Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Final Paper: Analysis 9




Since the start of this project I've been battling with my decisions, ideas and final choices. I finally decided on analyzing two photos by Margaret Bourke-White,  “Mahatma Gandhi at His Spinning Wheel, Poona, India, 1946” and  “Bread line during the Louisville flood, Kentucky, 1937.” I did this to see how she captivated the audience and how she pulled us in to these images. My research question was; How does Margaret Bourke-White captivate her audience with her images? 

My "ah-ha" moment occurred when comparing the images side by side. At step five, "distinguishing absences" I realize that White used the absence of place to her advantage. In the image of Gandhi, we only see a white room in the background, there are no environmental signs of India anywhere within the image, therefore cause us to become more curious about the subject rather than where they're from. Also in the Kentucky flood image we wouldn't know where these people are from without the title. We only see a line of people and a billboard which pulls us in to want to know there stories; where are they from, why are they in a line, what's going on? Also, White seems to use heavy symbolism to convey her message and pull us in to interpret it. Gandhi's spinning wheel was a symbol freedom, peace and getting back to basics. And for the flood, the billboard's irony says it all. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Final Paper: Analysis Exercise 7&8





            For my final paper my research question will be, “What did Margaret Bourke White focus on in her images?” I want to explore what White saw throughout her jobs, was it the people? The materials? The people? The community? Or the politics?
            The specific topic I’ve chosen is Margaret Bourke-White’s images during the late 1920’s early 1930’s. I will analyze three of White’s most famous photographs from throughout her career. The Images I will focus on include, “Mahatma Gandhi 1946,” “At the time of the Louisville flood 1937,” and “ The living dead of Buchenwald 1945.”
            Each of the images are strong black and white images focusing on the people and their expressions in the images. For the portrait of Mahatma his expression is serene, distracted, indirect and seemingly at ease therefore allowing the viewer to see him in this light. Also, we cannot see exactly where he is, we know it’s a room but there is an absence of place and therefore an attentive pull towards the person and not the place. For the Louisville the image is instantly and clearly meant to be ironic. There is a line of African Americans waiting in line for refuge from the flood, yet they are standing below a sign that says, “World’s highest standard of living: there’s no way like the American way.” Its irony is clear and can be interpreted in many ways. The absence of seeing where they are going makes you wonder who is handing them food and help? Perhaps it’s a group of white folks? Perhaps it’s a group of African Americans. Either way we still remain curious of where their line (in hope of something better will) end up. Last but not least we see “The living dead of Buchenwald,” and they truly do look like the living dead. White captured these men in a time of despair what really draws us in is their sunken expressions behind a barbed wire fence. We want to reach out and help, reach out and know their story. They are in despair and Margaret has captured these emotions from this period of time for forever. White has captured three very different types of images from the context to the expressions what is White really focusing on?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"At the Time of the Louisville Flood:" Analysis Exercise 5&6

Title:  "At the Time of the Louisville Flood"
Photographer:  Margaret Bourke-White
Date:  1937
Location:  Louisville, Kentucky

            It is plain to see that a single photojournalist captured the image, this photojournalist is known as Margaret Bourke-White. According to the caption the image was made in 1937 “During the Great Ohio River Flood of 1937, at the height of the Great Depression…” (“Behind the picture:.” 1937). It was originally published in Life Magazine. It is a photograph created by White’s famous large format camera. The caption from Life magazine reads, “During the Great Ohio River Flood of 1937, at the height of the Great Depression, African Americans in Louisville, Kentucky, line up seeking food and clothing from a relief station, in front of a billboard ironically proclaiming, "World's Highest Standard of Living." While this information is crucial to the image one can easily see that these people are suffering. These people are the subject of the picture; they are standing in line in for an ounce of hope whether it be food or clothing. Ironically they stand in front of an “American Dream” billboard. The people in the billboard are white, smiling and wealthy looking. While these folks in line are mostly African-American and suffering from a terrible natural disaster. I believe the purpose of this image is to illustrate the events occurring all over America during the Great Depression. This image touched on both the Depression and the great Ohio River Flood as well.
            In my research I have learned that the photographer, Margaret Bourke-White was one of the first female photojournalists. “She completed college at Cornell and opened her own photographic studio in Cleveland” (Cox Ph.D , 2003). It is clear that White had an eye for the progress and downfall throughout America. Also, she was hired as “became one of the first group of photographers hired by Life(Cox Ph.D , 2003). White’s importance grew rapidly in the photo-journalistic and visual world. Her images had audiences captivated, curious and concerned with the issues she covered. According to Life Magazine that picture has, for generations, been the Great Depression photo, somehow distilling in one frame the anguish that defined the economic cataclysm of the Twenties and Thirties.”(“Behind the picture:.” 1937). I believe this to be true because of the emotion, irony and setting of the image being so strong.




Works Cited:
Behind the picture: Bourke-white's American way photo and the flood of '37. (1937, 02 08). Retrieved from http://life.time.com/photographers/behind-the-picture-bourke-whites-american-way-billboard-and-the-great-flood-of-1937/

Cox Ph.D , P. (2003, January). The digital journalist. Retrieved from http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0301/pcox.html

Susan Goldman, R. (1999). Margaret bourke-white : her pictures were her life . New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams.
(Susan Goldman, 1999)



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wildenhain Exhibit: Analysis Exercise 4


I was somewhat disappointed with the set up at the Wildenhain exhibit. When entering you immediately feel a sense of absence or a lack of presence. None of the placements seem to make sense or allow your eye movement travel through the exhibit "smoothly." What most upset me is what you see in the image above. Helmers would agree that, It's hard to understand the artist/exhibitors "manifest content." It is not immediately evident of where they want us to look. To me this line up says; "look at this blank wall behind these cool pots..." It's dry and somewhat boring for such beautiful work.

According to Helmers Ch 2. step 6 "Our memories of similar images combine with the present image in order for an image to have an effect on our emotional state (in other words, in order for us to be angered or interested)."  I believe my preferences come from my mom being an art and photo teacher. I've been taught over and over that an image or space has to lead your eyes through the entire "frame." This must be why I am not content with the layout of the Wildenhain exhibit. Such beautiful pottery should allow the audience to be drawn to each piece in the gallery.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Growth & Youth Symbolism: Analysis Exercise 3



While this image doesn't do this piece of artwork any justice, "Growth and Youth" by Josef Albers stands tall in the Eastman Building on campus at RIT. Josef is a famous artist who did these color studies with various colors, hues and tones of the entire spectrum. He was an artist who loved to experiment. What color looks good with what? What color vibrates off of this color? What color represents this idea? What placement represents this story?

You wonder how can a bunch of squares be symbolic? Helmers would consider this piece to be abstract symbolism. Helmers states that "Abstract information is reduced to elemental components such as geometry, line, and color. Symbolic information takes the form of conventional systems of communication in which humans have constructed signs and attached meaning to them." So how do these abstract forms symbolize Growth and Youth? In my opinion, The color palette represents, the sun, the center of the world. For many parents, they claim that their child is the "center of their world." Next, the placement of these forms from bottom to top represents growth. We all talk about "growing up" never "growing down." Overall these squares symbolically and genuinely represent the Growth and youth of us RIT college students who have left our parents arms to grow within this experience and school/.

Graphic Designer Burton Kramer: Analysis Exercise 2: Part 2

 "Line Dance 5A" Burton Kramer

Hey everyone!
Sorry this took so long, I finally got a chance to get to the Burton Kramer exhibit! Can I just start by saying how incredible it was, I am truly impressed that he brought his design knowledge into a hand painted series. Looking at all of the pieces got me to question what these lines mean? And why he gave it the title that went with each piece? What is the significance of these pieces to Kramer?

The piece I chose from his show is called "Line Dance 5A." It is plain to see the love Kramer has for geometric shapes in this design as well as in most of his designs. I chose this piece mainly because of the title and also because of the color palette. The title caught my attention because I go line dancing almost every week and plan to teach it one day. In viewing the piece after observing the title I began to question how these shapes relate to line dancing or if I was simply taking the title too literally. After looking at it again and again I went to "describe it in detail." The color palette is cool and has a pastel feel to it. The values of the cool blue tones vary in even tones. The lines vary in position, but most of the lighter weight lines are horizontal. The shape of the overall canvas is a long thin rectangle while the shapes within vary from triangle, to square, line to box, ect.... Along with the the texture of the image is very flat and mono-toned. Last but not least, the space between these forms vary.

Overall, in a literal analysis, I think all of the details in the image describe line dancing as a form of music/dance that contains various people who participate and various forms of music that go along with it. The color palette says that line dancing is traditionally a more low key dance form. The position of the lines show the movements in the dance (wall to wall style). And the flatness of the texture can say that the dances themselves are very flat and sometimes boring but still beautiful to look at. This image can have many different opinions but this is what I personally got out of his creation "Line Dance 5A."


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Graphic Designer Burton Kramer: Analysis Exercise 2
























This week we attended a presentation with Burton Kramer, famous graphic designer. While I had never heard of him prior to the presentation I can now see how he, "became a driving force behind that city's reputation as a lively, modernist environment," in Toronto. His enthusiasm and eye for design is astonishing. What I found most interesting in his presentation was his love of geometric shapes, those which are commonly overlooked. I found it amazing that he created such gorgeous, unique and unexpectedly interesting holiday greeting cards from simply shapes. I will certainly keep that in mind for my next graphic design project!

Along with listening to him talk of his work RIT also has an exhibit of his up in the University Gallery. I wasn't able to fit in a visit with my busy schedule so I researched some of his work to analyze and I plan to post another analysis after I visit his exhibit on Monday. I chose Kramer's "Canada's 28th Parliament" design as my piece to analyze. I chose this piece because it has a simple color scheme, lines of various weights, the way an image is formed through the colors and lines, the texture that is created by the varying line weights. Along with these literal elements comes the way Kramer arranged each individual piece of the work in order to subtly show the Canadian leaf symbol. It illustrates the pride Canada has within itself by the arrangement and composition of the lines and the image it portrays. Helmers mentions that "Ideas are also conveyed to an audience through balance, proportion, pattern, and contrast." and this piece by Kramer has all of those values in order to make it a well done graphic design.


-Andrea Warren