“Genius of Photography” (Kertesz)

“Genius of Photography” (0:00-2:50)

Kertesz was in Meudon, Paris in 1928 and saw the town with its many people and the train that passed through it. He took his first picture that showed no sign of life. It lacked the train in the background and the streets full of people. It was a bland photograph and it didn’t tell a story or leave any mystery to the viewer.

The next day he returned to the exact spot and took a second picture. This time the picture showed the street busy with people and the train passing halfway through the picture. It showed the smoke leaving the trains smoke stack and it also showed a man in the foreground carrying something covered. This second picture did hold an element of storytelling but at the same time it held that mystery. What was the man in the foreground carrying? Where was he going? Why did he look so shocked? This photograph allowed the viewer to determine their own story for the scene captured in the photograph.

While taking these pictures, Kertesz was intrigued at the passing of the train through the town; how it quickly came into frame and then just as quickly left. He decided to take the second picture in order to capture this train as it entered the frame. He was also able to captured the man in the foreground. It one looks closely they can see that he was caught unaware and that the photographer may have startled him because he has a look of surprise directed at the photographer. This is an example of a candid.

From watching this short clip and viewing these photographs much has been learned about photo technique and composition. From Kertesz’s photographs it is clearly shown that in order to have an intriguing photo you must have something that catches the eye. In his case it was the train and the man in the foreground. Kertesz also showed that it is important to have a focal point that bring the photograph together. In his photos the focal point, or vanishing point, would be the middle of the bridge that the train is passing over.

Photograph Citations:

Andre Kertesz. Meudon. N.d. Photograph. Freeing the MindWeb. 28 Jan 2012. <http://jasonhoggan.blogspot.com/2011/06/decisive-moment-fulton-street.html&gt;.


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