Robin Michals | COMD 1340 Photography 1 DO97

Category: HW1_Composition (Page 1 of 3)

Avar He Zapata HW#1



This photograph has no name (not that I can find it), but it was taken by Suzanne Stein. This is the eighth piece that you’ll find on her portfolio home web page. It can also be found in the Paris street category of her website. I’m going to start off by saying that when I looked through her work on her website, I honestly felt a little bit uncomfortable on the type of photos she took, but this picture I thought was a bit easier to look at. There isn’t any information that I could find on this one image, but immediately I can tell that this photo was taken during the pandemic (which is when I am currently writing this). It’s set on a crowded subway train and all the passengers are wearing masks. Wearing a mask is a crucial part during these current times, most people would typically be working and attending school from their homes via a computer screen. How people would view society from yesterday has radically changed. It’s clear that this is a new era in human history.  For those who work in a job that requires physical labor, still need a transport to get to and from work. The purpose and intention of this picture could be that it’s meant to show what life is or was during the early 2020s. Everyone has to wear a mask and be socially distant, which is something that cannot be possibly achieved in a crowded place like this. I said Suzanne’s other works made me feel uncomfortable, but the mood I get from this picture is very gloomy, depressing. You don’t know what any of these people are going through in their personal lives, what challenges they are going through. Loved ones lost or in need of help, financial stress, having to work 9 to 5 jobs, maybe someone was laid off, typical stuff.


A formal element in photography that I can make out are patterns. If there’s any sense of pattern or repetition that I can go off by is that there are people in this crowded space who wear masks. What breaks this pattern are people who don’t wear a mask like the little girl on the bottom right corner of the image. Although there are multiple subjects, I can still use the rule the thirds to map out different sections of the image, which can also lead me to leading lines. The subway car has seatings on both sides in the interior. The photographer took the picture in the center of the car. There are people sitting on both sides of the car and a bigger crowd standing in the center. The passenger seats face parallel to each other while the passengers standing in the center of the car have their backs facing the viewer.



I chose the picture Tha Lams Of Ludlow Street, by Thomas Hulton. I think what the photographer is trying to portray in this picture is bright faces that seem to be family members. The background looks like this family struggles to live in a small apartment with five people, making it very crowded. However, if you look at the faces of each subject, there are smiles on their faces. This shows that even though they are not experiencing the best living conditions, being together as a family is more than enough. If the family were not in the photo, I would say the picture as a whole would not look as joyful. There is food on the table as well that the family is posing behind, which also shows a sense of thankfulness.

If the photo were to be black and white, that would also look depressing. On the other hand, the colorful objects in the space, like the jackets hanging, give it a more lively look. The photographer used “figure to ground” in this photo. The contrast of the family and the background catches the eye. “Diagonals” were also used as another technique, as you can see by looking at the slanted table.

Composition HW 1

Photography is the art of making imagery through manipulation of light. In my humble opinion, nothing best illustrates this description more than Thomas Holton’s photo called “Break Time”. The subject matter of the photo is a woman, possibly the mother, sitting alone in what looks like the family’s living room or kitchen. The intention of the photographer in this photo is to portray the life of someone just living their everyday life. The feeling that is portrayed in the photograph is the sense of loneliness but also some hints of strength. My favorite part of the photo is definitely the overall color palette of the image. It has that toned down colors that really give the photo a cinematic feel to it. Moreover, even though the overall tone of the image is somewhat lonely with the usage of a warmer light, it adds a very homey/warm vibe to the photo.

One of the elements that immediately catches my eye is the repetition of the color red. It is very eye-catching and gives the overall mood of the photo somewhat of a warmness to it. The second element that is apparent in the photo is the usage of the right wall to have separation between the figure and ground. Moreover, this gives the photo a more 3d look that stops the photo from looking flat. And lastly the element present in the photo is the usage of leading lines. We can see this everywhere in the photo, from the handle of the unused chair to the door itself. But the strongest line is definitely the table that is being used by the women which directly leads the viewers eyes to the subject. 

Break Time

Michelle Rojas Homework #1 Composition

Upon all the photographers listed, I was most in intrigued with the works of Suzanne Stein. Their work was most visually engaging in its sharp contrasts of colors and subject matter. One photograph that stood out to me more was titled “R Train Platform, 59th and Central Park”. This photograph takes place in the R train 5th Ave train station, it mainly depicts this young couple on the right of the frame holding a exquisite bouquet of white roses whilst five women are sitting in the bench holding either indifferent or bored facial expressions. It depicts two contrasting emotions between the expression of love and passion with indifference. I believe it’s purpose is to show how whilst there could be love shown in this grand city it could not be felt all throughout. With a couple showing loving emotion, they could be outshone by the indifference of the other people as seen within this photograph.
Within “R Train Platform, 59th and Central Park”, we see three important formal elements mentioned in Steve McCurry’s video. Firstly, we see the usage of Rule of Thirds, many would look at this picture and see the main subject, that being the couple, in the right hand portion of the frame. Whilst we see the five women portioned on the left hand portion of the frame. This helps capture this contrasting emotion of passion and indifference as we see them divided within the picture. Furthermore, we see the use of diagonals being used to create movement within the picture. Stein had captured the picture in such a way that we feel the depth of the subway station and fluidity of movements. This creates, as mentioned before, an extra depth to the picture and creates a bigger divide as this movement seems to cut between the subject and the five women sitting on the bench. Finally, we see the usage of leading lines to help aid the eye in focusing on our main subjects, the kissing couple. We see the ladies on the right all lined up and taken at such an angle it in such a way as it is leading to the couple. It also helps aid the mood, we first are drawn to the five indifferent women only to draw our eyes to the couple down the line. it creates a sequence of emotions to the viewer. Thus, concluding the impactful picture taken by Suzanne Stein and the formal elements used as stated by Steve McCurry.

HW 1 Composition- Aiesha Bennett

The photograph I chose is Michael Kenna, Twin Towers, Study 2, New York City, USA, 2000. The photograph is taken in New York City of the Twin Tower skyscraper buildings. I chose this photograph because I liked the angle it was taken at. It makes the Twin Towers look really tall even though they already are. What also stood out to me in the photograph is the contrast of the Twin Tower buildings and the sky in the back. The buildings are really dark while the sky is really bright. It makes the buildings seem kind of ominous looking.

The three photography elements I see in this photograph are fill the frame, figure to ground, and leading lines. For fill the frame element, the Twin Tower buildings take up a lot of the frame of the photo with the sky being the only thing in the background. This brings me to the next photo element in the piece, figure to ground. The Twin Tower buildings are really dark in contrast to the sky and clouds. The sky and clouds are really light. In the photo, the Twin Towers lead your eyes from the bottom of the photo to the sky at the top of the photo which is leading lines.

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