One Photo Deep Dive

Something new for today! I’ve wanted to do this for a while, but we’re going to pick one photograph and do a deep dive. We’ll analyze what’s going on with composition, the photographs historic importance and the artist intention.

In this episode we’ll use Wynn Bullock’s “Child in Forrest” as our study guide.

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  1. Réjean Nantel says

    First, I would like to thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us. You have a great podcast.
    I like your “One Photo Deep Dive” episode on Wynn Bullock’s “Child in Forest”. I like the way you described the composition, the lighting and the history behind the multiple shots.

    I would like to share some of my comments on that photo.

    You are right, the oval space at the center is a negative space. I think Wynn voluntarily framed it that way to emphasized everything around that oval edge. The tree log, the lonely fern, the girl, the big fern at bottom left, and we must not forget the showcase elements, i.e the tapestry of well lighted fern bushes at the top center to the top right. These two bushes look like two giant chicks. You can make out their form and their faces. The one at right is crouched, his face is facing left, while the plumage at the right is made apparent by the lower shadow. The one at the left appears really as a gigantic face of a chick. You can make up his eyes, his nose and beak.

    Maybe I have a very vivid imagination but I feel that Wynn saw that when he took the shot. And it is probably for that visual potential that he shot it composed that way.

    I came up with that conclusion for one reason. I asked myself “Why is that girl lying down on her face in the forest ?”. What an awkward position for a girl to be in a forest. I think I found the answer in the two giant chicks because what we have here, I think, is a great storyteller. The girls is lying down as if she is sleeping, and at that age many children not only dream but have bad nightmares. How many children are afraid to go in the woods because they are scared that some creature that might creep up on them. Her we have just that, the creatures look innocent at first because they are chicks. But when you compare their relative size to the girl then the nightmare begins. These fairy tale creatures look terrifyingly threatening.
    I think Wynn built the story around that theme on the edge of that oval space composition. If one does not sees it, his subconscious might still be telling the viewer that something here is alarming.

    Just thought it was well worth to share and to see if others did see that in the photo.

    I can’t thank you enough for the new orientation you chose to make us, the viewers, be part of your sharing community. You make it so worthwhile.