Ready to eat!
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What it is:
Photo measuring 3.5 x 5 inches.
What I know about it:
Nothing! Undated and unidentified.
Okay, I’m sorry. I resisted posting this photo for a long time, but I finally couldn’t help it. I love this photo! Granted, it’s not flawless (I wish the woman were in sharper focus), and it’s not conventionally pretty, but I don’t care. Let me explain a bit, if I can. (This explanation may make sense, but if not, then just enjoy the photo for the jolly image it is.) About ten years ago I stumbled across a book (that I stupidly didn’t buy before it went out of print) featuring the portrait work of two photographers from what is now Mali, and it exploded my notions of what makes a good photo by presenting images of clashing patterns and unconventional set-ups that I would normally have found ugly, but which had an undeniable power and beauty to me. (The photographers were Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe, and examples of what I’m talking about are here and here.) Additionally, I was starting to be aware of the art world’s embrace of tabloid-style news and documentary photography, such as the work of Weegee, with its raw energy and unvarnished perspective. That brings me to today’s photo. It’s hardly some museum piece, and I’m probably giving it too much credit, but I feel it has a potent quality that I wouldn’t have appreciated before I grew to appreciate those other works. The craziness of the contrasting lines and patterns (the hard horizontal lines of the blinds and table contrasting with the hard vertical lines of the candles, contrasting with the soft billow of the curtains; the clashing patterns of the wallpaper, the tablecloth, his shirt, the chair fabric, etc.) gives it a visual excitement that keeps my attention in constant motion even after my eyes have adjusted to the visual chaos, and the glare of the flash gives it a paparazzi feel that implies we are witnessing a special moment. Above all, the warmth and cheer of the scene is infectious.