August 31, 2013 at 4:25 am #18707Alysha ReszkeParticipant
When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!― Ted Grant
I have a soft spot in my heart for black and white photos. While there are many, many photographers out there that do an amazing job at capturing the art of black and white photographs and telling a beautiful story with what they see through their lens, I find Sally Mann to be one of the best at this photographic style.
The piece of her work that strikes me the most would have to be ‘The Candy Cigarette”. With some of her work she has set a reputation for herself of a somewhat disturbing nature due to some people believing her style is a form of child nudity and obscene subject matter. Whether that is true or not each photo to me, tells a story. Whether you or I or even the next guy in line deems Mann’s photos either appropriate or inappropriate she is able to engage me with her photographs and make me want to see more.
The image below, in my opinion, tells a story of a young girl approaching a very vulnerable age in her life. The girl is still a child playing pretend with the candy cigarette but yet fully aware of the world around her. For instance her stance alone and the attitude she conveys in the hand that is holding the candy to the very look on her face says it all. This photo to me is a representation of how she is seeing the world and society at such a young and impressionable age.
In my opinion, if this image was in color it wouldn’t be as popular as it is today and it wouldn’t hold my interest. There are actually several things going on in this image but because it is in black and white I feel she is able to draw focus on the girl holding the cigarette and nothing else. My eyes were immediately drawn to her face and the hand holding the candy. There is a boy in the background on stilts and a young girl to the right who appears to be watching the boy. I did not even notice the other two children until I had looked at it several times and quite frankly the boy on stilts should be able to draw some attention simply because of what he is doing, but he doesn’t. To me a black and white image eliminates some commotion that would otherwise be distracting to the eye or even to the imagination. In all of Mann’s photographs she takes she creates these story lines without words. Mann takes something so simple, whether it be a child, a gruesome concept or even a landscape and creates a vision with a photograph that will make you want to see more. Even if you or I don’t quite agree with the way she is brainstorming, it works for her. That is what I want for myself, to find a style of photography that works for me, one that makes others want to see more.September 16, 2013 at 11:49 am #21291Duncan RawlinsonKeymaster
Thanks for your assignment.
This has take much longer to get critiqued than it normally should. There was the break and then it took a few days for things to get back to normal her on the website. Anyway things are back to normal around here and should be much smoother now.
I would caution you to not romanticize black and white photographs too much. There is certainly a time and a place for black and white photography but often people get caught in the b&w nature of the image. Many times a photograph is simply a great photograph regardless of it’s color or lack of color.
Often many of the historic black and white photographs shot in the past have made the rounds because they’re great photos, not because they are black and white.
In other words it’s easy to think they are good because they are black and white when they’re just good.
What is that expression, beating a dead horse or something… Yeah so I just did that… 😳 Anyway, don’t get caught up in the sexiness of black and white photography. It is very hard to do really well as you will learn in later lessons in the course.
I appreciate that you really took the time here to find out what you like and who you like.
Sally Mann has some absolutely remarkable images.
I also like that you have a unique perspective here.
You’ve done really well on this and I’ll be happy to see you on the next assignment.
*runs off to buy some candy cigarettes*
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.