Lesson 2: Inspiration

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    This assignment is particularly difficult for me. I feel very strongly about what works of art inspire me and my “likes” and “dislikes” but have a difficult time articulating exactly why. I am especially inspired by photographic images and art displayed on album covers. Many of the albums covers I enjoy are albums of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and the Grateful Dead. I have never explored particularly why or who is responsible for the photographs or artistry. Therefore, I have chosen a photographer that has intrigued me in other ways.

    I have always been intrigued by photographic works of art in black and white. One particular artist that sparked my interest in photography was Ruth Orkin. One of her more popular pieces entitled “American Girl in Italy” was one photograph that I recall from my earliest memories that had particular importance in shaping my view of photography and the photographic image in general.

    In this photo, Ruth Orkin captures an image of a female walking the streets of Italy. The female is obviously disturbed by the men that are eyeing her either because of the words they are shouting or the looks they are giving her. By looking at this photo, you can feel exactly what this woman feels and can imagine yourself in her “shoes”.

    The reason this particular piece “spoke” to me is it demonstrates how one can capture intense emotion while only having a snapshot of the event that is taking place. The viewer of the photograph can sense what the woman is feeling in that instant and the obvious discomfort she has simply walking a city street. I have always been amazed by a photographer’s ability to display feelings, emotion, and the true sense of being “there” in a 2-D snapshot image.

    The specific theme in the aforementioned work that I identified as being the element that was the greatest importance is the display of emotion. In this piece, annoyance and discomfort are obvious. Instead of using her photograph to evoke emotion, she has displayed the emotions of those individuals pictured for anyone viewing her work to see.

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I know the photograph you’re referring to. You did a great job of explaining it. It’s a beautiful shot, but what’s interesting is the photo’s ability to tell a story without words. It is the perfect example of story telling through body language and the the “eyes” of the your subjects. For those of you interested the image can be found here


    Again thank you for sharing this.

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