Liz Carson for Slow Art Day

8, April 2014 § 1 Comment

metzkerphilly

In anticipation of Slow Art Day, Aegean Center photography instructor Liz Carson has contributed this description of Ray Metzker’s photograph “Couplets: Philadelphia 1968.”

Ray Metzker’s concern was always city life, its mechanical aspects and the people who inhabit it.  His subjects were often telephone poles and parking garages and the shapes and shadows created by these elements. His observations of modern day cities were timeless with an eye to the geometry of dark and light patterns. He was a meticulous observer of the sun noting its position so that he could return to a particular location when the lights and shadows were appropriate to express his ideas. This photograph is probably a spontaneous capture but some others were planned specifically to catch a passing figure in light or as a silhouette.

This pair of photographs by Metzker is a good example of using overall darks and lights to create dynamic action in an otherwise static composition. The bottom image has a strong triangle of dark in the lower right with a diagonal rising streak of light. Heightened contrast makes what would be an everyday scene into an dramatic event. In both photographs the figures are backlit creating dark silhouettes against the light. This draws your eye toward them as you try to decipher the details of their forms. The abundance of white in the picture counterbalances what could be a sinister feeling of the figures.  The light makes the character of the street more open and inviting and leads you on  to the open sky above.

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