Source unknown – Title unknown (1959?)
I’m intrigued by this photograph. (So much so, in fact, that I’ve spent several hours I don’t really have right now trying to learn something about it’s provenance; sadly, there’s nothing.)
The curious thing is that a lot of the blogs that have posted this generally have a lot of overlap with my own personal interests. And I have some–if we’re being polite–offbeat interests.
As far as just looking at the photo as it’s presented, I feel a lot of the things about controlling context with regards to Valerie Chiang’s All info is in the image applies equally here–even if it does work to a different end, i.e. in this case the control of context isn’t in service of clarifying anything, it’s intended to emphasize a certain enigma.
Like what I do know is that this is most likely a photo made with a 50mm lens–based on the angle of view–operated at a narrow aperture. (The focus between her chin as it’s tilted back and the ridge line in the distance suggests a wide depth of field & imposes on her a sense of being a part of the landscape a la Duchamp’s Étant donnés.)
It’s either a page from a photo album or is meant to resemble one. The
9659 is unusual. It could be a date. Sept. 6, 1959 in the US or 9 June 1959 in Europe–and to me the landscape looks straight out of central casting for Alpine Europe.
Beyond that I haven’t the foggiest. However, I do think what I find some mesmerizing about it is the contradictions it contains. There’s a level of very personal and therefore privileged/private intimacy occurring–yet the viewer is asked by the photo to bear witness. There’s the way that there is a sense that the grassy slope and trees are in the distance but with her head back like that, the distance is compressed substantially.
Also, compositionally this is absolutely the opposite of #skinnyframe bullshit–it’s intended to be read up and down and is arranged in such a fashion as to facilitated the parsing of such a reading. consider how it’s divided into five distinct horizontal bands: the sky, the trees, the area between the crest of the hill and her shoulders, between his middle finger and pinky finger with his pinching of her nipple drawing attention to both nipples and the area below watch band wrapped around the wrist of the intruding hand.
It’s a really compelling construction. And although I can’t find fuck all out about this I would very much love to know more if anyone has any pointers.