Tuesday, May 13, 2008

1000 words on Small Woods

This is a photograph Jerry Uelsmann created in 1967. The photograph shows three women standing in different positions in a small thicket of trees. The first is behind a thin tree standing at a 45 degree angle from the viewer. The girl appears to be only wearing a skirt but there is not enough light on her body to be sure. She is placed all the way to the left of the picture. The woman has her head slightly tilted and her shoulders slouched in an eerie pose giving the sense that she has done something wrong, She is also standing closer to the camera that the other girls. At first glance the three women appear to be different people but a closer look shows that they are all the same.
The same woman is placed on the far right as well but she is standing in a face forward position. Unlike the girl on the left she is not being blocked by any trees. There is one tree to the left of her and one to the right but there is nothing blocking her from the view of the camera. Her head is up and her shoulders are as well in a way that shows that she is not afraid of anything. She is not the closest to the camera but she is also not the farthest away.
Again, the woman is printed in the woods. This time she is near the middle of the photograph. She is not quit dead center but a hair to the right of the camera. She is crouching down and hiding behind a thin tree. She is the farthest away from the camera so therefore is the hardest to see. It seems that she is in mid step so she could possibly be running away from something.
There is a fog in the background. The fog is interesting because it is a line that rises and falls. The way it rises and falls connects the three girls. The middle girl’s shoulders is higher in the photo then the last one due to the girls standing at different distances the fog will rise and connect with the shoulders and then fall to connect with the last girl‘s shoulders. Because they are all the same person in different stances or times of their lives the fog is what connects the girls and makes sure that the viewer can see the ties between the women.
In the middle of the picture Uelsmann uses amazing multiple printing talents to add another photo. Right beneath the photograph is the same exact one only printing in negative. At first glance the picture seemed to be the three girls standing in the woods next to a lake which was reflecting them but Uelsmann added another picture into the artwork. The connector is the shrubbery that the girls are standing on. The girls on the two ends of the photograph have their negative reflections right under them but the girl standing in the middle is missing her negative reflection. The middle girl is not only missing her reflection, but she is also missing the tree that she is hiding behind. This is very strange because the other girls’ images are right under them. This raises the question of why doesn’t this one part of the girl get a negative reflection of herself?
Lighting is extremely important in this piece of artwork. As dark as the photograph is it has one big light source. This is coming from the top left-hand corner of the picture because all of the girls heads are being light up on the left side. The left hand girl’s back is being light so he full front is in shadow including her face adding to the sense that she had just done something wrong. The girl in the middle is facing the light source so her full front is being laminated but is standing sideways with her face to the camera so her face does not get the light, only the side of her head and her body. The last girl is the farthest away from the light source so therefore does not get much of it. The only part of her body that is light is the left shoulder, arm, and side of the head. The light is extremely bright when shining on the girls which make the shadows even more evident.
There is a small bundle of trees in between the girl on the far left and the one in the middle. The shrubbery around this bundle of trees does not get any of the light shinning on the girls so it seems like the trees are growing out of shadows. The same thing occurs over by the girl on the far right. The only thing different is that the she is standing in the middle of the shrubbery shadows. The light is also beautifully illuminating the tree branched at the top of the picture. The trees are not very tall because the only grow about a quarter more above the girls’ bodies. The light in the negative picture gives an eerie effect because some things are missing from the original shot. The fog connecting the girls’ bodies is not longer in the picture. Also, the two remaining girls’ bodies are brightly shining because in the original they were in shadow. The trees no longer have shadows in the shrubbery because when Uelsmann connected the two he did not take the entire first picture. The negative shot cuts off more so it seems like the girl of the far left’s arms are attaching themselves into her legs.

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