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Digital Technology 2 Wk 2 - Evaluating an image

Evaluating an image - What do i see? How do i read it?
                Click Portraits of New Zealanders
                Reg Graham
About the Author:
Reg Graham is known for his photographs of people involved in the arts.  Graham captures the personalities of over ninety of the influential and compelling artists of the last decade.

His portraits are black and white and have been described as giving the viewer a “fascinating and intimate glimpse into the characters of his subjects”.  His photos are taken in a context that is familiar and important to the subject.  He uses natural light with minimal photographic gear.

                Peter Nicolls, Sculptor
                Taken at Dunedin Polytechnic

What do I see?
  • The subject is sitting on the floor with his legs and arms crossed.  He is wearing a checkered shirt with the colour turned up and pants.
  • The subject is leaning up against a sculptor.  In the background there are realms of paper, planks of wood of different sizes.
  • The room the subject is in looks like a warehouse.  It has a high ceiling which is covered in a silver foil.  There are two windows or light sources in the ceiling.
  • There are wood beams supporting the arched ceiling
  • The photo is in black and white

What camera and compositional techniques have been used?
I am unsure of the precise camera that Reg Graham uses but i know that it was a film camera.

The compositional techniques he uses are:

  • Leading lines: On the sculptor there are three defined lines which is framing the subject as well as leads the eye to the subject.  The ceiling with the arch formation reinforces a circular movement around the photo.  Where the eye can easily move around the photo, drawing focus on to the subject
  • Framing: Sculptor framing the subject, framing of the ceiling also frames the subject.
  • Straight on angle shot with the subject, but also a low angle shot.
  • Contrast which is apparent in the textures on the ceiling, sculptor, shirt, even under his shoes. 
How does this image make me feel?
I feel drawn to the image.  There is a sense of strength, openness or a willingness to share.  I get this from the inclusion of the sculptor.  Although the subject has his arms folded which could represent being guarded.  The semi formal pose – arms crossed, face looks discerning and the expression is soft.  This gives a relaxed impression.  The textures in the photo translates well into black and white and adds depth and interest to photo. 

Ideas the photographer working with?
The photographer wanted to capture the artist in his environment.  He wanted to convey the artists personality noting that he was struck by his "quiet, intense manner".  They did not know each other very well but during the photo shoot, Reg Graham had expressed how easy a subject Peter Nicholls was.  Reg Graham formed a good connection with Peter Nicholls because this he seems very relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera.

From the photographer (Reg Graham)
                “He was an easy subject – relaxed, talkative and helpful.  Peter gives his total attention to you when in conversation and I think this is obvious in the photo I have chosen here.”


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