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Analyzing a Photograph - Essay Example

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Name Professor Date Analyzing a Photograph Photographs are visual art media that serve to record history and culture. Photos may contain a real event in human life or it could be planned to feature a scenario in the mind of a photographer. In the case of a real event as the subject, the photo could depict the behavior and attitude of people during the time it is taken…
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Analyzing a Photograph

Download file to see previous pages... When the photo was taken, it was the day the Japanese surrendered to the Americans through signing a contract of agreement. Eisensteadt was then assigned in Manhattan and was taking pictures in the streets when he witnessed the phenomenal stolen kiss, which made him very famous. In his recollection, he claimed to have followed the Sailor as he saw the other kissing different women. The photo was published in Life Magazine where it appeared on the center of a page, among two other photos with other couples kissing. In the other photos, the couples intended to kiss, whereas in The V-J Day in Times Square, the subjects did not know each other, and they did not plan to kiss. Produced in 1945, the photo is still in black and white, thus showing the high contrast between the sailor’s blue uniform and the nurse’s white outfit. The high contrast makes the subjects easily identifiable, hence allowing the artist to achieve focus and emphasis. The subject of the photograph is what makes it extraordinary. At first glance, viewers will think that the kissing couple knows each other, and that they are kissing in front of the crowd to make a show. However, if viewers will find out the story behind the photograph, they will have more interest in it. Photos of kissing couples are quite common especially nowadays; but the thought of two persons kissing despite being totally strangers to each other is really surprising, not to mention that the photo was taken way back in 1945 when the people were a lot more conservative than today. When investigated, the sailor and the nurse were found to be unfamiliar with each other, and the sailor was said to have done the kissing out of his exhilaration in hearing the news about the withdrawal of Japanese from the war. Later investigations revealed that the sailor named Glen McDuffie kissed the nurse identified as Edith Shain because he knew that his brother who was captured by the Japanese will be set free (Goddard). The unfamiliarity between the man and woman is established by their hand gestures. The man who is holding the woman with his left arm closes his fist instead of holding the woman’s face to show gentleness and intimacy. Likewise, the woman’s left arm, which is supposed to embrace the man around his neck, does the same unlikely gesture for intimate partners: it closes in a fist, hence reflecting unfamiliarity. As regards the response of the nurse, she claimed to have responded to the sailor’s kiss because she saw the happiness in him. In sum, the festive mood of the subject is the general feeling that Eisenstaedt has captured. In other pictures where couples are kissing, passion or love could be perceived. However, in Eisenstaedt’s photo, the expression of freedom to do what one desires to do is given emphasis instead. Emphasis is further achieved with the reactions of people around the subject. On the right side is a woman in her forties, looking and giggling at the sight of the kissing couple. On the left side is another sailor in his outfit, giving a good laugh at the subject. The reactions of the bystanders add to the emphasis in the photo. Such smiles draw the attention of the audience further to the couple in the middle of the picture, especially at what they are doing. Moreover, by laughing and giggling a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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