Friday, May 25, 2012

FSA Photo Of The Week

So many of the scans in the FSA file are like this one, basically kind of shoddy. This is clearly sheet film, so approximately a billion pixels should be available. Nonetheless, ignoring the scan, it's some good work.

This is a strong example of very formal composition. We have the man and a balancing vertical bar placed pretty much exactly on vertical thirds. We have echoed shapes and forms throughout, we have a busy structure on the right/top and a balancing negative space left/bottom. The contrast is high enough to give a visual pop, with pretty much the classical "full range on tones" represented, without it looking weird.

There's some good eye leading, several of the metal bars lead neatly toward the worker's face. He's clearly doing some job, so not only do we have a strong visual center in a graphical sense, that same visual center is where the action is, where your eye wants to be to see what's going on in the photograph.

Ben Bow chromite mill, Stillwater County, Montana. Russell Lee, 1942. Of course it's Russell Lee.

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