To join in with Lost in Translation’s January Traces of our Past (here) I wanted to share this image of the concierge’s desk at the Jefferson Hotel in RVA. This hotel is more than one hundred years old and it has ‘traces of the past’ with some nice art all around.
I thought I would give a bit of art analysis of this photo. Just for fun to explore the composition of this image.
The horizontal of the desk gives us a sense of stability.
The strong desk horizontal works in sync with the horizontal lines of the frame above the desk (with the woman with umbrella) and small piece of furniture to the right (as shown with GRAY arrows).
Then, there is a natural wave line that pulls the eye in from the marble stand (front lower left) – to the guy in the suit – through the line of the desk – and then our eye moves up into the verticals of the lights and the worker with the colored tie – who is maybe the subject here.
The colored tie is a special little piece here – because its shape and hue work with the intensity of the floral arrangement to the left – and maybe the tiny berries to the foliage on the right lamp. The small items here combine to give flow, energy, and harmony.
The white collar on the colored tie guy’s shirt has a small sorta V-shape that works with the V-shape on the lady’s white shirt – very far right.
All the while, the eye is soaking up the heavy colors and organic shapes found in the left third of this photo. The entire third section is organic and rich with an arrangement of spikes of flowers, berries, lights, etc.
The shape of the reflection in the mirror might also work in sink with the V-shapes from our employee shirts. But that reflection brings more light into the picture, softening that side, and bringing harmony with the similar colored tan walls. And then – the eye might move to the floor – with a squared pattern in the tile and little details can be soaked up. The two feet of the man to the far left maybe plays with the open spaces in the elbow creases of our lady with parasol in the painting.
The vertical (from the posture of the lady) subtly works with the other verticals in the piece (stripes on wall, lamps, 3 people who are staggered in height, and maybe even the stripes in the large floor tile directly pull the eye to and from the tile and the lady).
The shape of the parasol has a nice round vibe that interplays with the top of the frame, flowers near lamp on right, and arrangement to the left. The opened parasol is downward – giving us a sense of staying inward – and focused back on the lights and throughout the frame. Further, the bit of light in the back of the lady brings depth into the entire composition – where the art gives us a vanishing point making the shot come alive from the extra depth – almost like an open window to the sea.
That lighted shape – in back of the lady inside the painting – then brings the eye back to the light and shape reflection in the mirror (left) and the chrome filter applied to the photo showed the gold ornaments in the foliage – this was less visible in the original. Then, a bit of light from the “Grid” magazine stack on the table offers some light into the composition – giving this piece movement and energy. Faintly we also see a shade reflected in the mirror, giving extras as we explore. Adding a touch of pizzazz we have the glass ornaments dripping down, working with the wavy design of the white lights – those lights have a wavy line (sprinkling left and up- shown with GREEN arrows) that counterbalance the strong horizontals of the desk and frame above. We also have a bit of texture from the greens….
And that is why I like this photo.
What about you – do you like it?
Did my analysis change the way you viewed the photo? Did you notice some things I did not see?
Do you like the guy’s pink tie?