Saturday, June 9, 2012

FSA Photo of the week

This is actually another Office of War Information image.

This is a great environmental portrait, I think. The guy looks like he's at work, a little rumpled and barely posed. There's enough context to suggest his office, but mostly pushed out of focus to grant the subject the limelight. He hasn't quite been surprised at work, but he's giving a definite impression of sparing only a few moments, with his mind on other things.

His posture, his not-quite neutral expression, and the context of the office around him let us impose on him a narrative. We imagine, as we do with portraits, that we have a little window into the man's life and personality.

It's slightly reminiscent of Karsh's famous Churchill portrait, which is probably a big influence on how I personally view this image. It's toned down in mood, both tonally and in the man's demeanor, and therefore less dramatic. But, since we don't know this guy, a little less drama is probably good.

Albert Mayer, Washington, D.C., Principal Architect of Bound Brook project, NJ. shot by Carl Mydans, 1936.

1 comment:

  1. Perfect example of the "rule of 3rds" - by placing the subject dead center of the image, the image is broken into 3 light/dark regions. Very clever. :)