10/29/14 Response

Ashley Gilbertson’s work is displayed as part of the New York Times Magazine Photographs gallery at the Aperture Foundation. Her photographs are black and white still-life images depicting the bedrooms of what one would assume to be small children. There are a row of four of these pictures side to side on the wall. Without reading the press release, the pictures don’t seem to hold much meaning aside from a few details suggesting that the owners of the room served in the army. However, upon reading, they become far more somber as it becomes clear these rooms depicted are the Bedrooms of the Fallen; soldiers who died in battle and had their childhood rooms preserved by their heartbroken families. The observer is then able to sympathize with the reality of loss and internalize the real consequences that wars have on those involved. Gilbertson seems to prefer soft diffused light that comes into the room primarily through windows. In her photos, she strives to take a picture of the beds, showing how undisturbed the sheets are, in addition to the objects around the beds, such as toys and posters, giving character to each of the fallen soldiers that used to live in their rooms.


Ansel Adams’ Classic Images display photographs of nature, also in black and white. His photographs range from bare trees and cliff-sides to pictures of the moon above landscapes. In all, they appear to be records of the beauty nature offers, as Adams was an environmentalist before he passed away. Adams uses a variety of lighting types depending on the image being viewed. Some have diffused lighting distributed across the whole image, while others have hard, direct light in some parts and more even tones in other places. Regardless of the lighting though, the features of the scene are always the most prominent part of his imagery. Rivers create leading lines meandering across the photo and mountain peaks create focal points that the eye gravitates to. All in all, Adams’ work conveys a feeling of awe, both towards the subject of his photographs and his technique in which he captured his images.


Finally, Stephen Shore’s work encompasses photographs taken in Israel and the Ukraine. In both locations, Shore took pictures of landscapes, buildings and people, giving insight to the life that is to be had in them. These photos, unlike the previous two photographers’ work, are in color and have full tones from highlights to shadows. Shore’s work here is to document the survivors of the Holocaust in his photographs, something that is not too apparent by simply looking at his pictures. One would naturally be inclined to connect them to the conflicts that both Israel and the Ukraine are involved in. Stephen Shore puts emphasis on culturally defining images, for example, the sands and clay buildings in Israel and the forested areas in the Ukraine and Russian hallmarks such as a bust of Stalin and Soviet medals. In all, his work is pleasant to look at, but like Gilbertson, it gets a deeper meaning with context.

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One Response to 10/29/14 Response

  1. rmichals says:

    You describe the Ashley Gilbertson series Bedrooms of the Fallen well. It is not in the images themselves so much as what we know about them that creates their emotional impact. All photographs are like this. They mean more, the more we know about the context in which they were made.

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