Jerry Uelsmann is an amazing black and white photographer who uses multiple negatives to create a single image. It takes him months to create an image. I choose a photograph by Uelsmann to critique and describe in full detail. The photograph that I decided to critique is one by Uelsmann, the subjects in this photo are the left half of a woman’s face converged with most of a man’s fist. The details in this photograph are very noticeable. For instance, you can see the hair on the man’s knuckles, the lines in his hand, and the details in the woman’s hair, and eyebrows. There isn’t really anything in the background, except darkness, so if he if he took photos of the subjects outside it may have been at night. The woman in Uelsmann’s photograph is looking away from the photographer, to her right, so it is not a straight on angle. The lighting on the left side of the woman’s face is bright, so you can really notice the emotion on her face and the man’s fist is also light well. There are also shadows in this picture, around the knuckles and on the right side of the woman’s nose. He used a shallow depth of field in his photo, which in my opinion makes it more appealing to the people who may view this photo.
In his photograph, the woman looks worried and she also has a sad look on her face. She almost looks as if she may be ready to cry about something or someone. The fist may convey strength for the woman, like she’s going to be okay and she’s going to make it through whatever she may be dealing with, no matter how hard it becomes to handle. The darkness and especially the shadows in this picture also set a melancholy mood for the subjects, and it’s almost like I can relate to the feeling the photograph gives, even though I don’t know exactly what the photographer may be trying to say. I can sense the photographer’s presence in his photo, not only through his subjects, but also the hard work that he had to have put into this photograph. Uelsmann may have wanted to say, through photography, a certain mood he may have been feeling. It must have taken him a while to complete this photograph, because there’s a lot of work he had to have completed to make the two images converge and come together the way that they do.
This photograph is very effective in conveying meaning. It has a sad feeling, but I feel as if the woman in the photo will be able to pull through, whatever may be making her look so sad. The lighting in this picture supports the content of the photo amazingly and it seems to affect the viewer by making that person understand it. The shallow depth of field is useful for the subjects; it makes it look like the woman’s face and the fist are really one, as if they are actually connected to one another. The background, as well as the foreground has a gloomy feeling to the photograph, which really helps the emotion in the woman’s face stand out, along with the feeling of strength in the fist. The shadow on the right side of the eye also seems to merge into the shadows on the man’s knuckles. Overall, this photograph is really effective in conveying meaning to whoever may look closely at this picture.
To view the image:
Photographer: Jerry Uelsmann