The visual analysis of the photograph ‘Spanish Breakfast’ follows the process given in Paul Martin Lesters’ Visual Analysis source . The 9 preliminary steps to understand the image are
- Visual Cues
- Gestalt Laws. Similarity, proximity and continuation
- Semiotic Signs. Iconic, indexical and symbolic.
- Semiotic Codes. Metonymy, analogy, displaced or condensed.
- Cognitive Elements. Memory, projection, selectivity, habituation, salience, dissonance and culture.
- Purpose of work.
- Image Aesthetics.
After completing the preliminary steps of understanding the six perspectives can be considered. The 6 perspectives are
UNDERSTANDING THE IMAGE
In the photograph we see a Spanish boatman dressed in a blue jacket and brown trousers. He has a cigarette in his right hand and bottle of beer raised to his mouth in his left hand. He is wearing sunglasses, has tanned skin with sun reflected of his forehead. There are four life saving rings of which three are orange and one is white. There is a boat hook at an angle beside the boatman. In the foreground there is a cold box sitting on top of a storage box on the boat. There is a ceramic brown small tapas type plate. The boatman is sitting in a boat which is floating in water.
There is a circular shape in the image bounded by the lifebuoys on left and right, the boatman at the top and the boat at the bottom.
The eye is lead to the man’s face by his left elbow, the beer bottle and his right hand. Light on his forehead further attracts attention. There is a calming set of blue waves surrounding the the boat and its content.
There is similarity and pattern formed by the lifebuoys. All the items on the boat are in close proximity around the boatman. There is a circle of continuation formed by the rings and the man and the boat.
The lifebuoys signify the danger of drowning in water. The beer bottle indicates alcohol and the cigarette nicotine. The cold box suggests provisions.
He looks like a fisherman or boatman. Tourist boats go out on the Albufera from this point so he could be a boatman. He is a drinker and a smoker. He has a healthy skin colour and appears well fed.
This character appears affable, happy go lucky and contented. I imagine him to be popular with his workmates and friends. Also opinionated. The cigarette and beer suggest he may have health issues. Spanish breakfast was the title that came to my mind when I saw this shot.
Purpose of work
This is a street photograph on the water. It is a man going about his normal daily routine and has been captured to make points about that life on the water. It is also commenting on alcohol and nicotine and a commentary on an aspect of Spanish life.
There is a pleasing contrast of orange and blue to the image. It represents a sunny, warm Mediterranean glow. There is a beauty about the representation of the man. His face, mouth and hands are the stars of the show but wrapped with colours, lines and shapes to give a coherence to the image as a whole.
ANALYSING THE IMAGE
This image caught my eye while I was doing landscape photography. The personality of the boatman and this moment of cigarette, beer bottle and posture appealed to me. The framing in the boat and the colour combinations were aesthetically pleasing to me.
This image is set in the present day but with representations of times gone past. The items in the image point to today but this scene would have had a similar structure throughout history in the Mediterranean.
Taken with a Canon 5D and 100-400mm lens at 400mm.
The photographer could be commenting on the drinking and smoking habits of the boatman. There could be moral judgement about this boatman preparing himself for his days work in this way. The boatman would probably not want this picture taking so there is a question of privacy invasion by the photographer. . There is a definite sign of hedonism in this image.
This is a western image of a Spanish boatman going about his trade on the Albufera.
The image has value to make points about an aspect of boat life and Mediterranean life. It can be used to make points in magazines, news articles and exhibitions about smoking and drinking and other health issues. It can similarly be used to illustrate an aspect of tourism. The colour combinations and composition make it a possible work of art within the ‘Street Photography’ and ‘Documentary Photography’ domains.
Categories: Positions and Practice