Man on a Bench

Man on Bench

Man on  a Bench

I had no idea what to photograph for this task; caught in the conflict of it having to be something to talk about, but lacking the photographic and artistic skills to create something ‘beautiful’. I feel this is the first thing that is particularly striking about the image – to me it is an imitation of a good photo. I have attempted to set it up parallel, but that is just missed, and the three components which make up the subject are evenly spaced, yet perhaps not particularly well-positioned.

Yet, this I could argue works to its advantage. It is an image of everyday life: the road sign and postbox are both commonalities which locate the image to Britain. The poor quality of the photo adds to this feeling of the ordinary. The main subject of the man is placed to the left on the bench, almost as a bystander on the photo he is the object of. Fitting into this bystander/object narrative is the reality that the man in this picture does not know that he is being photographed.

The photo has been taken from my bedroom window which overlooks the road and bench bellow. This man comes nearly every morning at about 9.30, having bought a newspaper from the shop at the end of the road. Every morning he stops by the bench and the bin (which has been omitted from the photograph in my attempt to produce something aesthetically pleasing), and struggles to remove a portion of the paper which he then bins before continuing on his journey. I wanted to include the context of the image because in A little History of Photography Benjamin mentions that the reflection of reality can reveal very little about reality. As a photo is very much just a reflection of reality, what else can be gained/ what changes when we know slightly more about that ‘reality’?

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