|Manuel Alvarez Bravo, El Ensueno, Platinum Print, 1931|
The photo is 80 years old; the true beauty of it lays in how it transcends time and maintains this beautiful quality of timelessness. The far off, seemingly lost gaze of the young girl is stunning. I looked upon the photo and began to wonder what was going on through her mind. Was it the loss of a loved one? Perhaps the look of a young girl experiencing her first heartbreak. Or is it simpler than that? Maybe exactly what the title suggests, a daydream. Nothing more, nothing less; merely a young girl losing herself in thought to pass along the mundane ness of the day. But as I began to examine the photo further, I began to try and dissect the reasons for the composition and lighting by the photographer. The lighting and how she uses the rail as a crutch to me might suggest an inner conflict or struggle. The only glimmer of bright light appears on her right shoulder; maybe the angel on her shoulder amidst the darkness.
32, but the lines on the face and stress in the brow pain in the eyes suggest a much older and stronger person than anyone of 32 I've met. Seemingly a victim of the depression, to me she embodied American strength at the time. She is the source of strength to her young family. Her children take refuge and shelter at her shoulders. I was completely taken by this photo, to see one of the most significant photos in history in a text book is one thing, but to see it in person was something that can not be put into words. For that I am truly grateful to have gained that experience.
The one image I found most striking and breathtaking is unfortunately one I cannot find a image for and the gallery does not allow photographs of the work to be taken, which makes it all the more alluring for those who have not visited the gallery. The photograph I’m speaking of is Marco Antonio Cruz’s, El Encadenado de Ex-San Juan de Letran. The moment I saw this image I stopped mid stride and just stared, absorbing all of the information given. I studied every bit of information on the page. Aesthetically speaking I was in heaven, immediately I recalled the work of Gary Winogrand. I reminded myself how much more beautiful and more meaningful a candid snapshot can be than a staged photo. Every emotion captured in this image was genuine, from the pain and anguish of the enchained man who seems to be walking around in a frantic daze as the world passes him by unconcerned. He is ultimately only acknowledged by three people; the photographer, the viewer and the well dressed man to his left. The seemingly wealthy man’s face suggests a curiosity that he could not help but satisfy. He keeps his distance from the man; his body language suggests he does not intend to break his stride to help the man. The emotion on his face does not show any sign of sympathy nor pity, only the look one would give a beggar as he pleads for change, something that is beneath us. In my opinion this is the most powerful image in the gallery, one that shows ones pain and another’s disinterest.
Nov 8, 2011
REVIEW | The Dazzling Instant | The Wittliff Collections | Alkek Library
at 9:00 AM