Home Work Assignment #1 Photo Description


Twins Shoe Repair Shop, 1976 from his Harlem, USA photograph gallery, photographed by Dawoud Bey. As stated in his project statement Dawoud has never lived in Harlem, but the photographs that he took of the people in Harlem were as if he has been living there the whole time and known the stories of the people personally. Dawoud is like a hunter waiting for the right time to press the shutter, like this photograph of a shoe repairman/shoe shiner who had a long day at his job judging from his appearance and his tools lying in the floor and the chair. At this moment the shoe repairman features came together into an expressive configuration that reveals his soul, his inner reality of life of a lower class person in Harlem and also of how tired he is and his expression tells us that hes doing it not just for himself, as for his family (which we don’t know). In this photograph the shoe repairmens  though and feeling combined themselves in a certain way which can be expressed through this expression, appearance, and his body language. 

This photograph is taken in black and white while being sidelit to make the shoemaker the center point of the photo. The viewpoint of the photograph is from the eye-level of the shoemaker and its sharp overall with a little selective focus as the focus is sharper on him and a little softer at the background. Dawoud uses high contrast to show the mood of the shoemaker in vertical landscape mode to show how run down and tired the shoemaker is judging from his surrounding and appearance.

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One Response to Home Work Assignment #1 Photo Description

  1. rmichals says:

    You describe the photo well. Side light makes a lovely portrait. And I agree, Bey captures this man at an intimate and revealing moment.

    You yourself note we don’t know anything about the man’s family. Always try to draw a line between what you can observe in a photo and the associations you bring to it that may or may not relate to the photo itself.

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