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Author Topic: The baker's wife  (Read 5130 times)
Andres Bonilla
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« on: December 28, 2010, 08:00:21 PM »
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Veracruz, Mexico. She was nice to let me into her house. What do you think.

Andres
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popnfresh
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010, 10:16:09 PM »
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I think the depressing surroundings compliment her glum expression perfectly.
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RSL
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2010, 07:01:00 AM »
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Andres, What I think is that that's one of the finest photographs I've seen posted on LuLa. That single shot tells a powerful story and yet leaves a lot to the viewer's imagination. It's the very best kind of street photography.
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darr
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2010, 07:34:56 AM »
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I agree with Russ; very powerful.
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darlene almeda
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Bruce Cox
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 08:50:36 AM »
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It is a story I want to listen to.  The fan's shadow is used not only for gesture, but to hold in tension the beauty of the of the blue and red parts with the disarray of the orange and yellow areas.  Bruce
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2010, 11:47:45 AM »
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Is this a one-off image or part of a photo essay? Because as a standalone image I don't see a story here at all. I see crushing, perpetual poverty, a messy room and a woman who quite understandaby looks like she'd rather be someplace else. But there's no context for a story to build upon. As an isolated image I feel as though it's an opportunistic grab shot that denies us the human story behind the bleakness we're prestented with and is ultimately unfair to the person depicted in it.
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DickKirkley
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 12:28:50 PM »
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Is this a one-off image or part of a photo essay? Because as a standalone image I don't see a story here at all. I see crushing, perpetual poverty, a messy room and a woman who quite understandaby looks like she'd rather be someplace else. But there's no context for a story to build upon. As an isolated image I feel as though it's an opportunistic grab shot that denies us the human story behind the bleakness we're prestented with and is ultimately unfair to the person depicted in it.

I beg to differ. This one image tells me a lot, the woman looks trapped in a hopeless life of work and drudgery. The shadow of the ceiling fan emphasizes this trapped feeling as does the crowded room and the drabness of it all. I feel I know her and wish I could help her.
That is a tells a  story to me. Sure it is incomplete; life is incomplete.

Dick Kirkley
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 12:48:51 PM »
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I beg to differ. This one image tells me a lot, the woman looks trapped in a hopeless life of work and drudgery. The shadow of the ceiling fan emphasizes this trapped feeling as does the crowded room and the drabness of it all. I feel I know her and wish I could help her.
That is a tells a  story to me. Sure it is incomplete; life is incomplete.

Dick Kirkley
You're describing a condition, not a story. My problem with the image is that it reduces the baker's wife to a one-dimemsional characature. This isn't street photography. The street is a public place. You don't just get to poke your camera into someone's private life and run away. There's a basic responsibility that's being evaded here. Of course, we may not be getting told everything. This might be part of a photo essay. I'm just going with what we've been given here.
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RSL
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010, 01:57:38 PM »
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Pop, Maybe you missed this part of Andres's statement: "She was nice to let me into her house." That's not exactly poking your camera into someone's private life and running away. Unless you're an infant without enough experience of life to make connections that picture certainly should tell you a very vivid, multi-dimensional story. Dick just put his finger on why the picture works so well.
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Bruce Cox
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2010, 02:34:31 PM »
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Though I want to listen to what the photo seems to say about the woman's life, that story is mainly one I already know.   What I see is more particular and informative and tells me as much about the photographer as the woman.  He is at least as important to me.  Bruce
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2010, 02:39:05 PM »
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Pop, Maybe you missed this part of Andres's statement: "She was nice to let me into her house." That's not exactly poking your camera into someone's private life and running away. Unless you're an infant without enough experience of life to make connections that picture certainly should tell you a very vivid, multi-dimensional story. Dick just put his finger on why the picture works so well.
I didn't miss the point at all. The baker's wife was gracious enough to invute the photographer into her home as a guest, and he took advantage of that privilege by shooting her like a zoo animal. This photo tells us nothing about her and the circumstances of her life. She and her husband may be very happy. They may be the richest people in town. They may even be in a position to help others in need. That room may only look like that on laundry day. Can anyone here say that none of those scenarios are possible? Of course you can't. We're left clueless, with nothing but a photographer's personal agenda to fill in the blanks for us. The baker's wife is no longer a human being but a cipher for us to hang whatever labels we choose on her. I say that it is you who miss point. A photographer's reponsibility doesn't end just because a stranger has decided to trust you. On the contrary, it's just beginning.
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RSL
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2010, 03:26:18 PM »
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...he took advantage of that privilege by shooting her like a zoo animal.

No kidding... How did he do that? Did he chain her to that crib in the corner? Looks to me as if she posed for the shot. In fact I'd be willing to bet she was flattered by the attention. I have a feeling this is a quite gracious lady.

You seem to want a photo essay in order to clear up the ambiguities in this shot. But remember, one of the main diffrerences between a good novel and a potboiler is that the novel leaves deliberate gaps for your own mind and own experience to fill in. The potboiler explains everything and fills in all the gaps. This shot is like a good novel.
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popnfresh
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2010, 04:42:20 PM »
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No kidding... How did he do that? Did he chain her to that crib in the corner? Looks to me as if she posed for the shot. In fact I'd be willing to bet she was flattered by the attention. I have a feeling this is a quite gracious lady.

You seem to want a photo essay in order to clear up the ambiguities in this shot. But remember, one of the main diffrerences between a good novel and a potboiler is that the novel leaves deliberate gaps for your own mind and own experience to fill in. The potboiler explains everything and fills in all the gaps. This shot is like a good novel.
Two things, both potboilers and "good" novels have a story and they're both fiction. That's understood from the start. This photograph poses as reality but leaves us guessing about everything going on in her life. Without even the smallest tidbit of information about her, it's just picture of a woman in a messy room. Even the best novels give the reader some details about the lives of the characters.
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darr
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2010, 04:55:14 PM »
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The story is held in your own creativity.
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darlene almeda
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2010, 12:38:15 AM »
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I think the depressing surroundings compliment her glum expression perfectly.

Yes, I am doing more with my photography with I usually do with my video work, which is to include the subject matter in his/her environment.
Thanks!
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2010, 12:41:04 AM »
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Andres, What I think is that that's one of the finest photographs I've seen posted on LuLa. That single shot tells a powerful story and yet leaves a lot to the viewer's imagination. It's the very best kind of street photography.

Thank you! My work as a videographer has taken me to places I would not normally go and I am having quiet an experience getting to know people from all walks of life. I have sometimes very little time, so I tried to convey as much as I can on that fleeting moment.

Thans again!!
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2010, 12:42:14 AM »
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I agree with Russ; very powerful.

Thanks, life is all that, powerful, moving, interesting.
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2010, 12:44:40 AM »
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It is a story I want to listen to.  The fan's shadow is used not only for gesture, but to hold in tension the beauty of the of the blue and red parts with the disarray of the orange and yellow areas.  Bruce

Thanks Bruce! It is great that you see that, in another forum someone wondered if I had somehow place some of the objects in the location. Everything was there as it always has.
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2010, 01:04:52 AM »
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Is this a one-off image or part of a photo essay? Because as a standalone image I don't see a story here at all. I see crushing, perpetual poverty, a messy room and a woman who quite understandaby looks like she'd rather be someplace else. But there's no context for a story to build upon. As an isolated image I feel as though it's an opportunistic grab shot that denies us the human story behind the bleakness we're prestented with and is ultimately unfair to the person depicted in it.

 I work as a videographer for a major network, in this occasion I was sent to do a segment on popular foods; not much the fancy restaurants but rather the everyday gastronomy. One of the segments was on the derivation of the pastrie Vol-o-vent from France that became volovan in Veracruz. That is how I met the baker and his wife. She was not part of the show but she went and got us coconut juice to have with the bread. She was very quiet and thoughtful. During our break I talked to her for a while and she asked me if I wanted to see the photo of her daughter; she never found it but I think it was her shy way of invite me to her house. In Mexico it is a way to show you friendship regardless of you status and financial situation.
So no it is not part of a series but rather an impromptu photo that came as a result of a candid conversation. I had to capture as much as I could in that fleeting moment. This is usually the situation that presents in my shootings. I have shot series with more time like this photo.   
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2010, 01:13:03 AM »
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Pop, Maybe you missed this part of Andres's statement: "She was nice to let me into her house." That's not exactly poking your camera into someone's private life and running away. Unless you're an infant without enough experience of life to make connections that picture certainly should tell you a very vivid, multi-dimensional story. Dick just put his finger on why the picture works so well.

Thanks for you comment! In my job I am sometimes surrounded by professional still photographers, their philosophy is that they have to capture that precise moment when the photo is worth 1000 words. They shoot 100 of photos in a very short time, granted they are all photojournalist for major newspapers and they have crazy deadlines. I have been told that a good photo would not need a caption at the bottom. Even when they have more time they do multiple sessions with their subjects and out of a myriad shots only a few capture the magic.
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