Monthly Archives: January 2015

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.

RR1: Mirrors and Windows


  1. At eye-level.
  2. Shallow space with the subjects.
  3. Main subjects are people.
  4. Perspective.

Mirror: is the daughter picture because of the smaller space of the neighborhood surrounding the family. The picture shows drama and mystery as to why is the young girl standing and her underwear in a slouched, shameful position. The groceries on the ground suggest either panic, shock or worried. The young woman also has grass on her back could mean she either fell or got pushed on the ground.

Window: is the Garry Winogrand picture because of the house sitting alone in the desert surrounded by mountains. The background of the mountain suggest that a storm is coming and the children are all alone. The older child is running after the younger child and the younger child seems either scared or worried maybe the parents just left and they were running to get their attention.


Peter Conquet Mirrors and Windows

Crewdson’s photo of a family outside their home gives off an uneasy emotion right away. The three subjects all have different facial expressions and create a mood for the photo without any real content that suggest anything. Winogrand’s photo of children playing in the driveway is a more relaxed feel and lets you see through a perspective that might not be your own. It creates a scene that is refreshing and you almost feel as if you are there. That is the exact opposite of what Crewdson’s picture makes you feel when you look at it. With Crewdson you feel as if you want to look away because of the content that is shown, but at the same time you want to look closer to try and find a visual clue as to what is going on in the photograph. Also both photos seem to be of a scene in a small town but give off completely different feels. Both Crewdson and Winogrand use different photographic styles to create a feel for each of their photographs. Crewdson uses unnatural light to create the focal point of his photograph. The half naked girl’s back has light shined on it, even though the car is facing her front side with the lights on. Also it is night time and dark everywhere in the image except for the three subjects of the image. This sort of forces your eye to look where Crewson wants you to and stops you from looking else where in the photograph. Winogrand on the other hand uses natural light to create a beautiful contrast between light and dark. With the natural light he still creates a focal point which is the baby who is dressed in all white. Your eye is drawn naturally to the baby because of the intense contrast of the baby with the garage shadow. Crewdson’s photo is a mirror because of the instant emotion it creates. It makes you think what was the photographer thinking of when he was taking this, and what is the message that we should get from this photograph. Winogrand’s photo is a window because it is letting us see through someone else’s perspective. We are getting a glimpse through their eyes as to what everyday life is to them.

Mirrors and Windows Thesis – Wilbert Perez 1/28

After observing both Crewdson’s and Winogrand’s photographs, I carefully concluded which photo was the mirror and the window by using four points of comparison. At first I looked at the lighting for Winogrand’s photo which seems to be frontlit, compared to sidelit in the Crewdson’s. Along with the lighting both photos offer different types of texture, Winogrand’s being emphasized and Crewdson’s being more minimized. When observing focus and overall depth of field, I’d say both photos are sharp overall. Another aspect that both photos share coincidentally is a similar viewpoint, which is at eye-level.

When applied to the metaphor of mirrors and windows, I’d say that Winogrand’s photo is more of the mirror over the window because of the direct lighting and how emphasized our subject is in comparsion to Crewdson’s, which is more of a window or viewfinder peering into what life may be like somewhere else.

Barrington Simpson Response on Mirror & windows

John Szarkowski’s take on mirror and windows speak to me as the romantic(Mirror) and the Realist’s (Window) contrast. The romantic in terms of photography views the world to a some what metaphorically blurry lens where their photos are meant to mx what they feel with what they see. While the realist sticks to the truth in that what they shoot is what they see. We see as the “Romantic” Crewdson’s photo uses low key tones and contrast  and emphasized textures and deep space perspective to show the emotions felt by his subjects. While on the other hand the realist Winogrand’s uses a full scale,soft focus  with two subjects taken at eye-level as his window. This to me was meant to be as just a view into the world of these two children. All thou in my opinion the real subject of the photo is actually only the child in the foreground due to the fact that he is the only object that has high key contrast within  the whole photo.