Contextual Studies Task

To begin with my research task, I started with the referenced reading document book by A.D Coleman ‘THE DIRECTORIAL MODE’ 1976.
In this, he talks about many photographers from different field of photography and their work.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, he talks about how photography was not being taken on a serious note by publications and critics by that time in his point of view.
He talks about many of the photographs and among them I picked three of the photographs who I think influences my work for this project.
He talked about photographers like;
Lee Friedlander(self Portrait)
Doug Stuart, Paul Diamond, Ralph Gibson, Irina Ionesco, Mike Mandel, Ed Ruscha, William Wegman, Bruce Nauman, Julia, Margaret Cameron, Anne Bringman, F. Holland Day, Gertrude Käsebier, Ansel Adams, Willard Van Dyke, William Mortensen, Robert Frank, Dave Heath, Brassai, Andrè Kertèsz, Manuel Alvarez, Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sid Grossman, W. Eugene Smith
, Ed Sievers, Adal Maldonado, Arthur Tress, Richard Kirstel
, Pierre Molinier, Lucas Samaras, Lee Friedlander
Joseph Jachna, Ken Josephson, John Pfahl, William Messer (has proposed the use of the term responsive to define his work mode)
, Alexander Gardner, Arthur Rothstein, Les Krims, Anne Bringman
, Clarence White, F. Holland Dat, Gertrude Kasebier Mortensen
, Ralph Eugene Meatyard (his spooky mask shoot with his family).

After researching all the above photographs I picked up six of the photographs who I think will be relevant to my project and be helpful for my idea for this project.

•JULIA MARGARET CAMERON (expression of the people she is capturing, the pose )
•ROBERT FRANK (the location,documentary , reality ,in action))
•DAVE HEATH(documentary, staged? reality)
•HENRI CARTIER (Real images which look staged, the frame )

•SID GROSSMANweiner_dan_1951
This is an image shot by Sid Grossman. I particularly like this image for my project. I like the intimacy and involvement of the two unknown from their surrounding.I am planning to recreate this image but with different concept.
•W. EUGENE SMITH (documenting of all kinds (joy, sorrow, tensed, unusual)


Robert Frank, an American documentary photography, with his most famous work
The Americans,.
A black-and-white photographs series /captured on a cross-country road trip in 1955–56. He captured 80,000 about images and out of which he chose 83 to be published.
His book was criticised when it was released in the U.S. in 1959, But after it was been really appreciated and became a masterpiece of street photography.
I looked for his work and I liked his images that how he is roaming in the streets and capturing images without anyone’s concern. The far most things that I like was the actual expression, the real expression on people’s face known or unknown of his presence. Not only the expression but the location and environment they are in. Every individual in his
images creates a story for himself. I am planning to recreate some of the images and they all in their environment then and comparing these images to now. His work influences me mostly for the location, frame and expression for the idea I am planning for this project. Documentary and expressionless face.
Robert Frank’s book is a compilation of shadows, real and metaphorical.People in his work look lonely, suspicious. He caught the darkness the hollowness at the heart of many American lives, the connection between the American dream and the everyday reality. Contemporary critics reacted with shame and outrage, accusing him of being anti-American as well as anti-photography. A review of Practical Photography dismissed the book’s “meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposures, drunken horizons and general sloppiness”. The Americans portrayed a place and a people that many Americans just could not, or did not want to see: a sad, hard, divided country that seemed essentially melancholic rather than heroic. 19d6e2bcc618013a5ad7f975fd9e84f9robert_frank_018

Dave Heath

As per planned for documenting reality I am influenced by the work done by David Heath. His work is mostly not staged street photography.
Images from crowded places to a portrait of a person on street in his own imagination with not aware of the presence of Dave there, solitary figures lost in thought, Dave Heath’s images talks about the feelings of a human through their expression, capturing random people on streets. A  series of black-and-white pictures from the 1950s and 1960s,. His sensitive explorations of loss, pain, love, and hope of people on the streets are o amazing to see and feel. Abandoned by both his parents by the age of four, Heath lived in Philadelphia foster homes and in an orphanage until the age of sixteen.
His images express his sense of urban isolation and a yearning for personal connection.Whether it be a street photo or film.In the Army in 1952, he was trained as a machine-gunner in Korea during the war there but managed to take numerous portraits of his fellow soldiers. After returning from the army he spent two semesters at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, where he tried to launch his career as an artist in Chicago, and then moved to New York City on Jan. 1, 1955.Success soon followed. His portraits were highly regarded by other photographers in the downtown coffeehouse scene and by curators. By the early the 1960s he had exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and the George Eastman House.


henri_cartier_bresson_childrenHenri-Cartier-Bresson-2It is amazing to see how a photographer has made himself so comfortable with the people he is photographing, who are clearly are not in a good condition and environment. The relation and behaviour among the two can be seen in the first image or maybe it is totally opposite of what it seems to be as when kids were unknown of his presence and after they came to know his presence.
But even in the second image it doesn’t look staged as the kid at the back is in motion and not facing the camera.
I like his composition and use of the frame in his every image in his documentary. The proper sense of time of when to click the image and some looks like photoshop but are not composed such as this onehenri-cartier-bresson-children-picI basically like his composition with his camera and the people in the frame.His all images look so perfect with each of his timing and place and moment.
Each image look like staged and posed but his experience and patience brings out the best images of his work.
Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French documentary/candid photographer considered a master of candid photography,(wiki info) and an early user of 35 mm film. He captured all the movements of the street as street photography and conceived of photography as capturing a very patience and decisive moment.
His proper use of geometrical spaces and frames are incredible. Noticing at his work he the composition of his images he integrated vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines, curves, shadows, triangles, circles, and squares to his advantage. He also paid particular attention to frames as well. As a photographer, he observes each and every bit of place for the best angle and the frame looks for shapes and geometry that occur naturally as well.
When Henri Cartier-Bresson would talk about “The Decisive Moment” he said, “sometimes it would be spontaneous but others times he had to be patient and wait for it”. Regardless he was very methodological when he would go out and shoot, and would only keep his images if every element of his image.In one of his unknown interview he told that when he would shoot on the streets, he would stay as low-key and unobtrusive as he could. I even read that he would cover his chrome Leica in black tape and even sometimes with a handkerchief to make it less noticeable when he was out shooting. Most of the images that he captured his subjects were oblivious of the camera, and thus truly candid.


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