Monday, May 5, 2008

Thinking Pink



Here's a promise: this will be the last post on cherry blossoms for at least a year! However, biking through Central Park this weekend with camera in pocket, this tree was hard to resist. To me the most resonant moment of the cherry blossom cycle is when the petals fall and the grass is carpeted in pink before the petals start to turn brown. I was initially the only person photographing here, but as the picture shows, within minutes it became a hot location and I realized that pictures of people taking pictures of other people underneath the cherry blossoms was a lot more interesting than the blossoms themselves. It helps to click and see this picture in a larger size, but I love the matched pair posing demurely in the middle with their faces obscured and the guy on his back behind them. However, I'm well aware that this is more of a "snap" than a "photograph" in the artistic sense of the word.

To see what I mean by this, you just have to go to Tod Papageorge's recently published book. Passing Through Eden, a collection of pictures he took in Central Park from the 1970s to the 1990s. It's a book that is at once documentary, sensuous, and allegorical. Revelatory both because Papageorge who heads Yale's graduate photo program has been famously absent from the exhibition world and because the pictures are so good. As well as being decisively and artfully composed every one of Papageorge's photographs hint at more complex narratives underneath and all have a certain psychological intensity and edge.

Papageorge has said, “One of my attractions to photography was that I felt it was much closer to writing and literature than any other visual art.” which helps explain why he stuck to black and white photography while his peers made the move into color. More importantly, like writing, his work seems to be where the outside world and the inner voice meet and even the most random moments are brought together into some kind of highly personal order.

From Passing Through Eden:













P.S.
After looking at all these Tod Papageorge pictures, would my picture be improved by a tighter crop?


32 comments:

journal-ist said...

wonderfully beautiful pics you got there!

space said...

Great blog... I love the pics you have here

Claudio said...

I really like the things you posted and definitely the first picture got my attention but it wasn´t until I read your comments that I realised what the whole scene was.

gen said...

i really appreciate the picture. . watta' snapshot . . goodluck to your other shots . . :)

rainbowbritefiend said...

i think my favourite "subject" in the picture is the man laying down. it looks like he is on a cloud! Beautiful picture! :)

Identity said...

Congratulations on a stunningly intelligent blog. Thank you for your links to other gems out there and thanks to Blogs of note for bringing you to my attention.

Keri said...

Very cool. The blossoms look like pink snow! I've been to NYC many times, but I actually don't think I've ever seen Central Park in the spring! I guess I'm missing out (although we do have some great bloomage in Western NC). I also want to check out that book of Central Park photos!

Melissa said...

Lovely photo.

Brack's Photo A Day said...

Definitely prefer the uncropped version. And I'm not feeling Papageorge's photos at all.

Katie said...

wow where in Central Park was that picture taken! I want to visit!!

Anonymous said...

I love cherry blossoms. I think they're so beautiful. I heard from someone that the one's in Washington were a gift from the Emperor of Japan to the U.S.

Kareer Woman said...

I enjoy looking at black and white pics, well done!

Elizabeth said...

Hi,

I like the tighter crop. It brings attention more to the people and their interaction with the tree and each other. The viewer can still see that it is a very large cherry blossom tree, and that the ground is indeed carpeted in pink, but the people help draw one in and feel connected to the image and what it has captured. The tighter crop lets one explore and look at each person and his or her expression, mood, activity, "discovering" each of them like a character in a book. I think that that was lost in the first image, I could really just see "people" in general, but it was hard to see what they were doing. I wouldn't have seen the man lying down at all if he had not been pointed out to me.

So yes, I like the crop. :)

lovecokate said...

amazing blog!

lesliealexandra said...

I LOVE YOUR PICTURE BEST OF ALL !!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The picture's edges in the un-cropped version, and the shape of the tree contained within that frame, is a marvel to see. Carleton Watkins made that clear awhile back, and it's still true.

Muhib said...

Nice blog..

Mogslee said...

Yes - I think it's def improved by closer crop. Gorgeous pic!

thesparklingthoughts.... said...

Nice fotos.

Letters Received said...

These definitely are great pictures!

koiking-no-chikara said...

I love cherry blossoms either way, but these pics really were great.

Anonymous said...

the crop is astronomically better! great shot

Margo said...

love the blossoms... makes me miss NYC even more!!!

Angie said...

That is beautiful! I love cherry blossoms. It looks like they're inhabiting a magical world of blossoms.

Marcus said...

Beautiful pictures!

wowbaby said...

these are breathtaking!!!!

indigo16 said...

As they say, in photography it's what you leave out that makes a good image, and so I agree the cropped verion works best for me.
I think this must be a very good year for blossom as I too have been addicted to snapping them from all angles.

Steve Williams said...

Your raining blossom petal picture is lovely. The figures play more powerfully in the tighter crop. It makes the picture emotionally warmer I think.

We have a big crabapple that sheds blossoms like this. Our dog often lays underneath until she is covered...

Steve Williams
Theoretical Agriculture
Scooter in the Sticks

dean said...

I love the wider POV, it brings an element of dreaminess into the photo; the blossoms appear like a cloud hovering in mid-air. The tighter crop is still a nice photo, but doesn't have the same balanced appeal (with black-clad bodies on both sides) nor the same atmosphere. What an interesting site you have here!

Suzy Q said...

I love both pics. but i would only crop the bigger picture just a little try to get just a little outside of the tree try not to go in as far as the last blossom pic. i also love all the black and white fotos they are really good ;)

ChicChickory said...

Nix the crop. The full original shot tells the whole story. :)

surf said...

Excellent photos, the lightning pics are awesome,,,Nice work on a very cool blog...regards.