This is a wonderful image. I have been thinking for quite a long time how to compose pictures like this with different things happening in different parts of the frame. I haven't been able to find any hints on how to actually do it, though. This picture just works, without following any rules.
I find this photograph effective because it's such a random and ordinary urban scene, and yet it seems to be about birth... death... and everything in between. I love it when a photograph of something so very ordinary can become so extraordinary.
It's not typical of Kertesz except for the angle, perhaps. Normally his pictures have fewer people in them. I first saw this photograph when a photography instructor showed it to the class, and said you don't see this one much. It took me years to finally find it in a book... so I quickly bought the book, and have studied the image from time to time over the years.
How to get this type of shot, Matti?? Persistence and commitment, I suspect, and a well trained eye to recognize when the stars are about line up for you in front of your lens! :)
As I said, Matti, observation and anticipation. The children are sliding down the slide, running around to the top and sliding again, so it's not too hard to predict where they will be. Kertesz was presumably on a bridge, so out of line of sight of the people below. so no one noticed him (always good to photograph people who are heavily absorbed in something, they won't see you). He thus had enough time to wait for the 2 unpredictable elements in the picture (the boy running towards the slide and the old lady at top right) to place themselves ideally. Allowing for the difference in attitudes between the time this picture was taken (1950?) and now, it's still not too hard to get pictures like this at an amusement park or similar venue. This is a very good picture, but it was taken by a human being, not God!
Originally Posted by matti
I love it. Corners are great, tension with lines, great eye movement, some intital ambiguity with the large rabbit, the vantage point, from above is wonderful...so, this playfulness, with the tension of the abstractness of the image...wonderfully seen. I mean, how many would have 'cropped' or 'seen' this image from this vantage point?
It's a nice picture of a bunch of kids playing, taken by a great photographer. My first thought was Kertesz, my second was Eisenstadt. In fact, had it been posted here with no name attached, I might have suspected that it was yours. (I'm still enjoying the images of your kids running in the back yard, and in sheets.)
It's a hard subject to not make a good picture, but although I can't see it, there must be something special in it that appeals to you.
Thanks for posting it.
I've never seen a Kertesz image other than in books or web. But the Southeast Museum of Photography is opening in new quarters Nov 3rd, and one of the initial exhibits will be prints by Kertesz during his Hungarian period.
I love the way so much is going on - the unexpected and the magical aswell as people just getting on with things - almost like a Bruegel painting. The viewpoint adds to it feeling like a canvas. And what is that dog doing in the background? Eating something unspeakable?...
.....or about to roll in it....
In so many of his photos there is such a wonderful balance of impromptu human expression with meticulous, geometrical lines and curves. This is no exception, there is the characteristic geometry and he fills every bit of the frame with it- it's hard not to notice the symmetry of the fences tending carefully to the corners and the feeling that every line and contour has a place to be. I suppose this underlying emphasis of (and reliance on) geometrical balance is what most strongly distinguishes his work from that of HCB. Their treatment of time is similar; their treatment of space is very different.
What I think is intriguing in this particular shot is that he captured the kids around the whimsical figure in such a way that the figure initially looks almost like an ordinary member of the crowd. Also interesting is that the child at the bottom is truly in a world of her own, if only for an instant... likewise the figure at top right, and the pair of girls beside the top of the main group.... so many separate lives placed within one neat composition. I get a similar feeling from so many of his photographs.
I hadn't seen this one before; thanks for posting it.