Photography and Art

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Story Telling

We had a very pleasant afternoon wandering through the galleries in Toronto's Queen Street West area. As we looked at a varied collection of paintings and photographs, we encountered the work of Tony Ray-Jones, a British photographer who lived from 1941 until dying early from leukemia in 1972. Ray-Jones was educated in Britain and the U.S. and worked for several publications, including Car and Driver. His creative burst came in the late sixties in England when he decided to document the Brits at leisure before they became too Americanized.

My wife and I both thought his work was head and shoulders above everything else we'd seen today. Each photo captured a unique moment in time and invited the viewer into the story. A middle-aged couple in formal attire sit at a picnic table with a bottle of wine. In the background is a field full of cows and sheep. The composition is flawless, the contrast between the black and white of the formal attire and the black and white of the cows adds interest. The story draws you in.

In another strong image, a couple is alone on the dancefloor, bathed in a spotlight. Again, the composition of the elements is strong and you are invited into the story. You wonder how he captured this image with a film camera and limited film speed. Obviously there was no flash involved and the couple aren't blurred. Where was the photographer? It looks like it was taken by an Anglophile god.

I'd kill to produce images of that quality and with the ability to tell a story like that. Here's one of my fave images that comes fairly close to capturing a Paris story.
It raises so many interesting questions: Who are they? Are they moving or did they just buy this futon? What are they going to do on this futon? Where are they headed? To an apartment or to a car?

No comments:

Post a Comment