Mirrors and Windows: Winogrand/Crewdson

Points of comparison in Crewdson vs Winogrand:

  • the lighting in Crewdson’s “Penitent Daughter” is a harsh sidelight, while Winogrand’s work has direct light.
  • while both appear to be almost at eye-level, in Crewdson, you get the feeling that he’s at a distance, looking very slightly overhead. In Winogrand’s piece, it appears as though he’s crouching in the driveway and angling his camera upwards.
  • the lines depicted in both images are primarily very angular. In Crewdson, there is especially strong use of the diagonal line. Winogrand’s also uses the diagonal, as well as straight lines. However, the organic shapes of the mountains in the distance soften the lines a bit. Both works also utilize the implied line, as there are people in both images who are looking in a variety of directions.
  • both images use extensive depth of field. Most of the subject matter contained within both images are in focus, especially in the piece by Crewdson.

The piece by Crewdson is definitely a mirror. His image is staged, and reflects his dystopian view of life in Suburbia. There are heavy psychological overtones contained here. Shame, shock, disgust; one gets the sense that all these emotions are being felt by the subjects.

In contrast, the piece by Winogrand is perhaps a bit more commonplace. It wouldn’t appear that this image is staged. It’s more of a window on the world, a vision of everyday life in New Mexico, circa 1957. The viewer still experiences emotion while looking at the image, but its not quite a mirror into the psyche of the photographer; it’s more of a window onto society as a whole.

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