After our critique session on Wednesday, I spent a lot of time thinking about composition and shapes and about how the slightest variation of placement in an object can result in a total change in meaning for viewers. I felt that this picture from a series of portraits by Rick Guest really emphasized this for me. The change in orientation from an image that would regularly be view horizontally, seems to highlight the extremely angular presentation of the arm (in a way that I don’t think could be accomplished horizontally). Whilst this is a totally achievable shape to make, I felt that the irregular composition almost made the arm seem grotesquely unnatural (at first I thought it was broken!). The artist commented on his work by saying, “These dancers operate at the same level as any other world-class athlete, but they have another layer to add, that of performance. On top of everything else, they need to conceal all the effort it takes to deliver that performance and communicate the emotional intention of the choreographer.” And for me, the almost seeming “broken” arm really highlighted this sense of hidden pain as, with the artists intention in mind, I interpreted the image as a inviting the audience to engage with a “change of perspective” that revealed pain from something seemingly so effortless.
You can read about and see more of Guest’s series here.