Cindy Sherman’s image

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Cindy Sherman is a famous American photographer and film director. She was born on the 19th of January 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, USA and is currently 54 years old. Shortly after her birth, her family moved to the township of Huntington, Long Island. Cindy currently lives and works in New York City. In her early years she was interested in visual arts at college where she began painting. After frustration at the medium’s limitations used, Cindy decided to abandon the form to take up photography because she realized she could use a camera and put time into an idea instead. She spent the rest of her college years focusing on the course and succeeded in becoming a photographer and film director best known for her conceptual self-portraits.

From the information and resources I have, I would specify that the photographer’s artwork was influenced on the characteristics of a self portrait, mainly females. Quote: “Thinking of general stereotypes… I wish to portray the most artificial looking kinds of woman in myself. I want to explore the most unreal female figures.”

Cindy Sherman typically focuses in photographing herself in a range of costumes. Even though these photos are taken of her, she claims that they aren’t self-portraits because when she looks at the photograph she feels anonymous in her work.

An image that Cindy Sherman beautifully photographed that will be analyzed in my essay is known as the “Untitled #153”. It was produced in 1985 and is a surreal photograph. The artwork is measured 170.7 x 125.7 cm in size. I would say that there is some form of reality in the photo but not everything looks realistic.

On the right hand side of the photograph there is a girl lying on grass which fills up almost half of the photo. The girl has strands of light, wavy, short hair where light captures it and makes the hair more noticeable. Her skin and clothes are covered in patches of dirt. Her face is bruised and she looks emotionless and numb. There is a nice texture on her clothes where crease is formed due to light and dark shades used. Grass is practically the photograph’s background, where it has a nice green grainy texture.

When I first looked at this photograph my eye first led to the girl’s hair. The bright light reflecting off her hair caught my attention, and then it led down her nose, to her face. After my eyes evaluated her face it led then down her neck to her clothes and then it spread across the background.

A lot of curved lines and different shapes are used in this photograph. Cindy Sherman photographed this artwork to achieve a soft focused image. The photograph has been lit by artificial light.

The photograph is composed in a horizontal and vertical direction. A horizontal direction because of the grass and a vertical direction is achieved due to where the girl is positioned. The composition constructed in the photograph follows the rule of thirds, where both directions are attained. The photograph contains flat space because it looks like there is very little depth.

High key tones have been used to emphasise the effect of light coming through the photograph. It also helps to unify the work. Light and dark shades were used to perform shadows.

The bulk of this photograph is dull for example the colours used. Neutral colours are pertained in this photograph, where the colours all match well with its shades. Colours used on her hair and shirt blends with the grey shadows.

The most significant design element and principal of the photograph is texture. Cindy Sherman has skilfully photographed a wide range of textures for example: the folds on the girl’s clothing, smoothness on her fore-head from the light, roughness on her neck, a grainy look on the grass and sharpness on the tip of her hair.

The photograph is set outdoors. The word I would use to describe my feelings of this photograph is mysterious. It looks unpredictable, where you can not assume what happened before or after. It gives you a neutral, but boring feeling. The main subject matter the photographer tried to produce is light and different textures. The main intention of the photograph the photographer is primarily concerned with is probably recording an event. The photo looks surreal and movie-like.

Overall, the photographer’s interest in light and texture makes the image beautiful.

Ansel Adam’s image:

Ansel Adams was an American photographer, best known for his black and white photographs of the American West. He took his first breathe on the 20th of February, 1902, he was given birth to on his parent’s bed. After 82 years of life, he passed away on the 22nd of April, 1984. Ansel Adams was born in the Western Addition of San Francisco, California where his family migrated from Northern Ireland in the early 1700’s. He was a hyper-active child. He received his first camera, a Koadak Brownie box camera during a stay at Yosemite National Park in 1916 to take photographs. After that he returned to Yosemite on his own the following year with a better camera and a tripod. His first photographs were published in 1921 and Best’s Studio began selling his Yosemite prints the following year. His early photos already showed careful composition and sensitivity to tonal balance. Music was his main focus during his youth in his early, though after marriage his attempts at a musical career were marked to an end. He skilfully used his works to promote many of the goals of the environmental movement, but always insisted that, as far as his photographs were concerned, “beauty comes first”. His stirring images are still very popular in calendars, posters, and books.

The inspiration from Ansel Adam’s first visit to the Yosemite Valley interested him to take up photography. Quote: “The splendor of Yosemite burst upon us and it was glorious…One wonder after another descended upon us…There was light everywhere…A new era began for me.” He was influenced by the Western wilderness by the environmental movement. Ansel Adams enjoyed and often took photos of the natural environment where he was always concerned about its beauty.

The title of the photograph that I am going to analyse and evaluate is titled “Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome” published by the famous photographer Ansel Adams on and unknown date. It is a black and white photograph that is approximately 4.5 x 6.5 in size. It was an artwork that was manipulated when mounted and double-matted with non-archival mat board.

In this photograph there is a unique tree slanted to the right that seems to be pushed by the pressure of the wind. In the middle ground, under the tree, there are huge rocks placed that seem to help keep the tree stable. In the background there is the smooth sky and blurred mountains.

A range of textures were used such as the smooth sky, the rough and sharp tree, and the prickly rocks and ground. When I first saw this photograph, the tree branch first caught my attention. The way the tree was structured made my eyes grow across the photograph, down to the middle ground and then deep into the background where the mountains were situated.

The photographer used highly contrasted tone. The tone of this photograph make the bulk appears dull. There are also a lot of shadows with lots of dark tone used. The artist photographed this work to achieve an interesting angle. He composed a lively and careful vertical composition in the photograph. A vertical composition has been achieved because of how the trees are angled. The trees are slanted to the right.

You cannot identify what kind of light has been lit since it is a black and white photograph but you may assume that it is natural light because the photograph was taken outdoors. I think the photographer tried to achieve a clear sharp image while you can see right into the back ground. It is a deep spaced photograph.

Curved, straight, vertical and thin lines and different shapes and has been used to produce this photograph. I feel that the most significant design element in the photograph is movement. The way the main subject matter (the tree) was structured equals up to an amazing photograph. The photographer tried to reflect the nascent environmental movement. I think the photographer is primarily concerned with capturing something beautiful and images in nature.

I like the photograph. I think it is pleasant, beautiful and imaginative. Overall, the artwork is outstanding. I believe he did a great job, and his effort sure paid off.

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