Using as many details as possible, describe what you see in this image.
Possibility 1: In this image, a young girl is seen from the back looking into a circular window. The girl wears a bright white dress, a shawl draped over her shoulders and arms and a hat with a circular brim on her back. The girl wears no shoes and seems to be standing on her toes to peer into the window. The girl is standing in front of a dramatically patterned plaster wall with paint flaking from its surface. Her body casts a distinct shadow on the wall, indicating intense sunlight.
Possibility 2: With her back to the camera, a girl in a bright white cotton skirt peers into a circular black hole or window cut into a patterned wall with peeling paint. Her head is all but obscured by a wide-brimmed hat that echoes the shape of the portal. She stands on her toes ever so tentatively, her bare right foot overlapping her left, as if she is trying to create her own stepping stair. Her right hand disappears into the void as she investigates the unseen contents within. This photograph by Manuel Alvarez Bravo establishes a contrast between her innocence and the fearful unknown.
There is a striking contrast between the intense light outside the building and the total darkness revealed through the window. What might this contrast represent?
Possibility 1: This image invites a number of interpretations. Some suggest that the image may be a meditation on innocence: the girl in the white dress representing the innocence of childhood, and the dark interior representing the ending of innocence in the near future. Although we have no idea what the girl sees inside the building, there is a sense that it is something sinister or off-limits. Despite this, the girl gazes with brave curiosity through the window.
Possibility 2: The girl in the white dress is attired for festivity and dance but is left on the outside and wanting in. She calls to those inside but is ignored and left out. The peeling exterior and hard cement under the girl’s feet speak of a “hardness” to the world outside; a sense that is accentuated by the the harsh light and shadow. The contrasting dark window speaks of release, calm and coolness from a hard world.
This image expresses many strong formal qualities. Which of the elements and principles of art are most strongly represented here?
There are many repetitions of shape in this image. For instance, the shape of the window is reflected in the circular shape of the hat brim. The pattern on the plaster wall also consists of repeated shapes. The pattern is a complex arrangement of squares and rectangles. Contrast is also important in this image. The girl’s bright white dress is an important contrast to the darkness inside the building. Finally, the arrangement of pattern in the image and the repetition of circular shapes create a composition with balance and unity.
On the Photo Analysis - Choices page, you will find five photographs that have an important place in the history and development of photography and its place in the world. You will choose one and complete a Photo Analysis on it.
As in the example below, you will be asked three essay questions. You will want as much detail as is possible in your answers. The final question is the most important one to our work in this course, and so it will be given the most weight. You will want to discuss at least three elements/principles of art and photography in your discussion.