to the Frac collection are in this particular style, where the irrational, tinged with an undeniable poetry, constructs strange narratives which, in the end, all question the definition of a human identity at the time of its mechanised reproduction.”

Opening comments and analysis

I have come to understand the impact a series of photos can have. Apart from the personal liking of the work, I analysed one of his images that was not part of a sequence but a stand alone image. The photo entitled “certain words must be said” is shot in black and white. The image uses centrally framed figures in a balanced frame one looking in one direction (out of the window) and the other into the room. The lighting is from the window but casts a slightly uneven light through the image. The indoor part of the image is darker and the figure by the window more light. It suggests a scene whereby something that is being communicated is difficult hear, not easily assimilable.

The face of the sitting figure is located in lower left third of the frame thus conforming at least in this part of the to the golden circle. The main points in the photo falling fairly close to the foreground (as there is very little of it) would be the heads and faces of the two women. The postures of their bodies are in a state of poise and semi-alert. The form of the image has more lines than curves. The women’s bodies define the image and the window provides additional form as horizontal lines. The image has a dynamic feel to it rather than static. This is partly helped by the wind moving the curtain providing movement. The image is not super sharp. It has something undefined about it as to where the women sit in space. The light used for the image seems entirely natural and ambient that which is coming in through the window. Did the artist chose this light to add to the drama of the image? Was it haphazard? The image has sharp contrast between light and dark and so is quite strong and the tones of the image are black and white. The image has a certain tension as

implied by the title. It is clear that it has some relation to the aforementioned questioning of identity and communication.

The image does has a narrative going on which according to the text suggests tensions in the relationship between the protagonists in the photo. They are ill at ease with each other and unable to communicate what they really feel. Thus the gestures of their bodies are gently thrusting away from each other. Both of the figures in the image are within a single plane.

2. Exploring the work of Barbara Kruger (analysis of a photo


Born: January 26, 1945
Place: New York
Education: Syracuse University, Parsons school of design, New York
Early career: Commercial photographer
Genre: Conceptual photographer
Movement: Conceptual

Figure 2: Kruger, B. If you don’t control your mind… (date unknown)

Kruger’s work in general has the feel of risk about it that I personally appreciate very much. If I could conceive of an image for myself as a photographer it is this kind of bold display of values that most ‘turns me on’ and gives me a sense of the possibility for change through art. Having said that I sometimes find the work a bit repetitive on some themes.

Kruger’s work in general has the feel of risk about it that I personally appreciate very much. If I could conceive of an image for myself as a photographer it is this kind of bold display of values that most ‘turns me on’ and gives me a sense of the possibility for change through art. Having said that I sometimes find the work a bit repetitive on some themes.

The image is of Adolf Hitler sparsely disguised behind a slogan.

The slogan reads: “If you don’t control your mind someone else will”

The image falls into the category of portrait. The portrait however is used as a sort of protest of which Kruger was very fond. The image is black and white and shot as a classical portrait with head and shoulder emphasis. The photo was clearly not taken by Kruger but has been used by her to communicate her ideas about something which she feels strongly. As we don’t see the eyes we cannot tell if the gaze is aimed directly at the camera but one would assume so as the position of the head is facing forwards. The background of the image is dark as is the attire of hitler giving the whole scene a

slightly ominous feel. As a lot of propaganda methodology was in use at the time I would suggest that this is intentional in the way that the figure is portrayed.

Many of Kruger’s images in this series fit into a similar structure of simple close up figures photographed in certain gestures. Kruger then uses those images as a way to communicate her own voice and values. It is not always clear whether she is responsible for the photos in this series.

The use of her narrative slogans and text which is characteristically forthright and as she states it: “declaring something” explicitly I find exhilarating. The boldness in the text and the presentation of the image written across with statements makes the reader/observer take notice and sit up. Supposedly this is what the artist desires?

Exploring the work of Nicholas Muller (analysis of photo 3)


NAME: Nicholas Muller

NAME OF WORK: Fiesta of San Juan
Black and white photo.

Figure 3. Muller, N. (1950) Fiesta of san Juan

What I like about this image is its diversity and breadth of human emotion. Many faces all expressing something similar but in different ways according to the personality. It has the effect on me of participation

in something active. I like the dynamic/static contrast that is captured in the image as an interesting observation of people.

The image displays a group at a festival in Spain (San Juan) a major festival in the Spanish calendar which is an activity marking the letting go of the old to make way for the new (my interpretation). We look at the crowd within the photo that

rises up as a sort of pyramid and culminates in a peak at the top consisting of a woman and a baby. The lower portion of the pyramid consisting of mainly men but with some young children. Few of the many faces are looking into the camera. The majority are looking keenly on at the event before them. The image is symmetrically balanced and composed in such a way that we see the whole event evenly through the frame. It cannot be said to conform to the rule of thirds.

There are two main figures that stand out amongst the crowd of the many expressions on the many faces that are shown. The man at the bottom although with his head rising to the top of the frame and clapping. The man behind him who is older and seemingly shouting something into the crowd towards the participants of the fiesta also stands out. The form of the image is one of lines more than curves, acceding towards the peak of the crowd. The lines are horizontal moving up organically towards the top of the image. The image does not have a one point focus.

Analysis of my images for assignment

Corrected image and reworked

This is an image that I chose after I had submitted the image below for the assignment. There are three main focal points, the three faces of the protagonists, and then subsidiary focal points such as the arch over the head of the standing figure. The scene of one of gangsters in conversation. The setting is a house that shows a certain amount of opulence combined with the criminal intentions of those who dwell it it. There is a discussion taking place and one of the men is being accused. The composition is simple and balanced between the three main figures. There is little foreground in the scene, one is mainly drawn into the figures themselves. The background is the arch (intentionally chosen to emphasis the head and gaze of the standing figure.

The colour tones (based on feedback are cooler that in the original photo (see assignment three for more details.)

The original photo for the assignment below has very similar proportion and balance. It is a scene that depicts the same as the above. Between the two images I see that this one definitely has less impact and is more counter intuitive to the theme (as fed back by tutor).

original photo chosen for the assignment

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