Mirrors and Windows

From my understanding, John Szarkowski’s describes a mirror as a romantic expression as it reveals itself onto things in this world and a window as a the world as we know it is explored in reality and existence.

 In Crewdson’s photograph, the people looked more staged and unrealistic, which makes it a mirror. The people in this elaborate photo reveal psychological anxieties, fears, and longings in the viewer. This it because, it is not a usual scene to see a teenage girl outside in the night in just her underwear. Also, the photograph evokes emotion to the viewer from not only the unusual scenario but by the dramatic photographic elements used to support the staged scene and the facial expressions on the mothers face. She looks deep in thought and the daughter seems isolated and ashamed, both to the mother and the viewer.Although a very creative, staged scene, the photograph background is normal; a dark night in a small suburban town.The lighting helps to play a part of the mood and emotion in the photograph, such as the different pockets of light on the lawn and houses, the lighting in the back outlining the tree and the main front light on the car and daughter.

Whereas, in the Winogrand photograph, the opposite is shown as a window. The scene is more realistic. Seeing a child in a garage while passing by is not as unusual as the scene set in Crewdson photograph. His photograph does evokes a different emotion, the viewers are more caught up in why the the children are alone and the vast emptiness of desert scrub and mountains in the distance.The stormy thunderclouds that are seen looming over the distant mountain peak, and the high contrast in black and white, adds another emotion to the photograph, a depressing feeling. This photograph does not look staged, the garage and children look real. 

There are some similarities and differences in both photographs, however they both evoke a different type of emotion. 

One thought on “Mirrors and Windows

  1. rmichals

    You describe John Szarkowski’s use of the metaphor of mirrors and windows for photography well. You point out an interesting contradiction in the Crewdson photo. while it is a staged scene, it is also shot on location in an actual place.


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