Sunday, October 30, 2016

Henri Cartier-Bresson - Online Research

MEXICO. Mexico City. Prostituées. Calle Cuauhtemoctzin. 1934. (Photo from Magnum Photos)
I choose this image because both its composition and its subject are very intriguing.  The photo has great contrast; in the texture of the door compared to the small strip of darkness to the left that shows a very small glimpse of what's behind the door without really showing much of anything, and the rough texture of the wall beside the subjects head (on the right).  There is also wonderful contrast in the subject herself, the darkness of her hair, lips and her eyes against the skin on her face, which really gives her face a haunting quality.  What is most intriguing here is how the subject, a prostitute, is popping out of this door and the view only sees the upper third of her body.  Her suggestive pose really helps the viewer to have a sense that this is a 'working woman".  Her crimped hair and lipstick also give a cue to her profession.  But it is the darkness under eyes and something tentative in her stare that give me the impression she has had a rough life and make me wonder what has brought her into this profession.  Is it because of hardship, because she has no other options?
INDIA. Delhi. 1948. The train carrying Gandhi's ashes to the river Ganges, where they were to be scattered. Crowds lined the railway tracks to see and touch Gandhi's ashes, and pay a last tribute to their leader. (Photo from Magnum Photos)
I chose this photograph because  of the intense emotion and the sense of loss and even panic you get from the crowd as they say goodbye and pay their respects to Gandhi.  Even without knowing this train is carrying the Gandhi's ashes, you get a sense of urgency as the massive crowd push toward the train and cling to it.  The reaching arms and pained faces give you a sense that this is not a normal train, that their is an importance to it.  And once you know why they are packed in around this train, you get a sense of the importance that Gandhi has played it their lives and amongst the looks of loss and pain, you also get a sense of shock, hinting to the face he was assassinated.  There is great contrast in this photo, the lightness at the top of the image and its relative emptiness compared to the full, packed bottom of the photo and the shadow cast from the large train there.   The people create their own texture which the eye is immediately drawn to, mainly due the shallow depth of field with the foreground being in focus.  As you examine the photograph further you begin to see the individual faces in the packed crowd and the emotions of panic, loss, pain and confusion you see there.

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