Blog posts, thoughts, things

A photograph that made me think – Struggling Girl, 1993, Kevin Carter

I remember the heated discussions that followed the first time I and a small group viewed this photo; and every time since, those same arguments float into my head. A small child, alone, starving. A vulture, hungry also, waiting for death to creep in and take the child’s last breath.

The composition of this photo, with the vulture so close to the small child, left alone in the dry, African landscape, with no family member in sight, causes the viewer to question the photographer’s motives regarding the child’s life. The scenario is made worst by the condition of the child, whose feeble body is bent over, in what looks like exhaustion and hunger.

Kevin Carter has cleverly used leading lines and the rule of thirds within the photo, to add interest and appeal to the eye of the viewer, both in the way that the vulture is positioned away from the child and each critical element lies on a third of the image.

I feel that the main purpose of the photo, is for the viewer to experience, through the expected emotional bond to the child, just how harrowing the circumstances of poverty are in Africa, hopefully leading to much needed change.

Alex Ereny

L1 Photography, University of the West of England


A photograph that made me think – Daughter by Gregory Crewdson

Daughter a powerful cinematic still taken by Gregory Crewdson carries great weight and depth like many of his images. Working with cinematic techniques Gregory is able to create a whole world in one image. Everything there was perfectly formed and placed by him. I think the image is so wonderfully crafted with the emotions being so raw.

The daughter, the main focal point is alone and vulnerable. A mother exasperated and stunned at what she’s seen with her shopping strewn on the floor. The younger sister in the car; almost like there’s a barrier keeping her from the scene like she’s not old enough or ready to know the story.

Looking at the background we can tell it’s set in a typical suburban american town, much like many of Crewdson’s images. With houses all looking the same it brings more power to the abnormality of the daughters nudity. The pressure on irregularity I feel stems from the typical social norm we would expect from this neighbourhood, that being a conformed and well behaved society of people.

I think that many of Crewdson’s images are carefully crafted to undermine our expectations of places we know, carefully questioning why we expect it to be that way.

Amy Mifsud

L1 Photography, University of the West of England


A Photograph That Made Me Think- ‘The Bogeyman’ by Duane Michals (1973)

I have chosen one image from the six image photo series ‘The Bogeyman’ by Duane Michals. The theme of this series drifts from reality to fantasy and sets important conventions that you find in modern fantasy cinema, making it very innovative for a series of images from the 1970s. I’ve chosen this particular image firstly because I find it’s visual qualities the most intriguing out of the whole series; it’s the transitioning image of the series, and from here on the ‘bogeyman’ comes to life. This is where the series takes a much more sinister and fantastic turn, and to me what makes it so interesting is the consistent uncanny and uncomfortable feeling that ultimately comes to a crescendo in the second half of the series- beginning with my chosen image. I feel that Duane Michals’ creative intentions for this series were to play on human emotion and fear, firstly because the bogeyman was a very famous mythical childhood monster, something every child was scared of-which is represented by the small child in the series, and because the set begins in a very mundane and everyday setting, it is very easy for viewers to relate to it and feel a sense of uncomfortable nostalgia.

Farren Quinn

L1 Photography, University of the West of England


A photograph that made me think – Untitled (Morton, Mississipi) William Eggleston

The photograph was taken by William Eggleston. The subject of a photograph is an old man, sitting on a bed in a dark bedroom, holding a gun. What made me think was this mans backstory, where was that picture taken and why is he holding a gun? I have found these answers in Anne-Celine Jaeger’s book ‘Image Makers Image Takers’ where she interviewed Eggleston among other things about this picture. He simply explained that the photo was taken in a small town in Mississipi called Morton in 1972 and the man used to be the night watchaman of the town where he would keep the peace. Right before the image was captured the old man was showing his bullet wounds, what also adds more character to the picture.
I like that the composition in this photograph is really simple yet eye-catching, on the other hand maybe that’s exactly why. One way or another the image communicates a lot in it’s clarity. I think what’s also appealing about this photograph is how the old man was caught candid, while telling his story and how his gentle grip around the weapon and his lack of any intense facial expression makes the images atmosphere so special.

Kamila Lozinska
L1 Photography, University of the West of England


A photograph that made me think – Navy CPO, Graham Jackson plays “Goin’ Home” by Edward Clark

This image, of Navy CPO Graham Jackson, intrigued me with its unmissable emotion he is conveying, drawing the audience in to look deeper into the connotation of this impulsive composition. LIFE magazine photographer at the time, Ed Clark, was asked to attend Franklin D. Roosevelt’s funeral cortege in Warm Springs, Georgia, in 1945. Around 135 photographers arrived to get a shot of the caisson alongside Roosevelt’s casket, however, Clark heard the accordion playing Dvorak’s “Goin’ Home’ from behind and was the only photographer to take notice of the Navy CPO’s expression. Jackson was a personal friend of Roosevelt, even collaborating on the song “Goin’ Home” in the Little White House the day before the president unexpectedly died of a stroke. From this information alone, you can feel the heartbreak and feeling of mourning in this one image.

I love the way Clark has composed this image. It makes the audience question whether Jackson is looking up at something specific, and what he must be thinking at that point in time. Also, from Clark’s viewpoint, he focuses on Jackson, yet you can still make out the facial expressions of the figures in the background. Whilst some show grief-stricken body gestures, others look, slightly confused as to why the Navy CPO is so devastated. Perhaps suggesting they may not of known about Jackson and Roosevelt’s close bond. Clark uses a shallow depth of field to pinpoint Jackson as the main subject, and even though colour photography wasn’t that popular in the 40’s, I like the fact that the composition is in black and white as I feel that the contrast brings out the falling tear down the Navy CPO’s face and the sadness in his eyes.

Alice Barkwell

L1 Photography, University of the West of England


A photograph that made me think – Bubble Series, Melvin Sokolosky

This photograph has been taken by one of my favourite artist called Melvin Sokoloksy. I always find it very interesting and also unique every time I see this photograph, because of the way that the composition has been set, the effect of the background and the surroundings itself but also the isolation that’s been created in the busy landscape. This photograph makes me question how the artist has done this, also why has he put a model in the Faberge egg in the first place in such an exotic landscape.

This photograph makes me think very creatively about the whole photography, as there are so many different perspective ways of looking at this as other people might view it same way as me. But I think that this photograph has shown me to very distinctive direction ways in the photograph or even in photo-shop. It’s also interesting to think that how just changing the photograph to black and white has created a whole different mood into the photo as it makes the photograph quite dark and mysterious.

Christina ( Min Ji) Kim

L1 Photography, University of the West of England


A photograph that made me think – Hannah by Laura Stevens

Still wearing her trench coat, I see a drained young woman tired of life. I can only assume as her face is further afield and although, she as a whole is the subject matter, and my eye captivates her, I can’t help but notice the doors. The audience is looking into her apartment from the hallway of a building. She has let the photographer in, but not physically or virtually.

I love the composition of this shot because it drives my curiosity as to why she has left her front door open. But not only that, she clearly had no energy to continue further. Her handbag has also dropped to the ground alongside her. Perhaps she had a bad day, or a one night stand. Her hair appears rather rugged and her expression distracted, as though her gaze is locked onto a pet.

I can appreciate the imperfections of the hallway’s interior; the dirty staircase in view, the doorstep carpet, and the wonky plug; which actually confirms for me that this is swaying more towards the dingy New York City apartment cliché. The dark earthy shades of brown in the hallway really resonate with emptiness.

The time of day is not apparent, as we see no windows nor daylight. Stevens uses a nice element of rule of thirds, cutting the central doorway of subject into more thirds. Also noting it’s been captured at eye level, suggesting Steven’s was crouched down at the correct angle that could successfully encapsulate enough floor space.

Rossella Picciuto

L1 Photography, University of the West of England


A Photograph that made me think – ‘This is what it feels like’ By Rachel Baran

Rachel Baran creates these surreal worlds which you can easily get lost in with your own personal thoughts. I find her images both beautiful and also disturbing to look at, either way the photographs that she creates are always hypnotising to look at.

Telling stories through photography will always be an indispensable part of the art form. Even though this photographer is young and new to the photographic world, she shows a creative that you would see from an experienced photographer.

Rachel Baran loves to push boundaries and freely admits this in one of her quotes about her image ‘This is what it feels like’:
“Making the impossible appear possible has and will always be my end goal.” – Rachel Baran

The image ‘This is what it feels like’ is dark, introverted and full of suffering. All those things can be seen in this image. The lonely girl standing on the rock is showing in her body language that she is feeling so sorry for herself, facially you can’t see this as the facial expression are obscured. I am inspired by the way that the image is actually captured as it is a print and not a digital image, I’m also curious about the way her feelings are portrayed in her pictures.

The way in which handwriting is used on the physical print of the photograph is intriguing as it gives a more personal and sentimental value to it. I feel that this picture can be quite deep and meaningful if you look in the right places. On first glance ‘This is what it feels like’ could be perceived as a very peaceful image, if you were to have another think of the physiological meanings that may exist, you can see that not everything is obvious. Baran’s work is constantly evolving and growing and I think that her image ‘This is what it feels like’ is inspiring.


Ellie Amos
L1 Photography, University of the West of England

A photograph that made me think – Sleepwalkers – Joanna Kane

Although you immediately get a morbid feel from this image, you would assume that it is a real person being photographed due to the limited lighting and vision. Joanna Kane made casts of dead people faces and named the project ‘The Sleepwalkers’. The title is haunting enough without thinking about its actual meaning, she captured in such precise detail every aspect of someone who is estentially eternally sleeping. She attempts to keep them alive in a series of literally and emotionally dark images.

The casts are lit in such a way that it appears they are emerging from the darkness, almost as if they are rising from the dead, this is definitely enhanced by the black backdrop. Although the images as a whole is very dark, she has made every feature of the face visible, whether they are smiling or have a blank expression it gives you the impression that this is how they looked when they died. This could also be interpreted in the ‘sleep walkers’ idea that it is their expression from when they woke. The darkness of the images is reduced by the soft expressions and closed eyes of the subjects which relates to the ideas of them being asleep.

Emily Williams

L1 Photography – University of the West of England