Midtown High View, Michael Kenna

This photograph is taken by Michael Kenna in 2006. It is a photo of Midtown, New York City. It is a black and white photo of the Midtown buildings during the night. I think this picture defines the idea of New York being “the city that never sleeps.” Even though it is the night and that is usually the time when people finish work and are home, you still see New York City being a very active city during the night hours. It is also during that night when New York City is the most beautiful, due to all the structures and lights. I think this is what the intent of the photo is: to show the true beauty of the city and to show that New York City is always a place filled with activity. I think this photo gives off a sense of motivation. It motivates me to keep going and to never give up on goals that I truly want to achieve.

The three elements that are present in this photo are diagonals, leading lines, and patterns/repetition. The diagonals are presented through the streets between the building. Even though you don’t see the physical streets around the buildings, the sense of them being there is shown through the space between the buildings. There seems to be two dominant diagonals that meet at the center of the bottom of the photograph. These diagonals can also serve as leading lines. They meet at the center bottom of the photograph and then pan out in both directions. This leads the viewer’s eyes to explore the whole photograph on both sides which allows the viewer to notice all the buildings and the differences between each one. Another display of leading lines is the vertical lines which accentuates the height of each buildings. There are a few buildings that are taller than others. These lines may lead the viewers eye towards the horizon of the photo, which brings attention to the additional set of lit up buildings throughout the city. Lastly, there is patterns/repetition shown in this photograph. The patterns/repetition is shown on windows of the buildings. Some windows are lit up and some aren’t. This is shown throughout the whole photo and not in just one particular section. Also the roofs of most of the buildings are quadrilaterals and is repeated several times.


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1 Response to Midtown High View, Michael Kenna

  1. rmichals says:

    This photo is beautiful. Did you write about the photo of E. 40th Street? If I am looking at the right one, the street up the center is a very strong diagonal. The windows do create patterns. Leading lines take the viewer’s eye to the most important thing in the photo. In this case, I am not sure what the most important thing is. I think it is simply the sense of density of the city and its activity. The strong line of the street doesn’t really lead our eyes to anything just to the back of the photo and an abrupt stop.

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