Analysis: Why Do I Enjoy This Photograph?

Analysis: Why Do I Enjoy This Photograph?

Blow Up © Knut Skjærven

Blow Up © Knut Skjærven

Why do I enjoy this photograph?

I could ask: why do I enjoy any photograph? And why are there so many that I do not appreciate and that makes me indifferent both as to their content and the way it is handled?

I am sure that we have these discussions with ourself from time to time and that such discussions does not even have be made explicit. There are simply some photographs that are more appealing than others. Without we really know why.

In most cases we do not not need to know why.

I call this type of immediately enjoyable photographs for resting images. They are enjoyable because they rest in themselves.

That said, I find myself doing brief analyses now and again. Mostly without words. They only take a split second operating in fast and frugal mode.

I have decided to make a few a these analyses verbal because it helps me fix the impressions.  I might need them on a later day.

It does not really matter who is the photographer is. The photograph might be new or old. It is, to me, perfectly legitimate to make these analysis on your own stuff. No none come closer to it.

I have noticed that many older images suits me better than many new one. Perhaps since they pay more attention to composition and composition is at least half the image. Maybe much more.

It has to do with a certain feeling that a photograph invokes in you.

The feeling I have when I see the photograph above is that things fit. I have to do with a resting image. When I look closer I can see why things fit. They fit because the elements and structures that I need for these feelings to occur, are all there.

Here is what I see: the perceived centre of the photograph is roughly in the middle of the shot. That is normally not good to have  but it works here since the this main  center is contested by two subcenters suggested by the man on the right side and the mother and child own the left side.

There is a tension between the upper half and lower half of the photograph helping to make the dynamic of the photograph work. The upper half is loaded with information while the lower half is not. This makes for a way out of the image. Even if the ways out is scattered and “the tiles are broken”.

I also notice that the two people “groups” strived away from the main center.  As if they are both discontent with the situation.

One reason I took this photo was the repetition of form I found in the man holding his head in his hands. The lady on the poster behind his back, does the same.

I particularly enjoy the many strong statements found in the posters. You may recognise some of the them and the photographers who made them famous. I will leave it to you to remember who the photographers are.

The overall reason why this photograph works for me is the combination of a) the dynamics of the three centers, b) the tension created by the upper and lower halves of the picture, and c) a number of intriguing details.

The shot is from from the lobby of  C/O Berlin, Berlin. I always go there for exhibitions or a cup of coffee. Many times I find that there are interesting things going on. Like on this day.

Could more words be said about this image? Sure but this story ends here.

Have a good day :-). Thanks for reading.

Copenhagen, July 5, 2016
© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved.

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About author

Knut Skjærven

Knut Skjærven is a Norwegian photographer, writer and researcher working out of Copenhagen, Denmark.

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