Friday, May 18, 2012

A Photo

This week's FSA photo:

This isn't all that much of a photo, but it caught my eye. It almost works, despite everything being lined up dead center, and its faults are not that.

The cloud is, of course, lovely, and Ansel Adams trained us to require clouds in our landscapes, so that's a good thing. This is a trope we expect and demand, and here it is. The fallen-down building directly below it roughly echos the shape, slightly smaller, and with different textures. There's a sort of inverted pyramid shape here, leading the eye down. The chimney leads the eye back to the cloud. There's a very strong visual center created by all this nonsense, and of course the absence of anything else in the frame to look at.

The problems with it are the little bits of tree to the right on the edge of the frame, and that dumb log in the foreground. On the one hand we do love the near/far relationship in a photograph, on the other hand the log just sits there, slightly cut off by the lower edge of the frame. It is not fortuitously placed or aligned, it creates a line going to and from nowhere, it's not long enough to really provide any framing.

There are several improving crops available, some of them disturb the symmetry, and some do not. In fact, practically any crop would improve this.

Arthur Rothstein, Sept 1935, Abandoned Paper Mill, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.

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