COMD Advanced Photography
The Szarkowski’s Mirrors and Windows thesis is comparing the way a person views a certain idea versus the way it actually it is in the real world. Both of the photos are set in some type of suburban area. The main focus of the photos is children although there is a large age gap. The first photo is very detailed I think every thing placed in the picture has a purpose. The background is very dark but the car lights are pointing at the girl on the lawn. The second photo is very dull and empty but the child in white draws your attention. The artist may be trying to depict how they feel about growing about in the suburbs versus the way the world views it. The first photo is the mirror and the second is the window. The first photo shows a lot more emotion in the faces of the subjects the second doesn’t show much emotion but shows this is what it is.
Mirrors is more of an eviction of emotion from the photo. It is more intimate and your personal view of things. Where as Window is more of a realist way of looking at things. It shows that there is a world out there with different views other than your own. The Crewdson photo is a mirror and the Winogrand is a window. Crewdson is a mirror because it evokes emotion. It shows more feelings and gives a more intimate view with the viewer. From the anger on the mothers face to the shock on the daugheters face. There is body language from the half naked girl standing with her head hung low in sadness or disappointment. The Winogrand is a window because it shows things in everyday life. It doesn’t give off emotion, it’s showing you children in a drive way. It makes you think about why the kids are outside, what were they doing, it has interesting scenery in the background. Theres no just one point of focus like the Crewdson. In the Crewdson the lighting is frontlit where as the Winogrand is diffused light. The tone in the Crewdson is high key and the Winogrand is high contrast.
Robert Frank meaning on the mirror idea means that people are going to experience different outcome on the same life situation. Not everyone is going to experience how to tie their shoe, or how to drive a car. We all have different people and things we interact with so we will definitely experience things different. Even though we have different experience we can still relate to the problem. Basically what I am trying to say it that the mirror concept in photographs will have something that is always going to be reflected back into our idea of life. As for the meaning on the window concept from Robert Frank it means that idea of freedom and endless possibilities.
In the photograph with the three females, the mom and her two daughters is a mirror concept from Robert Frank because he is creating a story that is in his head. He created a real life conflict with mom and daughter. Robert is basically making a mirror image on life that could possibility happen to you or not. I would say the mirror concepts are situations that make the viewer stuck on that one area on the photograph as for the window concept it have you wondering about every other subject matter in the photo with a sense of freedom.
In the photograph with the baby running out the house garage is a window concept from Robert Frank before this idea is like you looking out the window and seeing what is real. This window concept is not planned as much in his head. The window concept you can say is him capturing life or things as it is already without much planning and it still have you thinking what is going on. From the images I have seen today from Robert his window images always involve scenery landscapes with a subject matter. The scenery landscape style gives a sense of freedom to the point you wonder what is beyond life in the sky. Robert two window concept photographs I have seen is always giving me perspective and a sense of freedom. It gives me a sense of free thought to analyze the photo any how I want. As for a mirror concept you get one or less possibility on what you can say is going on because most things are planned.
I believe that Szarkowski’s Mirrors and Windows thesis is based on comparing your life to someone else’s. The mirror is just a reflection of who you are and or who you are trying to become. It’s like an inside view on the way that you view the world. I also see it as being a creative individual. Windows are the opposite, it displays the way that the world sees you. Broadcasting what is the norm. Showing what is expected based on what we have come to accept in society today.
In the Crewdson image, i see this one as a mirror, because its something that you don’t see very often. The mother is proof of that because she in a state of either shock or disgust thanks to the grocery bag on the floor next to her. This image has a High Contrast thanks to it being taken at night time. Its sharp overall with very light depth of field. It is has a heavier balance than the other photo thanks to the suburban background. The subject is also side lit from the way the car lights and the street light shine on her.
In Winogrand image, i see this as a window because this is what most people except to see in a normal middle class family. Nothing here is out of the ordinary its basic in a way. This photo has full scale tone and contrast in the background and also in the garage. It is also soft focus because the whole image isn’t sharp. The child has direct light shining on her thats why she pops out of the garage while the boy in the back has directional diffused light on him.
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.
- At eye-level.
- Shallow space with the subjects.
- Main subjects are people.
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.
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.
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.
State Szarkowski’s Mirrors and Windows thesis in your own words. Compare and contrast the Crewdson and Winogrand photographs using the vocabulary of photography. Find four points of comparison. Then use the mirrors and windows metaphor to compare and contrast the two photos. Which is a mirror and which a window? Use your observations of the photos as evidence. Each claim you make must be supported by something you can see in the photographs.