Does this photograph work? I think it does. Why? Or why not? Is it anything to do with what HC-B said (quote below)? Well, Let’s try working through and considering the elements of the picture in light of what he said.
The “fact” of the picture is the boy, deep in thought, walking along the footpath, apparently on his way to school in the morning. Are there “visually perceived forms that give it meaning”? How about those strong diagonals? Do they help to tell the story of the picture? Well, I’d say the perspective certainly adds a graphic that adds visual interest and leads the eye.
And what about that blob of shadow? Negative space? What does that add (if anything)? Well, it’s a bit weird in three ways. One, it’s in front of the boy, when we normally expect shadows to be behind. Two, it’s the same height as the boy but it’s really wide, when shadows are usually taller and skinnier. And three, it’s actually lighter than the boy, rather than being the usual amorphous blob. OK I just looked again and will add a fourth weirdness - the shadow actually looks like it’s happy to stand still, while the boy is definitely in motion.
So I think the shadow adds a kind of strange, unusual element to the “perception” of the “fact”.
Allied with the unusual (to non-Mexican eyes perhaps?) architecture and the otherwise empty space, and (to my eyes anyway) it begins to take on a bit of the look of a painting by de Chirico.
As to “rigorous organization” - well, it is what it is. I don’t think I could have really improved on it given the position I chose to stand.
I took quite a lot of photos around that position freezing my ass off that very cold morning in Teotitlan del Valle up in the hills near Oaxaca, anticipating that the elements might come together, and only this one worked. I don’t know if it’s a fantastic picture, but I’m really happy with it. I think it satisfies in general what HC-B was talking about.
What do you think?
Are there photos of yours that do it for you?