Monday, March 7, 2011

Clam Blog 8: Tropidyboop!

Here you will enjoy a further analysis of the "tropos" of some of my images. Not all of them, because let's face it: both of us have lives and neither of us wants to be here all day listening to me ramble about tropos. But here we go.

<--Notre Dame Cathedral: This image emphasizes the grandiosity (real word, I checked) of the Notre Dame's west facade.

  • Anytime an image is centered and symmetrical, it presents a very strong focal point for the eye.
  • The trail of umbrella'd people leading up to the door further marks the cathedral as an important figure, drawing people in from the foreground; literally in the image, and visually by leading the eye.
  • A reflection on the rainy pavement extends the cathedral vertically giving it an even greater presence.
  • It was an overcast, wet day when I took this photo, so the muted colors and washed out sky impact the viewer's impression of the image as one of solemnity and authority. No blue skies and fluffy bunnies, here, folks.

Digging further, you could say that the tropos of this image is to emphasize the authority of the church itself, with the cathedral facade representing the Catholic faith; grand and imposing, drawing followers through the rain and cold to it's triumphal arch while all else fades into the background.


In this image I've framed Primary Traveling Companion Ellis against the vast Mediterranean Sea.

  • This image relies heavily on negative space, that is, space that is not occupied by the primary figure. Ellis is relegated to the righthand third of the image, while the rest of the image is filled with ocean water coming up to the rocks beneath her and the sky. A large portion of the composition is devoted to emptiness.
  • The sea/ocean/any large body of water/water itself is often used to symbolize mystery, the depth of life, and the unknown in Western cultures.
  • Ellis is facing away from the camera. We cannot identify her or see her facial expression. Thus there is an important and intriguing element of the photo that IS unknown, enhancing the viewer's sense of questioning or mystery.
  • Ellis' posture is slightly unbalanced, with all her weight on one foot. This causes her shoulders and hips to form angles that give her a mild "S" shape. Combined with the wind blowing though her hair, I must say she looks quite elegant and wistful.
  • The colors are faded and bluish, such that the photo has a sort of aged and melancholy tone.
If you want to get all serious about it, you could say this image is, essentially, a communication about the unknown or unknowable deep. Ellis symbolizes humanity gazing into the mysteries of the universe. What is she finding there across that ocean? Can we find it, too?


<-- These balls in Bon Pastor are not being played with. No, no they're not. Poor little lonely balls. (alright get your mind out of the gutter)

  • IN FACT, they are not being played with because they're trapped. Trapped behind this giant texture-y concrete framing device. Oooh noooo!
  • There are two of them, like friends.. the colorful balls are associated with children, youth, companionship, and carefree playtime.
  • But no. They're alone. And dirty. Neglected, even.
  • Most of all, these toys are completely inaccessible. They sink into the (heightened perspective) background while the tiny concrete window through which you can see them takes up the majority of the photo. The emphasis is on the unfulfilled potential for happiness, tantalizing, but locked behind impassible barriers.
Deep, man, real deep (stoner voice). It's like we are aware of the potential for happiness, of ideals of youth, companionship and freedom, but we are unable to fulfill that potential. It remains forever just outside our reach.


What does this image say about art, architecture, enlightenment, and humanity? What is the symbolic significance of light and dark? How does the camera's position in the dark area of the photo affect the viewer's perception of his/her role in the message? How does knowing that the image is taken from the Louvre in Paris -- one of the largest and most famous historical art museums in the world -- impact your understanding of the photo's TROPOS? What further layers can be uncovered by knowing more about the origins of the glass pyramid and the domed structure behind it?

1 comment:

  1. good observations - and good performance of the observations! (video or podcast might have been good for this one - just to hear your "stoner voice" monologue.)