Going to Weinsten Gallery, initially I thought there was nothing more to Faurer’s work than conventional shots of street photography.
However, examining the photographs more, some of Faurer’s shots really deviated away from traditional methods and manipulated light and shadow in a way that created not only figure-ground ambiguity, but depth and dimensionality. One photograph that caught my attention was “Elevated subway on Third avenue (1947).” The composition featured a man’s silhouette/shadow taking up the majority of the shot, and then his actual figure reflected through the window of a room in the middle. I thought the composition was profound. The intensity of its range really drew my eyes in and made me want to know the context behind the photograph.
I also find him very talented in that he utilizes light to visually express emotion and beautiful storytelling. In some of his photographs he’s very skilled at setting scenes. I particularly loved the 1949 shot of the New York skyline at night and the two kids crowding a lighter together with cigarettes in their mouths. The shot itself felt very personal and real, as if we were experiencing the moment right along with them. That feeling of friendship and what made that shot so private was stimulated by the brightness of the lighter and how it became a unifying force in the photograph. In this case, light was definitely the subject in the photograph and determined how the story was told.
Looking at Soth’s photography, he really had a more unorthodox approach, and I enjoyed the scene setting and cinematic feel to his work. I liked the vague atmosphere in his photographs and how he devised these intangible settings that can’t vocally be explained, and rather make you create the story yourselves based on the objects in the composition. In “Jimmie’s Apartment, Memphis, TN.”, I can envision a man living in the South who goes through the motions of his daily life, in want and need of change. The polaroids of Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X make me believe that the scene is taking place during the Civil Rights Movement. That light peeking through the window into an otherwise very bare apartment creates this feeling of hope. In this sense, light may not be initially the subject or focus of the composition, but it became one because of my interpretation of the photograph. And I feel that is one of Soths skills.
Overall, I loved the exhibitions, and felt that both Faurer and Soth inspired me, but in very different ways.