Monday, December 6, 2010

Going Down

Another MM documentary masterpiece...

The man's head, his shadow and the slope of  the wall all headed in the same direction--down. This could well be a  dream scene, but it is all too real.  It brings home the reality of poverty and homelessness without pity or gives no quarter. As frightening as it sometimes seems to have a shadow following a figure in a photograph,  it is  more frightening still to have the shadow PRE-ceding this man. It foretells a black future for a man who is obviously living in a dark present. The man's head is down and we intuit that  he can see his shadow and know its meaning.

Of particular note is that one foot is raised a few centimetres off the ground indicting motion, but moreover creating a feeling of greater tension in an already tense image. The foot will forever be off the ground because this is a still photo. Same feeling as Sartre's NO EXIT... 

Note that the figure is moving against the direction most Westerners read. Reversing the image weakens it.  The composition serves the feeling.  It is a perfect photograph, perfectly composed, taken at exactly the right time. Nothing more can be asked for or delivered in a photograph.


  1. Hello Jim,
    I guess Mariana already did it but I would like to thank you, as external, for your deep and clever vision on her fantastic work. I met her (via her blog) only 2 weeks ago and have been immediately impressed by her shots. On my point of view, she is undeniably the very Best for capturing human nature and life moments. Ther is something else beside her shots... probably life and love. Thanks again.
    Kind regards,
    Didier (

  2. Mariana helps me, and many others I'm sure, to be a better photographer. She inspires and she gives great critique.

    Richard in Scotland

  3. wonderful light in this composition, I like it !