Friday, September 12, 2008

This photo, titled the Staircase, was taken by Richard Sexton. He was born in 1954 in Atlanta, GA and resides in New Orleans, LA.  He mainly photographs architecture and landscapes, and is known for his direct approach photography. When he goes out and looks for places or things to shoot, he will find something, then plan to come back during a certain time of day and year when he can truly capture what it feels like to be in the space he is shooting. This dedication and attention to detail is something that is a necessity to be a great photographer.
This photo of a staircase is one that is very simple, yet still manages to evoke emotion within the viewer. It looks very lonely, and as if it was once a very elegant place, but has been deserted for quite some time.
The lighting in this photo is coming from above and below the staircase, which gives it a glowing feeling, It is as if the light from two different places are coming together at this exact place. It helps to create movement for the eye, because instead of focusing on the stairs, it draws attention to the walls and how unique and textured they have become. The light appears to be natural, maybe coming from windows within the building, and creates a very soft appearance for the photo.
There are many lines that flow throughout the photo, the main being the railing of the staircase. It is a very curvy line that takes your eye from the top to the bottom of the photo. The vertical bars on the railing also create lines in the photo that help to give it an elegant look. Contrasting with the rugged and beat up walls, the delicateness of those lines creates an appeal to the photo that draws in the viewer.
This photo also has many repetitious elements including the stairs themselves. They lead the eye up, creating a curiosity for the viewer and makes them wonder to what or where the stairs lead. Also, the posts on the rail create a repeating pattern in the photo. These are also examples of geometric shapes. The photo is predominantly made up of these types of shapes, which help make the railing, an organic shaped line, really stand out.
Texture in this photo is a key element for making it so stunning. The walls and ceiling are battered and rough, and gives the photo a very rugged look. The paint is peeling off the walls and parts of the ceiling are missing, but all of this ruggedness helps to contrast against the beauty of the smooth, curving railing.
Although the main color of the photo is brown, there is still a large range of values. The staircase is very dark, along with the wood flooring, which helps to create contrast against the walls, which are very well lit. The light, coming from both above and below, helps to illuminate the walls and all of their intricate texture. The photo almost looks monochromatic, but the varieties of values throughout the entire photo make that unnoticeable. 
The composition of this photo is unique in that there is only one subject in the entire photo. The staircase, which takes up only a small portion of the photo, is the main focus. If the walls were bare and it was an average staircase, this photo would not be nearly as interesting as it is with the tremendous texture and flowing lines that run from the top to the bottom of the photo. The fact that the walls themselves are so interesting, and that the light seems to be coming from everywhere, even though this photo is inside, makes up for the fact that there is only a small portion of the photo where the subject actually is.
The angle that Richard Sexton used for this photo was dead on. It appears as if he was standing on the wooden floor and shot what was directly in front of him. It is a very simple way to take the photo, but if it had been shot from anywhere else, the photo would not seem so serene, and peaceful. If there were unique or awkward angles used to take a photo of this subject, it might seem uncomfortable and would not evoke the same emotion from the viewer. 

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