Visual Analysis of ‘Spanish Breakfast’.

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

  1. Inventory
  2. Composition
  3. Visual Cues
  4. Gestalt Laws. Similarity, proximity and continuation
  5. Semiotic Signs. Iconic, indexical and symbolic.
  6. Semiotic Codes. Metonymy, analogy, displaced or condensed.
  7. Cognitive Elements. Memory, projection, selectivity, habituation, salience, dissonance and culture.
  8. Purpose of work.
  9. Image Aesthetics.

After completing the preliminary steps of understanding the six perspectives can be considered. The 6 perspectives are

  1. Personal.
  2. Historical.
  3. Technical.
  4. Ethical.
  5. Cultural.
  6. Critical.
Spanish Breakfast
Len Williamson 2019

UNDERSTANDING THE IMAGE

Inventory List

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.

Composition

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.

Visual Cues

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.

Gestalt Laws

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.

Semiotic Signs

The lifebuoys signify the danger of drowning in water. The beer bottle indicates alcohol and the cigarette nicotine. The cold box suggests provisions.

Semiotic Codes

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.

Cognitive Elements

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.

Image Aesthetics

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

Personal

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.

Historical

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.

Technical

Taken with a Canon 5D and 100-400mm lens at 400mm.

Ethical

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.

Cultural

This is a western image of a Spanish boatman going about his trade on the Albufera.

Critical

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

LEN

I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make
decisions.

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.