Gordon Parks created a beautiful book, bringing out the beauty in objects that surround us every day and that are easy to overlook. The watercolor backgrounds complement delicate leaves and flowers the artist used for his photographs. The pictures are beautiful by themselves, but the titles Parks added to each piece create another layer of meaning and make the viewer appreciate the emotional nature of the artwork even more. Every page of the book creates a beautiful narrative, and one of my favorite ones is the image that was chosen for the cover of the book, “A memory”. When I saw it on the cover, the shriveled leaf reminded me of a cloak and I thought of the leaf as a character in a story. When I saw it again in the context of the book, the title of the page changed the way I perceived it and made me think of it as a distant memory, an echo of something long gone. I think this book is wonderfully poetic and it’s interesting that the reader can make a connection with an inanimate object and be moved by it because of the beautiful composition, contrast and color schemes the artist used.
The descriptive words in the poem Arias in Silence depict the power of nature; the personification of night makes it seem more personal and further develops the image forming in the mind of the reader. When Parks mentions being encamped in the dream, it speaks to the realistic yet dreamlike composition of the photographs. He is surrounded by nature but his voice isn’t answered, which gives a sense of isolation. This is conveyed in the photographs, especially the ones with a single leaf or object (Ruin of Summer, Ridgeline, and A Memory just to name a few). What exactly happened in his dream is confusing but I think it’s meant to be that way. He couldn’t necessarily attain the voices or the idea of what lies ahead. That makes the mood somewhat mysterious or dreamlike. All of the photos are unique and dreamy in their own way. My favorite is Spring’s Arrival because it beautiful and the colors stand out amongst the other in the book. Even though all the photos are different, this adds to the dreamy theme because it’s hard to tell where it’s going next, just like a real dream would play out. The viewer is almost forced to let go of control while looking at this and just taking it for what it is, just like Parks in his dream.
This book is amazing to me. How Gordon Parks was able to take a dying leaf and was able to create a watercolor scene that seemed to blend effortlessly with the leaf. Fall leaves by nature are able to tell a story in themselves. I just admire how how Parks was able to take the colors the leaves naturally becomes and uses that palette to create a landscape around it. His images make the viewer feel as though the leaf is supposed to be there.
Parks book was truly beautiful. Using dried leaves and flowers to make such stunning and clear compositions was truly amazing. The image "Flight" was the first in the book to really gram my attention. Before reading the title, I instantly saw the flower as a bird, truly incredible. My overall favorites from the book are "Frozen Dawn" and "Blossomed Night". The two contrast each other greatly in composition but I like them for their differing qualities. "Frozen Dawn" is simply composed but beautifully done. I love the muted colors and the space he creates within the image. I love "Blossomed Night" because of the powerful dark red colors. The image is full of passion.
Overall I thought his work was captivating and I truly enjoyed viewing his book.
I believe Parks did a great job in composing these images. It is simple concept yet are visually stimulating. It is evident that Gordon Parks knew exactly what he wanted to do with this series. Each object being labeled by a word adds to the power and meaning of the photo. The photo that is strongest to me is "A Memory'. It reminds of man in a cloak. Very mysterious and daunting. The color schemes of the paintings underneath work well with the objects he choose for each. I get the sense of how delicate these objects are and it is a feeling I knew experienced looking at photographs before.
This blog holds discussions on the visual narrative. All are welcome to participate.