Thursday, 28 February 2013

Exercise 3 - Analyse a photograph

Analyse one of your own images and write approximately 500 words using the checklist below:
  • first impression - what strikes the eye
  • the genre
  • intended use
  • immediate situation facing the photographer - not relevant to this image.
  • unplanned or planned photograph
  • technical details if important
  • style or mannerism
  • photographer's intent
  • is there sufficient information available?
  • success

My first impressions of this image is that it is a composition consisting of various artifacts attached to or designed into a wall in full sun. The image is a fairly abstract one and having little variety of colour is mostly about form and texture in a contemporary style. The genre is "found still life." My gut reaction is that it is a piece of architecture from the coast or a piece of old 1930/40s swimming pool infrastructure. I think it is the rendered surface and the strong sunlight that remind me of similar structures that I remember were slightly decrepit and still in use as a child in the 1970's. Of course, as it is my own image, I know that the photograph is of a section of the harbour master's station at the end of the Harbour Arm, Margate.

The intended use is to produce framed prints for a gallery space or the production of a photo-book comprising a series of images detailing the changes over time to a small and detailed part of a building's fabric. The image was planned and time was spent considering the subject matter and which parts of the building to include or leave out of the composition to create a harmonious balance. Technically the picture is well exposed in bright sunlight without visible signs of burnt-out highlights or deep shadow. A small aperture has been used to produce a large depth of field so that all aspects of the image are rendered in sharp focus.

From an analytical viewpoint the style is considered contemporary, consisting of mundane aspects of surfaces/buildings. The photographers intent is to create a sequence of images of sections of buildings and present them in an aesthetic manner - showing detail such as the cracking of the render, indicating movement and ageing of the building, and changes to its surface as pieces of apparatus are fitted and eventually become obsolete. The interplay of light and shadow allude to the physical changes that have been made over time as the shadows change and lengthen across the buildings surface.

A lot of information can be garnered from the image. A glimpse of window in the top left corner indicates that the image consists of a piece of vertical wall that is the side of a building and that the focus is on various items attached to the wall - pieces of unknown apparatus incorporated into the structure such as the air-bricks or the mysterious wooden block and metal strip, bottom left. The glimpse of a plastic office fan in the top left corner indicate that the structure is still in current use.

Is it a successful image? A bit hard this one, when it's my own image. Personally I like it and think that it is. The simplicity of the composition appeals to me and the image shows the characteristics that I wanted to portray - mainly, the curious pieces of attached infrastructure, (its use at one time important but probably now unknown.)


  1. At first sight it's quite a simple image and it was the colour that drew me. Your analysis really brought out some complexity and, of course, that is just the colour blue that I remember on the open air swimming pool that I used to go to as a kid. I was even disappointed when you said it was a part of the harbour master's station!

    1. Thanks Catherine, Funny about the old swimming pool thing. That is the feeling that immediately came to mind even though I knew where it had been taken.