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University of Eldoret Impact on Balancing Photos Discussion

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Discussion: Design Basics Used to Create Balance The Chinese have a theory that you pass through boredom into fascination and I think it’s true. I would never choose a subject for what it means to me or what I think about it. You’ve just got to choose a subject, and what you feel about it, what it means, begins to unfold if you just plain choose a subject and do it enough. ––Diane Arbus Diane Arbus was a highly original photographer who has greatly influenced the course of contemporary photography. In her Photography: A Cultural History (2002), Mary Warner Marien writes: Arbus turned normalcy on its head, making the ordinary bizarre and naturalizing the unusual. In her photographs of people, many of them made while she roamed the streets of New York, clothes and cosmetics are futile efforts to camouflage psychic emptiness or damage. When Arbus photographed children, she revealed them as little versions of bad-tempered, mean-spirited adults. […] On the other hand, her photographs of people at the margins of society, such as female impersonators, show them to be more virtuous for having unmasked their subjective inclinations. For Arbus, marginal people were symbols for her own psychological fragility and trauma (p. 352). The thematic power of Arbus’s work is based on the masterful composition of her subject matter, balancing key elements within a square frame format, which is uniquely identified with her mature style. • • • • o o o o o o o • • To prepare for this Discussion: Review Chapters 2 and 3 in your course text, The Photographer’s Eye. Review Diane Arbus’s photograph, Child with Toy Hand Grenade, 1962. Review the websites from this week’s Learning Resources for more inspiration and examples of photographs. Consider the following questions regarding the Arbus photograph: How does the use of a square frame impact the balance of the photograph? What elements contribute to the balance of the photograph presented here? Would you say this is a balanced photograph? Explain your response. Does this composition draw your eyes more to the center of the frame or more to the edges? Give evidence for your response. How does the photograph demonstrate contrast, tension, rhythm, and/or depth? How does the subject of the photograph relate to the background? How is perspective created in the photograph? Is the photograph more weighted toward information or emotion? Explain your response. While considering the questions above, compare the assigned photograph with Arbus’s 1967 photograph, Identical Twins, Roselle, N.J., 1967. Explain how these photographs differ and how they are similar. With these thoughts in mind: By Day 3 Post a response that addresses three of the questions. Analyze how Arbus uses placement to create or disrupt a sense of balance in her composition. (Approximately 250 words). In your post, be sure to: Refer to one specific example from your course reading. A square format was never seen in the visual arts as a natural frame and was used just occasionally, often to make a point about rigor and severity. The equal sides give a sense of strictness, formality, even constraint. Photography was different because the square frame has no bias and no direction, so it tends to draw the eye inward (Freeman, 2013). In Arbus’s photograph, Child with Toy Hand Grenade, 1962, she draws her viewers eyes towards a boy with an angry facial expression. One of the boy’s straps on his shorts is awkwardly hanging off of his shoulder, while tensely holding his arms out by his side. In one hand he is holding a toy grenade, and the other hand is empty but in a claw-like gesture. In the photo, we can also see two slender trees directly behind in the same way that the boy’s legs are, showing that Arbus did this on purpose to bring balance to the photograph. In Arbus’s photograph, Identical Twins, she chose to balance her photo by showing two identical little girls wearing the same outfit in the center of her photo with the only difference between the girls is their facial expression. One girl is shown slightly smiling while the other is slightly frowning. Unlike the photo of the boy, Arbus does not balance out her photo with any of the background but solely did it with the girls. In Arbus’s photograph, Child with Toy Hand Grenade, 1962 and in Identical Twins my eyes are drawn toward the center of the frame. In Child with Toy Hand Grenade, 1962, the majority of the focus is drawn towards the boy because of how maniac he is looking while holding a grenade and appearing to be in a park. Arbus also includes a couple with other children walking towards this boy in the backward and shifts our focus and makes the viewer wonder how are they going to react seeing this boy with a grenade in his hand especially knowing that this is during the time of the Vietnam War. In Identical Twins, my eyes are drawn strictly towards the girls’ faces with nothing in the background to divert my attention. Both photos are geared towards emotions. After doing some research on Arbus, I came to find that she liked to show how crazy and beautiful the world could be, often at the same time. In Child with Toy Hand Grenade, 1962, she shows an ordinary boy but captures him while doing a maniac facial expression and clinching a grenade while holding his other hand like a claw. In that same photograph, she also shows an ordinary family enjoying a walk in the park. She makes two objects in the same photograph appear to be night and day. In Identical Twins, she does the same thing by using the girls’ faces to represent the girls by being identical with their clothes but individuals with their facial expressions.
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