Eva Rubinstein – Jane Standing, Minneapolis, USA (1977)
This does several things very well.
First, it’s simple. Distinct foreground (Jane), mid-ground (the chair with a dress draped over it) and background (unfinished walls). The light travels from right to left–countering the art historical precedent established by the Dutch Baroque.
Second, while Jane’s position in the frame is governed by the rule of thirds, nothing else in the frame fits that mode.
Third, the lenses hyperfocal distance is set in such a fashion so that focus fully sharpens at the outer edges of her body. This accentuates the bright light and also manages to make her both disappear into the heavy shadows behind her while standing out from them–the placement of the chair keeps this optical illusion from becoming distracting.
Fourth, it’s not easy to see right away but the camera is angled downward ever so slightly–as if the photographer is adopting a posture similar to the model. It’s a small thing but it’s really what makes the image work so stunningly.
I was completely unfamiliar with Rubinstein before seeing this and I have to say her work is extraordinary–minimal without ever crossing over into minimalism as justification for vacuity.