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Lima - Perù
 

Lima - Perù


paolo_cardone
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It is a real pity that this picture receives so little comments and ratings, it's one of my favorites. So let me do it. This is a simple but moving picture, rather formalistic and we could debate if the horizon should have been level. But it takes me with it, I feel the solemnity of the cementerio, I feel the calm and cool sorrow of the widow despite the hot sun. It reminds me of one of my first trips to southern italy and of my own limited life span.

 

All this happened within the first second I saw the picture. If this is not the sign of a great photograph then I don't know what is.

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This photograph looks like a litograph or a drawing from a 17th century history book ... how did you do this? Did you use a very high filter printing (+5)to leave almost lines? Forgive me, but I am a beginner and very much interested in traditional printing techniques.
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For me this photograph is about simplicity. A simple perspective, few details, an atmosphere. No pretention, no tricks. The slanted horizon adds to this simplicity. This picure tells me that the dead people here did what they could, but their lives were simple. They could not always have horizontal horizontals, even after their death. The woman is a link to those still alive. Her simplicity matches the reste of the picture (black dress, the triangle of the handbag positioned in the center of the triangle formed by the lower part of the dress).

 

I have no idea who are the dead in these boxes, what I say might make no sense in the real context of these people, but that's the impression I get from this photo.

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On first opening up this photograph I had an impression that here was a sketch of an industrialized landscape in the midlands of England, where overworked brick factories extended greedy hands over lively courtyards and where behind each of numerous windows, weavers and watch makers crouched over their work. But then I noticed the factory chimneys no longer puffed, that the windows had been bricked up and that the scene was far from busy, but sleepy. That this was a modern scene thousands of miles from that first impression, did not come until later, until I had figured out the picture's contents.

 

We are offered three walls. Not walls belonging to buildings, but walls for their own sake. Or rather walls to house tombs. Yet not one of the walls displays more than one face. Those faces I saw peeping out of the windows are more properly bouquets or such like. Even the sky, empty courtyard and paving have a uniform face. These things bring a certain immature appeal to the picture. Like the child who expressed an interest in defining the shapes within the walls but who then grew tired of completing the remainder of the picture and who scribbled the rest through in broad pencil shading so as to quickly get off to play. A little like Englands Lowry perhaps.

 

The other thing I notice in terms of shape is that whilst these walls would appear to be identical to each other in having been built five tombs high and so forth, the photographer has presented us with blocks of different size and shape. I would suggest it had all the potential to be symmetrical, but that was rejected in favour of this more haphazard approach. I like that too. Is that not another example of the child's rough, immature approach; quickly sketching an outline, the sooner to begin the more interesting contents? Same goes for the apparent slope of the horizon, though I think the camera was placed level.

 

Despite the domination of the walls, the subject for ultimate focus is the single walking figure of the woman. She seems oblivious that she is surrounded by the tombs of hundreds. She seems to be carrying a humble white plastic shopping bag and is looking straight in front of her. One might think that being alone in such a place might be spooky. But it doesnt seem to bother her and the light airiness of the picture doesn't seem to raise such an emotion. The walker seems more interested in getting on with her life and cooking her apples or whatever is in the bag, rather than the bodies along this way. And who can blame her? Clearly these tombs are harmless. They were there when she went to the market that morning and theres every likelihood they will be in the precise same position when she returns again tomorrow. There would be far more alarm if they were not.

 

Only the shadow to the lower left breaks up the uniformity of the shape and shading and with it the one sense of forboding, because there's no telling what produced it.

 

The shades in this picture are wonderful. Mid to light grays and white, bloodless tones. With black reserved for the living, the palour throughout the vast majority of the picture only serves to highlight the womans indifference towards them all. She seems to be a thoroughly modern, forward thinking type of woman, not given to conservatism and claptrap.

 

I know your English is poor Paolo. Let me tell you that all that writing above says, is that I think your picture is very good.

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The very light whites and greys in this picture and the almost complete absence of black intensify the impression of emptiness and death. Even the woman seems lifeless. What we see is not decay, mouldiness, decomposition, what we see is death in its abstract form. The absence of everything: colour, sound, motion, joy - this picture gives me an idea how Eurydike must have felt in Hades.
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I agree with Phil in his assumption that the camera was level for this shot. Even so we are presented with some subtly peculiar shapes. While the rear wall is clearly sloping down to the left, the top farthest most corners of the side walls are level to each other. The verticals however descending down from those points lean to the right. The center courtyard area slopes to the left along with the rear wall, but as for the sidewalks on either side of the courtyard the one on the right is lower at the far end!

 

All of this provides an uneasiness to the composition that I think adds greatly to the image. Add into this the tones and featureless sky and I'm given the impression that I'm looking at a single frame of a very strange dream. Nothing overtly frightening, but nothing at all comforting. The only living soul in this dream, a mysterious figure at that, walks through with a purpose, but we have no idea what it may be. The positioning of that mysterious figure is perfect by the way.

 

The longer I look at this image the more it draws me in. I get a sense of our uneasiness with the concept of death, and how our presence here is only temporary. Like this woman we are just strolling through for the moment.

 

I like this very much!

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I'm not sure what to think of this photo. My first impression was that it looked like a Mark Escher drawing and I was expecting strange and twisted perspectives, for instance, but then I looked closer, and I still could not tell what it was, maybe a drawing in charcoal, perhaps. Reading the Jason's and Ilan's threads, which were the only one's posted at the time, I was asking myself: Dead? Tombs? What? I looked still closer and could finally see what the image was, but even then, couldn't really find anything to really say.

 

So, several hours later, I'm back and it is easier to look at in terms of recognition, i.e., I can understand what it is, but I still can't think of anything to say regarding it's content. As for the photograph as a photograph, I can see that symmetry is important, and the woman breaks it up at the right spot, etc. It seems a little crooked, as if the horizon is slanted, but just a little. The most, I don't know, interesting thing is the large dark, I suppose, wet area in the middle. Considering the location, there is something ominous about that spot. The woman is like Mrs. Grim Reaper and I love how her purse is perfectly situated within the silhoutte of her coat.

 

I think there are better photos from this same exact camera postion, maybe under different weather, or different time of day, although this is a very good photo, indeed.

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I was reading along and then ...

 

"The walker seems more interested in getting on with her life and cooking her apples or whatever is in the bag, rather than the bodies along this way."

 

Great line that en 'it? Worth preserving wouldn't you say?

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Oh yeah Phil, that's a killer line! I used it on a friend of mine this afternoon. Hope you don't mind? Went something like this -

 

Bob: "Hello!"

 

Friend: "Hey Bob, can you play golf on Sunday?"

 

Bob: "The walker seems more interested in getting on with her life and cooking her apples or whatever is in the bag, rather than the bodies along this way."

 

Friend: "Let me call you back."

 

As I think about it now, I'm not sure I used it correctly.

 

;-)

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Posted

"The walker seems more interested in getting on with her life and cooking her apples (...) rather than the bodies along this way."

Phil, I always cook apples rather than bodies. Especially along this way. Or another.

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