To Continue with our last post, this is yet another breakdown of groundbreaking work from our masters of photography. Analyzing some iconic photographs would be one of interesting aspects of photography, for it provides an in-depth analysis and idea to all the aspirants in this field.
As always, looking at these pictures, there are numerous emotions within us plus a lot of valuable knowledge and vision to be inspired from. It helps us to know what made this particular picture a sensation besides it is a great opportunity for all amateurs to learn from a picture which has already been a winning one.
Here in this part 3 of this chapter, I have handpicked some of the most strongest pictures of this century from the grand masters. To add more on this, if you would like any great picture to be analyzed please add it in the message section to see it featured in Part 4.
From the editors point of view, it feels great to speak about the aesthetic and appealing factors in these iconic photographs. Please check our previous posts here:
Boy Mid Flight by Steve McCurry
Often speaking about the decisive moment, how frequently do we encounter a shot like this. Steve McCurry has arguably showed India most beautifully than any other photographer. In this particular picture, the narrow lane in Rajasthan adds a commanding impression for which Steve had to wait to get the right subject at the right time. Patience did pay off, the boy in mid air. The Hand-prints on the wall, mustard yellow and blue walls with a unique composition adds more drama and aesthetic appeal to the picture. At the beginning this picture shows some kind of hindrance, as if the kid jumps through all of it for the space provided is minimum. But it actually doubles the joy it could provide for the art of photography. A Brilliant composition with the right subject in a right place at the right moment.
© Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos
Xhosa Youth by James Nachtwey
Often known for his War Photographs, James Nachtwey here shows us his brilliance yet again in a wonderful portrait of two youth of Xhosa. The theme seems to be amazing and the photographers vision is very much broad for his choice of composition. Perfectly poised and placed subjects spread across the frame adds beauty to the picture. If you could get the fact about visual balance in shapes and forms, it becomes very easy to appreciate the resting hand on the frame right. Again the clouds on the contrary gets the picture to rest with subtle blue sky making it a winner. Looking at the subjects here, they seem to be covered with their traditional mud which adds some kind of mystery to the photograph.
© James Nachtwey
Kumbh Mela, Allahabad by Raghu Rai
Believe me shooting a portrait in a crowd is one of the haunting task for any street photographer. And to get an eye contact, either you must be talented or gifted favoring luck in your way. Here renowned master photographer Raghu Rai plays a gentle task in shooting this portrait in one of the densest places in the world, Kumbhmela. The Vibrant Yellow shades all over with a touch of red here and there plus a brilliant face to make you hooked to the eyes makes it a brilliant capture. The Composition is simply astounding with the wood clearly marking a rule of third. The place seem to be silent yet the subject seem to be totally detached from the scene happening around. Brilliance every where inside the frame.
© Raghu Rai / Magnum Photos
Border Crossing by Alex Webb
Crossing a countries border, I am not particularly sure about the nature of these men crossing, it could either be a sad ending or a happy beginning. Looking at this picture with a perfect sunset, fading light and the actions they perceive while checking for arms, it translates a fantastic feel for me. It almost feels tragic but at the same time the eyes of the second character seems arrested somewhere distant virtually meaning more tales to be said and more life to be lived. Aesthetically this is one of the prime pictures of Alex Webb, the yellow flowers and the chopper in the distant transfers us to a wonderful land far far away but the actions happening in the middle conveys a definite story bringing us back to reality. Brilliance over all and one of my favorite pictures from the Master.
© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos
Orphan chimpanzees by Steve Bloom
Steve Bloom, known for his grand book “Spirit of the Wild” shows us a wonderful capture of these chimpanzees. Serious photography lovers will never find humor in this picture, believe me there is so much of strong emotion in this picture. Gloomy mood overall. The strong eye contact with the older chimp with other creatures around it adds perfect balance to the composition as well as adds more sharpness to the picture. The poses of them, red eyes and the screen right’s angular look adds more brilliance here. Background looks clean green complimenting the red eyes of these amazing creatures.
© Steve Bloom
Photo By Ernst Haas
Ernst Haas arguably one of the early masters in color photography. In this picture Ernst has captured the essence of the street, a vendor his vehicle, a perfect sunset with some amazing colors and of-course brilliant shadows. So much of elements yet one could never get tired of this picture. The signboards and shadows, the shapes of wheels adds a grand drama to an already existing lovely scene.
© Ernst Haas / Getty Images
Photo by William Albert Allard
Emotions all over the frame. The direction of vision is very much parallel to the horses and the kid. The Nostrils of horses with the eyes of kid adds a wonderful symmetry to the existing scene with a horizontal plane dividing them through the bars. Simple picture but yet full of geometries and emotions.
© William Albert Allard
A boy plays in the Riviere of Galets by Bruno Barbey
When we speak about showing the unseen, this picture from Bruno Barbey is one heck of an example. Excellent contrast here, for a boy cycling inside water. It almost becomes impossible for us to forget this picture for the surprise it has produced. Aesthetically, the geometry of wheels goes majestic to the shape of the boy and the vehicle. An excellent as well as a strange scene which is very lively and unforgettable.
© Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos
Triplet Policemen, New Jersey by Michael S. Yamashita
Looks like Visual Effects? But no, this picture shows a rare encounter with Triplet Policemen of New Jersey. Michael has captured them brilliantly showing their workspace, placed inside a cop van. The Light seem to be brilliant for the highlights on three of them, with the poses actually complimenting each other. Again aesthetically, the lights on the van blue and red brings more vibrancy and liveliness to the picture. A Different Portrait from Michael.
© Michael S. Yamashita / National Geographic
Rosa, Last of the Yaghan Indians by Sam Abell
To finish with, a stunning portrait work from Sam Abell. The Light, Composition, Character, Moment everything seem to align well with the word Brilliance. The Color of Light and the clothing bring a sudden gloominess into the frame. The Smoke fuming on the frame adds a wonderful mystery to the scene portraying the mood of the character much better. The woman’s gaze outside the window with the hand posture is a wonderful touch to the existing masterpiece.
© Sam Abell
You may be interested in the following related topics:
- Analyzing the Iconic Pictures – Part 1
- Analyzing the Iconic Pictures – Part 2
- 15 Books from the Masters of Photography – Part 1
- Photography Books from the Masters – Part 2
- Photography Books from the Masters – Part 3
- Inspiring Video Talks of Steve McCurry