Driving Shoot

Summary: e.e cummings ‘ poem is a metaphorical recollection of a woman losing her virginity as told from the perspective of an awkward narrator. He uses the imagery of starting a car and enjoying a ride to frame the tone of the experience, whereas Phillip Levine’s poem is more about confronting a grim reality through passing by its unfortunate effects day after day, as one would driving to work. In Levine’s poem, the figurative person written about wonders what has become of Detroit after returning from parts elsewhere, and realizing things have taken a turn for the worse.

Communication Problem: How does one take the same toy car and impart an awkward, youthful take on it, then reverse and show something very downtrodden and depressing.

Image Ideas: On the principle of tonality, brighter colors and high key lighting would best match e.e cummings’ work, while more dramatic low key lighting would fit Levine’s poem. I feel the camera angle and cropping would be closer and intimate with e.e cummings’ poem while the contrary would create a lonesome feeling for Levine.

Results: The car I brought in, a 1957 Chevrolet, had such a personality in the shoot. When going for something somber, the red paint was still vibrant where light fell on it, but it was the surroundings that really gave the image its connotation. Very rarely did the color become defused based on the settings of the camera. It was because of this, the bright positive images shined through almost literally. The photographs in shadow are strong in color contrast as well as light and dark, the red comes through in a very impactful way, and broken up by darkness, the car takes on a forlorn, lost quality, which I think lends itself to Levine’s work.

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