Blog posts, thoughts, things

A photograph that made me think – Bruno Barbey – Morocco, Town of Essaouira

This photograph made me think about Identity. The identity of the people inhabiting the town and why they felt the need to mark the walls with their hand prints. As a sign of recognition? As if to say ‘I was here’ or ‘I am a part of this community’ or even to say ‘I existed and made my mark on this world’. But who will remember or recognise who made each print but the mark-maker or makers themselves?
The person who is sitting in front of these marks, huddled with their face in their own palm. Why are they sat there? Why are they hiding their face? Hiding it from the camera or the world around them? Did they leave a mark on the wall? Their identity is hidden despite them being there.
This photograph made me think about the link between the hand prints on the wall and the person who’s hiding behind their own hand. Although you can’t see the people who made the prints on the wall, you know they were there. Although you can’t see the face of the person sat in the scene, you can see they are there. As individuals, their identity is mysterious and scattered, but as a collective, it’s all together as one.
Jack Theobald
L1 Photography, University of the West of England


A photograph that made me think – Siesta of a Lottery Ticket Vendor, Plaza Mayor, Inge Morath

A photograph that made me think

The moment I lade my eyes on the photograph, my first reaction was confusion. Only after reading the title some things were clearer. I was immediately struck by the unnatural way the newspapers were covering the figure even though the woman’s position was extremely natural and in a sleeping position. As soon as I read the title, everything made sense. Not only I understood why the newspapers was covering her head, but also why they were on her arms.
As soon as I saw the photograph it reminded me of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s surrealist period, specifically his photograph in Livorno, Italy in 1933 in which a man is reading a newspaper whilst his face if wrapped by a curtain. In fact I was expecting the photograph to be taken by him.
Another thing that captured my attention was the cautious composition which I felt gave great depth to the photo. The woman’s body is perfectly aligned with the walls shadow and fits perfectly in between the space the wall creates, almost giving the illusion that the wall is completely flat. Even though in the title it says “plaza” Inge only shows us a very narrow portion of the space making it seem like another typical spanish street.
The traditional black attire combined with the pose made me think of a figure praying. What makes it more serious and mystic is the fact the face is hidden, unknown.

Olimpia Piccolo

L1 photography, University of the West of England


A photograph that made me think – Napalm Girl, Nick Ut

Initially my eyes were drawn to the naked child screaming in fear, for her life running towards the lens. Secondly why is she and other young children running for their lives? This image, known as ‘Napalm girl’ was taken by photographer Nick Ut in 1972 during the Napalm attack in Vietnam. Just from looking at the expression of the running children’s faces shows the absolute fear in their eyes, but what happens next. This photograph makes me think for many different reasons, maybe it makes me think more than others as in more developed countries we are rarely faced or open to these horrors. I don’t often think deeply about what else goes on in the world such as this attack, perhaps I should. It makes me think how lucky we are yet often I/we don’t appreciate it, but often in less fortunate countries all over the world people are put to their strengths possibly every single day. It makes me wonder if the children were brought to safety after this photograph had been taken and it makes me think how I would feel if it was my brother of sister, that maybe we should make more time out of our day to think.

Izzy Percy
L1 Photography, University of the West of England

A photograph that made me think – Freight Train, Wendover, UT, 2013 – Huntington Witherill

Witherill has captured this image with a focus on the detail and the point of view, this image was created asymmetrically but with a strong feeling of being almost symmetrical; I find that this draws you into the image and captures your full attention. The subject of this image is highlighted and you are forced to recognize it straight away (The Freight Train.) This unusually shaped rest stop with its long arch over the roof was near a desert, the train tracks are a mile away – the placement of this was key for this composition. Witherill wanted to capture the train as if it was moving along the narrow wall – it almost looks like a model train set. The composition has to be a key factor for this image, if it was taken any higher then the train would have looked like it was floating, any lower and you wouldn’t have been able to see the train. The foreground is soft with the tones that have been created. The detail that has been captured on the concrete tells a completely different story than the overall image, implying that there is more to this image than first meets the eye. Something I will personally take away from the image and photographer is to try and capture compelling compositions and work with the view point to my own advantage.

Samuel Mitchell

1 Photography, University of the West of England


A photograph that made me think – Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother

I chose this photograph as I felt it expressed such emotion, sadness and concern instantly. The woman is centered facing the front and the two children either side with their heads turned away. This puts the attention and focus straight away on her and looking at her expression makes you feel her sadness and you want to know what has happened to her and her children by asking yourself questions.

The two children are cuddled into their mother with their heads turned in, this body language makes you understand they are scared and they are fully dependant on her. This mother and child relationship highly impacts how you feel for them as they look in danger and you want them to be safe. There is also a clear absence of the father which puts more pressure on the mother and again makes you feel sorry for her. Their clothes look ragged and unwashed which makes you think they have been involved in a horrible cause or are poor and desperate. The black and white tone to this photograph adds to the glum feeling, it also creates a sense that is was in an older time period.

Fiona Warburton

L1 Photography, University of the West of England


A photograph that made me think-The decisive moment by Henri Cartier Bresson (1952)

Initially, the image was striking to me but I never understood why everyone found it so special, I always wanted to know more about the image such as who was the man jumping, where was it taken and many more questions but as I started to go out photographing more and more,I started to understand what the context was to a photographer. The image is a snapshot as is many of Henri Cartier Bresson’s work but I began to see it for what it’s title is,The decisive moment it shows how fleeting photography can be and how you cannot just let a shot go if you see something spectacular as a photographer you have an almost obligation to capture a moment and it’s the boundary between the everyday and mundane, without the man jumping over the puddle, there is no image as impactful as this. This image made me think about my own practice and made me continue to carry something around permanently to enable a chance to capture something special. This image is a reminder to me to think about the opportunities that can be missed if I don’t look at my surroundings and find that decisive moment in the everyday.

There’s no name on this article. Can you please me know who write, it, thanks. Shawn


A Photograph That Made Me Think – Gammelyn’s, Daughter A Walking Dream – Kirsty Mitchell

The title of this image combined with all aspects – from props, colours, makeup, wardrobe, placement and composition instantly portrays deep emotion. Most of which we may never be able to understand. I instantly see a photographer using photography as a method of therapeutic realise in order to communicate feelings, thoughts and dreams. The delicacy of the subjects’ body language especially her hands portrays vulnerability, if her hands were clenched I would instantly see aggression and discomfort. This alone shows how important placement is within any photograph. Previously researching this photographer, I know the background of this photographic series (Wonderland – dedicated to her late mother) although, this image is one which stood out to me, making me question a lot about it: what is the reason behind the colour scheme? Why is only one eye showing? Many questions which may never be answered. My thought process wonders in regards to the ships symbolism. Does the ship symbolise her saying goodbye to her mother? The hands placement around the ship combined with the expression on the models face – to me – shows sadness, someone who does not want to say goodbye or let go of someone they love.

Natasha Hunt-Cafarelli

L1 Photography, University of the West of England.


A photograph that made me think – Normandy Invasion, Robert Capa

Lack of colour, contrast and a bleak sky leave the photo with a sombre initial impression: The only object easily drawn out from the background a body and soldiers. Strangely it seems to even add detail forcing us to take in the entire image. As the title suggests showing the past corruption of a French beach, recognised for family holidays. A seascape covered in harsh metal and corpses, overlooked by the “victor”. Bodies fading into the pebbled beach, when examined properly draw your mind back to the beach scene, sunbathers long lost to the invasion. The couple in the foreground show odd emotions for the scene – the first hands in pocket with a cigarette; numb to the suffering caused, resigned to his sins for the “greater good”, the other hands on hips frowning, as though clean-up is all that’s running through his head. All was for a good cause and in hindsight seemingly an understandable (though not acceptable) loss of life. Bringing this all back to the seascape is haunting for me – showing the power and flaws of those before whilst invoking such a positive comparative memory. Really bringing me into the photo to question past, present and future.

Adam Stoller

L1 Photography University of West England

A photograph that made me think – Greece by Joel Meyerowitz

Initially I was interested in the angle that this photograph is taken at, looking across at a passing car from inside another almost like a still from a movie. The people in the car appear to be a family and the young girl in the back has a carelessness about her, which makes her look like a typical teenager, the way she is dressed, sat up on the back of the car and staring at the camera with a stubborn expression. You can just about make out that the woman in the front of the car, assumed to be her mother, is smiling widely almost in a way of keeping up appearances, to seem as though they are a happy family despite the father looking less enthusiastic. This image resonates to me family holidays, where you can almost always guarantee at least one argument during the trip, particularly at the teenage age where you begin to feel as though you have grown out of the things you used to do as a child. the young girl dressed ready for the beach, with a flower in her hair, yet her body is slumped as though she is bored and her expression moody, disappointed.

Martha Dunning

L1 Photography, University of the West of England