Friendship.

December 4, 2008

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People in the Now

November 12, 2008

Sets and Scenes

November 11, 2008

Duane Michals

November 11, 2008

"Death Comes to the Old Lady", 1969

This series of photographs are not only interesting but brilliantly put together. Each one has the power and strength to stand-alone and be perfectly adequate however; being in a vertical collaboration brings together a story.

The old woman’s face is especially natural and simplistic. The camera’s presence does not faze her in any way. The man is more than effective in his symbolism of death. The fact that he is wearing all black and is not in focus in any of the photographs gives off the vibe of him being villainous and mysterious.

In the first photograph the old woman sits, awaiting the arrival of death. To the left of the shot there is a faint black shadow that is almost invisible. Though this shot foreshadows the evitable doom ahead, the woman’s body language is relaxed and at peace.

The second and third shots truly emphasize proximity death. The man, even though he is out of focus, is visible and shows movement. The distance of the two shots becomes closer than in the first. This not only emphasizes the closeness of death, it emphasizes the blindness of death as well. The woman doesn’t know what is coming to her. She can only sit, wait, and assume that her day is to come, but has no clue as to how close that day actually is to her.

Moving on to the forth shot a dramatic change occurs. The old woman’s facial expression remains the same, but the villainous man in the black suit slinks closer. This shot has moved even closer than the two previous ones, which, in my opinion, adds to the intense suspense of the photo story. Movement is key in this photograph and without it the meaning would be completely thrown off. Everything is in focus aside from the figure of “death”. Even though he is an unknown figure in the photo, it is understood what and who he is because of the outlines of his coat and pant leg. This photograph works much better in the grouping rather than standing alone. To see this shot set aside from all the rest of it’s kind, there might be confusion as to what the photographer was wanting the viewer to feel or experience. With this print differing from the ones that come before it, it really makes the viewer want to look ahead at the photograph to come.

The fifth and final photograph of the storyline symbolizes death, the death of the old woman. In this frame the man no longer exists in the shot but rather the old woman is getting up from her chair blurred and out of focus. The brilliant use of motion once again ties in the representation of death remarkably.

The reasons behind these photographs, is “To give visible symbols of an invisible reality (Szarkiwski 210.)” I think Michals does a very rewarding job of this. His unique style really lets people experience a tangible way of thinking.

History of Things

September 25, 2008

24 Hour Observation

September 16, 2008