Chinese Couple on Bench 01

Chinese Couple on Bench 01480
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One Essay Response

  1. evan_lobdell says:

    Upon first review of this image, I was struck with many questions. What is the man pointing at? Why does the woman look distressed? Is the man ignoring the woman? But after taking the time to sit back and analyze this image, I think it simply gives a realistic representation of what life is like for couples viewing this photo, who are experiencing situations in life and facing them together. I think the most interesting aspect of the photo is just how realistic it is. It simply seems that Rachel captured an interaction between a couple, who happened to be taking time out to sit on a bench. Using compositional interpretation, I looked deeper into the photo and street photography as a whole to discover why thus photo reached out to Rachel, myself, and many other viewers.
    This photograph shares very similar qualities to many photos in the street photography genre. Focused on capturing images of everyday life, photographs in this genre often are candids, and offer an in depth look at what everyday citizens, sometimes much like the viewers, are going through. It is also closely related to another genre of photography, the documentary. In her book, Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Methods, Gillian Rose explains that “documentary photography originally tended to picture poor, oppressed, or marginalized individuals, often as part of reformist projects to show the horror of their live and thus inspire change” (Rose 28). The photo does indeed show two marginalized, or insignificant, people, as their interactions do not directly affect Rachel Tanur or the audiences viewing. But that is what makes this photo so intriguing.
    Looking at this photo deeper, this is more than a mere snapshot of a couple sitting on a bench. The woman’s look of tiredness and stress is an indicator of the everyday stress that we as people go through, and how sometimes, even just being around a partner or a friend can mean more than words. The women’s tired expression seems to be unseen by her partner, as he is busy examining a newspaper. This may seem like an unhealthy relationship, but it is the body language that tells more of the story. The woman’s partner allows her to simply relax and lean on his body in order to relieve herself. He does not need to be facing her at the moment. He is allowing the woman to place her weight and stress on him, and that means the world. Viewers from all around the world can relate to this scenario, whether it be with a friend or partner, and recall a time they’ve had similar feelings.
 Perhaps it is because I have been around parents who always silently supported each other during life that leads me to this conclusion. Or perhaps it is a “natural” sense of optimism that leads me to believe this is a photo that successfully conveys a realistic and relatable look into partnership and life. Either way, this photo sticks out to me because of its simplicity, and the human beauty behind it. After all, some of the most beautiful interactions and experiences we come across in life happen in the most normal situations.

    Rose, Gillian. Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Methods.