Professor Michals

HW #1 Gordon Parks Assignment

The photo by Gordon Parks I was assigned to describe is called Man Emerging. In the photo an African American man is poking his head out of a hole in the ground. The man is looking towards his left like he checking the area to make sure he won’t get caught. The photograph was shot at a low angle and there is an interesting contrast between light and dark in the photo. I find the contrast particularly interesting in the way the light hits part of the subject’s face. Another characteristic I see is rule of thirds because the subject is not centered in the photo.

When doing the reading for this photo, I learned that this photo is part of collective of phots based on a book called Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. The book is about a black man surviving in 20th century America and the book deals with things like black nationalism, black identity, Marxism, etc. In the book the narrator tells readers, “I live rent-free in a building rented strictly to whites, in a section of the basement that was shut off and forgotten during the nineteenth century.” So in reference to this quote Parks takes a picture of a man poking his head out of a pothole, suggesting that this is how the narrator got in and out of his forgotten basement home that he was illegally living in. So, based on this info, it shows the lengths black people had to go through to survive in such a racist and classist era.

1 Comment

  1. rmichals

    Sorry I missed this earlier in the semester.

    Your discussion of what the picture is about is thoughtful.

    Be careful about using the expression rule of thirds as the main subject is largely in the center of this photo even if a little high so the rule of thirds isn’t in use here.

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