Homework 1 – Jahshari Wilson


Dawoud Bey – Harlem Stories

1. What type of photograph is it?

Harlem Stories – is a series of black and white photographs showing the people and culture of Harlem, New York.

2. What can you tell (or guess) about the photographer’s intention?

I can tell that the photographer was aiming to depict the “story” of Harlem, in an old-fashioned type of way.

3. What emphasis has the photographer created and how has that been done?

Many of the photographs in this series are taken at eye level and low level with the subject. I believe that Dawoud Bey wanted to depict the theme of family in this series of photographs.

4. Do technical matters help or hinder the image?

Technical matters help the photographs in this series tremendously. The focus on most of these photographs are sharp overall, showing the subject and background items in great detail. The photographs are also full scale black and white, with some backlit and sidelit light and deep shadows.

5. Are graphic elements important?

Yes, graphic elements are important in these photographs, because the subjects in the photographs are implied and horizontal; the people in the photographs are the first thing you actually notice. They stand out. You meet them eye to eye because m0st of them are at eye level.

6. What else does the photograph reveal beside what is immediately evident?

Harlem, New York has always been an area of culture, diversity, people, and creativity. Dawoud Bey depicted this in his photographs. The variety of people – young, old, man, woman. All of African-American descent.

7. What emotional or physical impact does the photograph have?

The photographs are very meaningful. They give off a cool, serious, cultural vibe; depicting the many faces and people of Harlem.

8. How does this photograph relate to others in the same series by the same photographer?

Many of Dawoud Bey’s photograph series are also in black and white, shot at eye level, and have a variety of people as the main subject.

1 Comment

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One Response to Homework 1 – Jahshari Wilson

  1. You describe Dawoud Bey’s work well. The Harlem Stories series was shot in the 1970s which is why I think you use the adjective old-fashioned. He uses light particularly well to direct our attention to his subjects. As you state many of them look out at us, engaging with us. For Bey, it is the people that make the place. He captured the people of Harlem with great compassion.

    Good job.

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