Look at the photographs on these pages. Again, try to “read” each picture, by looking for the information and meaning it might convey, both directly and indirectly. Once again, ask yourselves as many questions about each photograph as you can think of. Use some of these to start:
- What is going on at the moment the photograph was taken? What do you think happened shortly before the picture was taken? What is about to happen?
- What do you see? Do the objects and background provide you with any information about the people here?
- Is the main subject pictured close-up, or far away? Does this affect the way you feel about the subject? For example, if very close up, does it make you feel you are right inside the space, or confronted by the action? Do you feel as if the action is remote from you?
- Are there unexpected camera angles, levels, strong contrasts of light and dark in the photograph? What impact do these have?
- Do you think the photographer posed or deliberately arranged the photo, or was it taken on the spur of
- What is the focal point in the image, and how has the photographer organised the picture to draw your eye to that focal point?
- Do you think that the camera simply shows what is there, in front of it? Or does the photographer use photography to show his or her feelings about the subject? If so, how?
- Do you think that in fact the photographer can use the camera to show his or her feelings about the subject? Explain.
Talk About This
Look at this photograph below. In the 1950s, when it was taken, the white man here was very much the one with all the power. He had control over the fates of the black men in this picture. Yet this white man appears very small – almost pathetic – and the black man on the right is tall and imposing. This might be considered an example of a photograph expressing irony.
How is the camera positioned to achieve this effect?