Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vanity Fair Portraits

So I made it to the closing weekend of the Vanity Fair Portraits at LACMA. I had seen the show a while back, but I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked, so I went back today with my old friend Sandra. We were in there for probably 2 hours, looking carefully at every piece in the exhibit. Anyhow, there were a couple of pieces that really stuck with me from the show. One of the shots being of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. with Joan Crawford, by Nikolas Muray on Santa Monica beach. The photograph really made me start thinking about a narrative, and symbolism, and all the things you want a viewer to get into when looking at your work. Something that is interesting is that neither of them are looking at the camera, yet there is so much happening. Also, the image is very still, and again so much to think about. In the image, the horizon line creates so much of the narrative. It separates their gaze from each other, other than the fact that they are looking in opposite directions. His gaze breaks the horizon just above the water, while her face falls just below the horizon line. His body acts as the anchor, while she lies with a dreamy pose against his back. It's so interesting to think about what that means, as if he is the protector looking out over the sea, and she trusts him to stay in her own dreamy state. His pose is active, and hers is passive. It's really interesting that so much can happen in a single still pose. The second image that I found myself really wanting to look at was of Madonna, by Mario Testino. I just couldn't get over the color palette, and her glamorous, yet vulnerable gaze towards the lens.

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