Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Bruce Davidson Analysis.

'Dwarf', 1958, by Bruce Davidson, part of a series of 6 photographs showing a dwarf who plays a slow in a 'Circus' which is a photographic book by Davidson of 88 pages containing 131 titrone plates including this photograph on one of them. Davidson is American and was born in 1933, he is a member of Magnum Photos group where they believe 'photography is a community of thought, a curiosity for what is going on in the world'. I think that this photograph relates to a documentary theme, the dwarf is seen in a regular place and this photograph isn't clearly set up as a photo shoot but instead a realistic moment is captured by Davidson who is invisible to the scene (no eye contact to his camera lens), it gives a sense of what happens to the dwarf on a regular and this is Davidson documenting this. The content of subject matter goes quite deep, it shows a the dwarf as lonely, by himself and clearly being laughed at my an intimidating group, his saddened expression shows how he is feeling and the emotional inner character, it addresses life issue such as bullying and morals - how people can be treated horribly because of a mental or in this case physical disability. The subject matter is realistic, although it could be interpreted as exaggerated because of how clear the group are making it that they are making fun of him, but it is still possible. The meaning is immediately obvious because of the contrast between his sadness and the groups amusement. The flowers in the photograph could be symbolic to the dwarfs sadness because they are dying and drooping. The action taking place creates a sense of movement in the photograph, we sense that anything could happen in terms of the dwarf being made fun of or leaving.

The piece has been framed from a point of view of someone standing near the dwarf, the low angle shows the person looking down at the dwarf which symbolises the sadness and how he is seen as smaller than everyone else. The man laughing is in focus and the couple are out of focus. This shows a clear view that the dwarf can see him laughing but could be unaware of the couple but still expecting it. The objects such as the tables and the distance the people are from the camera are kept quite random, not much thought has gone into it because it captures a realistic scene and meaning to it. Formal elements used are tone to present what is in focus as fairly desaturated and what we see first (the dwarf and then the laughing man) as more contrasted in black and white to grey tones. The subject matter is more important than the shape and line of the photograph because of the narrative and symbolic meaning to it. The overall arrangement of the picture works well because it puts us in the position of actually standing next to the dwarf and witnessing his sadness over being bullied, it makes us think about what we would do if in the situation of being there which is what documenting pictures is all about.

I think the photograph has been planned in a sense of the dwarf being involved in another photograph by Davidson but the situation of the people laughing could have been planned for the subject matter to the photograph or judging by other photographs of the dwarf in this series, this situation could have actually occurred, the fact my secondary researched tells us he is a clown also pokes fun and is a slight pun to him being laughed at. The camera has used a depth of field dot blur on the people in the background but used blurring to keep the dwarf and other man in focus. The darkroom hasn't enhanced this image but has given it highest possible contrast.

The piece effects my mood negatively because it is a harsh subject matter and upsetting to see somebody this upset over peoples ignorance. The pieces shows harsh reality and this is one of the reasons I chose to analyse it, also the idea of putting how people feel into perspective, the dwarfs inner character comes out and so does the people laughing, our emotions of sympathy are evoked so this relates to my chosen starting points because of that and because of how the space is used and given a depth of field.

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