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Author Topic: The Circle  (Read 2704 times)
RSL
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« on: August 17, 2011, 08:40:45 PM »
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Here's one I shot a couple weeks ago and set aside, but found myself coming back to again and again. I'm still trying to understand what there is about it that intrigues me so much. In any case I finally made an 8 x 10, framed it 13 x 16 and hung it on my studio wall. Maybe in time I'll understand it.
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louoates
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2011, 09:31:26 PM »
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Intriguing. I reason that she saw some circles on the ground and decided to decorate them. The two circles in the shot seem to be perfectly round and she had some chalk, so what the heck.
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William Walker
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 12:39:21 AM »
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Russ

This picture really appeals to me. It reminds me of when I was a child and had to keep myself occupied while my elder siblings were at school. We lived in the middle of nowhere so I had to entertain myself. That "self-immersion" and contentment seems very familiar....

I suppose someone else might see a lonely child depicting his(?) own isolation.

I have very warm feelings about it.

William
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RSL
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 04:35:34 PM »
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Lou, Yes, when I look at this picture the first thing that pops into my mind is the question, "how did those circles get drawn so perfectly?" The kid's on a sort of dirty concrete floor at the side of a stage in an idle, open-air concert hall. I pass through there almost daily and this was the first time I'd seen the circles. Next day they were gone. Obviously they were drawn with chalk, but they're so perfect it seems someone almost would have needed a compass to draw them. Then the kid comes along and decorates this one. ??

William, I think you put into words exactly what grabs me about this picture and why I kept coming back to it after I decided it wasn't much and put it aside. I used to do the same thing. I always could entertain myself. I wonder what fancies are running through this kid's head as she draws with the chalk.
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degrub
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2011, 06:02:55 PM »
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The circle of life ?

Frank
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2011, 07:29:18 PM »
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I think it's the mystery of the circles that drew the girl to them and inspired her to decorate this one, and it's the same mystery that inspired Russ to take the photo, and the same mystery that makes it a compelling image for a viewer.

Great shot, Russ.
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William Walker
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2011, 12:36:32 AM »
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Obviously they were drawn with chalk, but they're so perfect it seems someone almost would have needed a compass to draw them. Then the kid comes along and decorates this one. ??



Look in her right hand - she has just started drawing a line towards herself that is the same width as the circle. I'm certain that she drew the circle.

William
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pegelli
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2011, 01:06:35 AM »
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Indeed a compelling image and fully deserves to be printed and looked at.

Most of the talk sofar has been about the circles, other intrigueing elements that make me like it a lot is the fact (s)he is barefeet, ragged long hair, skinny, dirty feet etc. It all adds to the mystery of what we're looking at and keeps it interesting time after time.
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pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2011, 03:58:10 PM »
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I have to agree with the latter part of the post.  Is she too impoverished to be burdened by electronic toys?   Will getting lost in her own imagination for amusement benefit her in later life as a creative soul or simply a creative survivor?

I like the picture quite a lot.

Regards,

W.
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2011, 06:02:52 PM »
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The picture is saying to me, that she feels vulnerable against something for which she is subconsciously seeking protection.

I think this image is very powerful, it asks far more questions than it answers and makes me want to keep coming back and study it.

Brilliant!

Dave (UK)
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2011, 06:29:16 AM »
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I agree,  there is no question she drew the circle (the chalk's in her hands).

I think the interpretation that she is "protecting herself" is as brilliant as the photograph; it's almost like she's stealing herself away to an "imaginary spot" where she can't be reached, the reasons for which might not be as quaint as we would initially like to believe.

Can't imagine too many "caring mothers" letting their daughters run around and squat, bare-footed and filthy, on an open public concrete floor ... all by themselves ... where God knows how many people have walked, spit, etc. ... with no apparent real protection from strangers either.

I see tragedy implicit in this powerful image ...

Jack


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RSL
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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2011, 11:04:21 AM »
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Jack, Thanks for the good words, and Dave, what you said makes good sense to me. But I question whether or not she drew the circle. Yes, the chalk -- or some chalk -- is in her hand, but have you ever managed to draw a circle that perfect freehand? Also, check the circle off to her left. It's perfect too. I wish I'd arrived on the scene a bit earlier so I'd have a better clue to what's going on. I have a feeling that some of the other drifters who pass through Soda Springs Park might have drawn the circles --somebody like this guy. During the summer lots of local kids -- mostly the losers -- hang out in the park, and lots of drifters pass through. The cops keep a close watch on the place.
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2011, 05:26:11 AM »
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Dave, what you said makes good sense to me. But I question whether or not she drew the circle.

Russ, I don’t think it actually matters whether she drew the circle or not, because the crucial element within the image, is that she has chosen to sit within it, head bowed, bare footed, unclean and a little dishevelled. The viewer does not know why and can only speculate over what at first sight looks like a child at play, but this comfortable assumption soon falls away to reveal what could be a darker and more disquieting scene that poses many questions – What does it mean? Why is she there? What if anything can be done to help her?

Even though this image is well taken and presented, I believe it is an image that transcends the mere application of a ‘normal’ aesthetical critique of things such as lighting, composition, framing and DoF etc, as these compositional elements are secondary considerations, when compared to the powerful interactive dialogue contained within the image. It is both timeless and profound.

I think this is an award winning image.

Bravo!

Dave (UK)
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Dale Villeponteaux
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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2011, 11:54:28 AM »
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I think the thin inner circle was "found"; the rest is her embellishment ( if she is indeed a her).
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RSL
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2011, 01:57:02 PM »
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Dale, That seems reasonable to me too. But I've been thinking about how you could go about drawing a chalk circle that perfectly. The best way to do it would be to tie a piece of chalk to the end of a string and anchor the other end, somehow, at what's to be the center of the circle. But this is a concrete floor, so the other end wasn't anchored to a stick or something shoved into the ground. I suspect there may have been another kid around before I got there. One of them would have held the pivot and the other would have drawn the circle. Unfortunately I'll never know -- unless it happens again when I'm around. Not likely until next summer. Kids like this one are all back in school.
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Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2011, 02:01:03 PM »
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Russ, I've stared at your photo since you posted and only now figured out why I don't get it. I can't see his/ her face, if the subject had looked at the hand drawing the circle there would have been some connection or "emotion" for me to experience. I sure as hell wish I could see it otherwise but I don't.  
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RSL
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2011, 11:28:16 AM »
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Riaan, I've thought about your comment now for a while and I've come back to the picture many times -- actually every time I walk into my studio, and though I understand what you're saying I can't agree.

After I'd made this snap, not as something thought out, but as a reaction to what I saw, I considered walking around the kid so I could get a face-on shot. But there were two reasons not to do that: (1) there were benches in that background that would have added clutter to something that needed simplicity, and (2) the kid would have seen me make the shot, which wouldn't have been a problem, but which would have resulted in a very different kind of picture: a posed picture.

One of the strengths of the picture is that it's impossible to know whether the child is a boy or a girl, so what we have is a generic kid. The hidden face adds to the genericness by making the kid anonymous. As Pegelli pointed out the kid's dirty bare feet, ragged hair, skinniness all add up to a mystery, but I think some of the mystery would evaporate if we could see the face and identify the kid as a particular individual rather than as a type. It's the mystery that makes the picture more than just a snapshot.

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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2011, 01:11:47 PM »
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I think some of the mystery would evaporate if we could see the face and identify the kid as a particular individual rather than as a type. It's the mystery that makes the picture more than just a snapshot.


Absolutely!
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Heinz
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« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2011, 04:02:45 PM »
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This is a powerful image. It is pushing us (well me anyway) to assume a few things we could be totally wrong about. I am assuming that this child is lonely, lives a life solitude and does not not want to let any one into it's inner circle. The fact that it's back is towards us and we can not see the face adds to the mystic and the raw power of the image. I think it's great. Nice one.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2011, 04:40:25 PM »
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Russ, I visited this thread many times, but have not commented on it until now. I felt the image deserves more than just "+1" (as much as I am often guilty of resorting to it).

In short, I think you made a beautiful and powerful image.

As much as I often admit that I do not "get" street photography, this one hits me really hard. Maybe because it uses human presence to deliver the same symbolism I am often after in my landscape photography: solitude, splendid isolation, quiet desperation...

I am with you on the benefit of not seeing her face. Even before someone mentioned it, I thought that precisely that adds drama. I also noticed a disconnect between the right-hand drawing motion and the face turned in the other direction... the slanted hair bangs indicate quick head movement... all contributing to the mystery of what exactly was her state of mind at the time.

Others already mentioned other powerful elements and symbols in the image: circles, implied poverty and neglect, loneliness, hiding, seeking protection... Allow me to add one more to that: the fence in the background. The fence contributes to the symbolism of protection and separation from the outside world.

In conclusion, and although it is your signature phrase, allow me to use it as mine this time: bravo!
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