Monday, April 4, 2016

Historical and Contemporary Photographers

Historical and Contemporary Photographers Pinterest Board

 Henri Cartier-Bresson, China Collection, 1948-49
Sally Mann, Family Pictures Collection, 1984-1991

I find these two particular photographs to be the most interesting out of all of the photos I have come across in completing this project because they both tell a story which helps to engage the viewer and make them think. Henri Cartier-Bresson tells a specific story: a line of young children wait in line for rice distribution in Shanghai, China. Sally Mann's photo's story, on the other hand, is more open for interpretation. In both cases, it seems as though the photographer is aiming to criticize or point out the fault in something. Shown by the depressed and desperate look on the young child's face that Cartier-Bresson focuses the photo on, it appears as though he is criticizing the issue of world hunger that has been around for hundreds of years. Mann's photo seems as though the purpose is to illustrate the fault in our society and the importance we place on beauty beginning at such a young age, shown by the two young girls who are surrounded by mirrors, brushed, makeup, etc.

I believed that these two photos, as well as the entire project in general, will definitely influence my photography moving forward. As mentioned above, I was originally intrigued by these photos due to the fact that they both tell stories, and that is something I always aspire to do in my work. Exploring different photographers who have all seemed to master this skill has helped expose me to different ways that I can tell the story. From these two photos specifically, I have learned that some of the ways you can portray your intended story are through the emotion or expression of the subject of your photo or through the "background"/space surrounding the subject. Henri Cartier-Bresson did an amazing job focusing on one person out of a group and truly capturing his emotion, which in this case was very sad and help seeking, which aided the portrayal of the story. Sally Mann used the objects around her subject to enhance the meaning. Another element related to this that I aspire to learn and preform more effectively is making my picture rather than just taking it. It is clear that Mann set up this scene from the license plate on the car, to the scattered beauty supplies, to the children's outfits. All of these elements together make a very powerful scene that wouldn't have been nearly as successful if she hadn't included all of the details that she did when setting up the photo.


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