Monday, January 3, 2011

Raise high the roof beams, photographers

Another recent holiday gift, this one from Bryan Wolf:

He shot this in 2007 at George Kelly's wedding. I was looking through some of Bryan's prints in November and when I saw this one I just about crapped my pants. "You've got to print me this!" I blurted, and a few weeks later Bryan came through.

This photo is unrepeatable. If he stood there for a thousand years trying to get these models to pose so that the girl's hair lined up with the roof beams, it would never happen. But try it by accident in a 1/250th of a second, and there it is! The whole ceiling is funneling into her brain. That, for me, is the essence of photography. Once in a while a portal opens, and when it does you've got to pounce.

Bryan gave me the print at a party and I immediately showed it around to a some others who were there. "Do you like this photo? Notice anything special about it?" I asked.

The reaction was sort of meh. Two ladies dancing. Seen it. No one noticed the thousand year hair. No one came close to crapping their pants.

A microcosm of the broader situation, I guess. Every single person is pulled by different visual tugs. Some folks go for cosmic lineups and funneled worlds. Some don't. And the vast majority can't see them, even when they're captured clearly in 2D.

So thanks, Bryan. Next time I see you, you owe me laundry.


Anonymous said...

I did not notice that at once but instead what struck me is how the beam lines extends the girl's gaze at the other. Maybe the hair line is responsible for that too, even if you don't notice it specifically.

This reminds me that Winogrand shot of a stock and cowboy where the tongue mimic the stetson hat. An incredible decisive moment that one, absolutely priceless.

wolf said...

Blake I'm happy to do your laundry, or anyone else's, whenever one of my photos spontaneously makes a load necessary.

Actually this is the highest mark I have yet to receive from a very discriminating judge---thank you, sir. It is not unlike making someone laugh so hard that she pees right then and there.

TomK said...

Interesting...I used to laugh at the line from the author that said: "I never know what I've written until I read what the critics say.", until I started realizing that art directors never picked the same images out of my contact sheets that I would have; and not by a long shot. After a while, you have to just quit worrying about it and keep shooting...

K. Praslowicz said...

Mmm. Nasty flash party photography. My favorite!

I love the relationship between the arms. the way that you can see the hands touching, yet neither arm obscures the other in any way is great. Almost seems like an Escher drawing.

Blake Andrews said...

And when the starters get tired you've got "Angled arm mimicking ceiling pattern" on the bench.