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India Duncan Homework1 01/19/2013

Comparing White Road by Ivan Sigal, and A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Characters by Taryn Simon to Robert Frank’s, The Americans Robert Frank- The Americans Robert Frank has constructed his photo book to have a clear path. When a book is read, the viewer peers at the first page that is revealed when a page is turned. So, Frank has set-up his book to follow this natural instinct that many book readers have. Photos are placed on the right side of the book and never on the left side of the page or back of the right page. This sequence tells the viewer that his photos have a connection with one another. There is not too much of a color scheme. The black and white photos are placed on a completely white background. Maybe this is his intended purpose to allow the pictures to pop, or float off the page. Robert Frank’s narrative is not straight forward, rather it may not tell a story at all. I believe it points out the community and the different lives within it. There is a sense of community because Frank depicts people gathered together at the beach. There is a photo, which reveals the cityscape and row houses. A black couple in the foreground of this photo peers back at the camera. Throughout the sequence, different racial groups are presented, but none seem to mingle with the other- he is keeping these different lives separate. The sequence starts off with the sign that says remember your loved ones. After that, couples and individuals are depicted doing various tasks. He even manages to portray the love of the old as well as the young. A photo, which I believe connects to the very first image of this photo book, depicts a sleeping subject. I could only denote that when one sleeps dreaming occurs. Maybe he referenced this sleeping subject to the dreams we have of the world, our fears, and our loved ones.

Top- photo is of a city scape/ couple. Bottom- photo of families gathering at a beach. These two photos showcase the community, and race in America.

Frank’s beginning photo. Sign says Remember Your loved Ones 69 cents. Indicates a since of remembrance and also the American way of making a profit.

Ivan Sigal- White Road The narrative of White Road touches on the despairs of life due to its many complications such as death, and family. The first photo within the sequence is of a woman who could be sleeping or dead. This photo was perhaps produced to make its viewers feel unsure. And from looking at the rest of the photos there is an unsure nature about all; life is also unsure at the most.

The next photo depicts a photo that is dream-like. My attention is brought to the woman in the circle because of the previous image. The blurred and shaky movement that is seen creates a ghostly feel. I cannot help to relate this woman to the previous, and come to the conclusion that maybe she has passed on.

Next image is of a shadow. The transition between the picture above and this is smooth, and leaves a memorable impression. The shadow can signify that time or a certain moment has long passed.

The images from this point on stray back to having a silent mood. Flying birds are depicted in another photo, and there state of being too, seem questionable. This photo makes me think of life after death due to the next image, which reveal a boy peering up at the sky. The two images placed together work well with one another, and help the viewer to configure a meaning of Ivan’s narrative. If the two were placed a part from one another, a different meaning would come forth.

Next photo creates a break or pause within the sequence. Even though there are no blank pages (which usually indicate a resting point for the viewer), this picture separates the series or creates a resting moment for the viewer. The lady who might be dead is being lifted by what appears to be a nurse to her eternal resting place.

The rest of the sequence mirrors her life, fun moments. So, this photo could be of remembrance. The sequence from here on out could represent what the woman left behind, then to possibly pay tribute to her as being a strong and fruitful individual.

With this series Ivan managed to have repetition of gestures and scenery (the two images above show the same gesture), which helps connect the photos as one, creates smooth transitions, and is often aesthetically pleasing. Ivan’s photo book is completely different from Robert Frank’s The Americas because Ivan definitely has a clear story line. His sequence and also age set-up is different; each page is adorned with a photo. It is the composition within the photo that connects the images as a whole, rather then the set-up.

Taryn Simon- A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Characters Tyran Simon has a different approach to creating his photo book because for one, his photo book is set-p like that of a book. Secondly, Simon incorporates personal objects from his subjects into his book, which makes the photo book become a historical document. And third there is the use of text, which is spread out, and in some cases presented heavily on the page. But, like Robert Frank, Simon has made the choice to leave some of the pages without images and just text, some with text and without images. The composition of the entire photo book is alluring because of the page set-up and how he has photographed his subjects, or lac of subject. One must ask why these setups, why are backs turned, sideways sitting, shirts only as the subject. One page has a chain of individuals and the next few pages have photos that are assorted two photos to a page. One of the photos displays a subject while the other photo reveals the ghostly essence of another subject.

Image within the photo book have a book format.

Simon’s photo book has a mystery vibe. And because he chose an historical figure to represent, this even more make me think of the book as being a mystery because history is full of surprises. Hans Frank, Adolf Hitler’s adviser was charged with crimes against humanity. This text helps to configure what the photos represent. Simon’s style is about depicting certain individuals then photographing memorabilia of those individuals. This setup and the subjects portrayed provide historical information.

Text of who the objects photographed belong to- Hans Frank, Hitler’s adviser.

Photograph of Hans Frank study.

Homework 1  

Photo book comparison- Ivan Sigal, Taryn Simons, and Robert Frank