This image was taken on 30 july 2013 in Mykonos Town. Summer well and truly in swing, the port is an iconic spot for tourists and a rather picturesque place to mail a postcard. The asymmetrical placement of the box in the foreground, provides depth of field for the viewer. The expanse of water extends beyond the frame and well into the horizon, with the faint outline of a raised landscape hinting at where the water hugs the coastline. The viewer is left to question, how vast is this sea?
Celebrity photographer and master of black + white, Herb Ritts image of Johnny Depp portraying ‘Edward Scissorhands’, recounts a time when Depp was the fresh-faced bad boy. Ritts’ supreme manipulation of tonality (the grey shades) highlight the sinister element of the knife like hands, whilst the paradox of the pale, smooth face endear us to this character’s conflict. With a strong focal point centred on Depp’s face, the viewer is left to stare intently back into Depp’s piercing eyes. Ritts’ use of aperture mutes the background forms and the dark velvet jacket provides textural contrast.
Rick Genest or ‘Rico the Zombie Boy’ appeared in fashion campaigns for high-end designer Thierry Mugler. Not quite what one would expect to be ‘sinister’. The barren and clean aesthetic of the background create space for Rico to really pop out. The triangular shapes of his frame draw the viewer up, with the focal point being his heavily tattoed upper body and blacked out eyes and nose. The choice to make the image black + white add create the minimalism this photo craves to bring Rico’s tattooed ribs, symbols and RIP to deathly life.
This image was taken in September 2012 in an area close to Ayers Rock. The vibrant tones of the red ochre coloured dirt bounce against the blue sky, highly contrasted by the dry outback green trees and spinifex. The conundrum lies in the placement of the restaurant setting. It is indeed a formal ‘outback’ restaurant, for patrons to dine under the stars. The image questions the notion of restaurants being indoors and debunks the notion of open, barren spaces. Warmth is injected into the photo’s foreground from the sun and golden hue in the background, mimicking the ambience of a dining experience.
This image was taken in February 2013 at Fawkner Park, South Yarra. Two rival teams are about to engage in a game of softball. The radiant summer sun casts clear directional light across the field and onto the players, creating warmth and intensifying the dramatic tonal contrast. The hues of red, green and blue are most dominant with texture provided by the dry grass and lush foliage of the trees. Red and blue – the primary colours, really work to add high degrees of vibrancy to the image. With the red team in a strong, diagonal line the viewer is lead in and out of the frame.
This image was taken in August 2013 in Singapore’s Chinese Gardens. The foreground is heavily dominated by the proud, upright statue and of equal presence is the tower in the background. With both in tight alignment, the viewers eyes are invited to dart back and forth between the two, marrying the focal points together and stitching together a story of this dynasty. The vibrant green hues of the manicured garden provide contrast against the slightly over-exposed and blown out sky. The sharpness of the foreground shows the smooth texture of the statue.
The Pirelli calendar, hotly sought after by fashion’s finest is not renowned for it’s austere approach – more the highly prized photography of the female form. Where partly nude and nude photography was seen as only fit for Playboy’s and ‘girly’ mags, now the human body is shot frequently sans clothes for designer campaigns. It’s interesting to note, major print publications still covered Moss’ nipples – which did not detract from the captivating photography of Mario Sorrenti. The images tour de force is it’s simple use of the body’s organic form to create softness.
This image was taken in August 2013 in Santorini in the Greek Islands. It is an interior of a church, built over 200 years ago. The sparsely filled room resembles a grotto, a small alcove built into the mountain to pay respects to the Orthodox religion. How small the room is, can be seen from the dark shadows cast in the top right hand corner, denoting a not too distant ceiling. The simplicity and minimalism lends itself to the art of praying, not staying. The age and lack of tlc can be seen where the paints meet and the white wall is starting to absorb the outside dirt. There’s an abundance of strong lines throughout which add to the starkness of the room.
This painting by Paula Rego depicts two sisters, working as maids for a rich Parisian family – brutally murdering the mother and the daughter. The almost comical like characterisation of the family members deter you from witnessing the crime. The painters use of soft pastel hues, muted with organic tones create a slightly avante garde approach. The dark shadows on the sisters face in the foreground, coupling with the outstretched hands of the daughter in the background intimate something is wrong. With all characters perfectly groomed it is a unsuspecting fait accompli.
This image was taken in around 2005 at Federation Square, Melbourne CBD. It showcases a thronging crowd in full union protest, utilising the only-few-years old urban environment of the Square, as a final meeting point for the rally. The attire of the crowd denotes a classic cold Melbourne winter, amidst a still cheery and unified cohort. Balloons are always a sign of a party, as can be seen from the black circles speckling the mid-horizon line. The open nature of the Square is a renowned meeting point and prized location for events, with the iconic and geometrical shaped architecture in the background.
This image was taken in July 2010 at Splendour in the Grass, a music festival held in Woodfordia, Queensland. At first viewing the foreground is darkly shadowed with form dependent on the amount of light coming through the top-right hand side. As the eye tracks towards the mid-ground, a sea of brightly lighted circles denote people, with the partially abstracted blur of the stage and musicians concluding that it is a concert. You can see one hand outstretched in the middle with ‘rock fingers’ symbolising the love of the band. The illumination from the strobe lights shows the depth of field, with the greatest sharpness being in the bottom left hand corner.
Sculptor Antony Gormley’s works focus on the human body, particularly the abstraction of it’s form. On close look this body is made up of multitudes of small circular shapes, that provide a bubbly like appearance and denote a smooth and shiny texture. The muted background, allows for this detail to come through as there are highlights reflected off some of the surfaces that add to the ‘humanisation’ of his work. There is no contrast in the colouring of the statue, Gormley is relying heavily on luminance to create definition and organic shapes.
This image was taken in August 2013 in Ios in the Greek Islands. A literal interpretation depicts a female standing in a vast, endless sea with the only real sense of mass denoted by the use of the horizon line in the background. Clear, luminous blue water foregrounds and anchors the image, inviting the viewer to dive in. The half shadow cast on the female’s face shows a brightly shining sun, exuding warmth and an ideal temperate. The darkening of the hue provides clear dramatic contrast against a slightly-blown out sky and asymmetrical placement of the male body shows the depth of the water.
This image was taken in February 2012 in Lake Como, Italy. The image is from a helicopter flying over Lake Como and towards the Swiss border. With the water foregrounding the picture, the body of the helicopter serves to act as a frame abstracting the landscape of forestry and residences nestled into the peaks. The form of thick, dense trees can be made out – although the tonal values are all in the same hue of light blue and green. The reflection from the sun slightly blurs clear shape and you get the sense of either landing or taking off. There is a strong horizontal line which serves to anchor the image.
This black and white image of a man acts as a metonymy for war. Photojournalist Don McCullin’s work drew heavily from the Vietnam War. The hunched shoulders, grip on the rifle and shadowed out face, represent a soldier in the midst of conflict. The grey tones of the image work to create a sense of foreboding, with the brightness of the sky the only reprieve against an unrelenting doom. This environmental portrait captures the fear and grit of war, whilst acting as a metaphor for the harsh reality of killing. The creased lines in the jacket assist the viewer to see shape and organic form.
Keeping with the theme of the Vietnam War and black + white imagery, this image depicts a young, anguished man. The fate of the man is not known, one can only assume it was not for the best. The aperture slightly mutes the figures in the background – we can ascertain they are soldiers from the uniform. The evocative nature is significantly projected by the sharp clarity of the man in the foreground. The barren dirt, torment on his face and desolate, dry surrounds create a sombre atmosphere. The multitude of diagonal lines work to create a strong, hard landscape.
This highly saturated image in the bold primary colour of red, is literally being used to attract readers to purchase this book. As red works to arrest attention, is heart warming and a sign of power – the strength of the vibrancy is magnetised by the high degree of tonality. Minimal tonal contrast, the decorative emblem leads the viewer directly to the title and balance to the direct hit of red is sought by feathering out the emblem’s detail in shaded white. Space has been used to create balance and assist the imagery to pop.
The esteemed philosopher, economist and journalist Karl Marx is forever held in this environmental portrait. The sepia tones iconic of this period, create an antique and distinguished feel. Pioneer of the ‘Marxism’ movement, this image encapsulates an historical figure revered by many for being one of the most influential figures in history. The sepia hues create form and texture by defining the smooth, organic cut of his suit and wiry, unruly beard. The hand placement inside the jacket creates a softer approach, unusual for a ‘political’ figure.
This vibrant image by photographer Tim Jarosz entitled ‘A Grand Avenue’ is a whimsical marriage of hodge podge cluttered homes. There is an almost comical nature injected by his use of varied tonal contrast and textured buildings. It works to distinctly characterise each abode, and the vertical lines enhance the structure. The flock of birds flying through from the left hand side bring life and excitement into the image. We want to see who lives in this homes? A real celebration of a cacophony of colour.
The actress Gene Tierney, one of the great beauties of her time is immortalised in this highly seductive pose. A legend on screen, her acting was highly acclaimed. Here the photographers use of black and white creates a paradox. An innocence is depicted by the porcelain white face, framed by voluminous bouncy curls – whilst the draping of her dress and lowered gaze hint at a femme fatale. The shadows cast in the background really provide detail for the folds of her dress and allure of her stance.
This concludes my Assignment on ‘Discovering Design Around Us’.
The brief was to collect 20 images that communicate different ideas and discuss their connection, relevance and relationship between design and meaning. I’ve married my own ad hoc travel photos in with black and white photography that I feel capture the essence of the ideas, as well as images sourced from photography blogs and media websites.