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A Notion of Engagement

By BrianHenry    
Adam sets the archetype for the male patriarch, one of which is the Husband, with its unprecedented matrimonial sanctions and expectations. We are taught marriage and children should come natural (such as our contemporary Adam in Qualms, quietly accepting the role).

I think about how the role is achieved outside of marriage. It's here we find a contemporary Adam living a marriage he slowly realizes he doesn't want to be in.

He and his wife receive news from a third, partially seen figure. The wife sits gently and concerned, touching the confirmed hand of her husband on her shoulder. I’d like the think the news they received is unfortunate and distressing because of the husband: his hand is on his wife’s shoulder, a comforting gesture, yet his face is completely fixated on the camera and his expression more discontent than his wife. He's appears much larger in the space than anyone else, which can speak to his patriarchy, but also alluding to his displacement.
The room itself is a frame; it could be their home, residents, or perhaps an office, but ideally a window.

He doesn’t want to accept the news He and his wife received, nor take responsibility. A Notion of Engagement is about his gaze looking out past the frame, aware that an audience is outside the picture looking into their lives. He too wants to be on the outside looking in.

from the series 'How To Use The Bible To Get What You Want."

Tags: Portrait Flash Love Square Adam Bible Wife Conceptual Marriage Portraits and people Divorce

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


paulbroad 10 123 1238 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2013 10:45AM
Once more, without your text, the image fails to stand on it's own. Viewed without the text, which most people are not going to read, the image is a bit disjointed with no. Story. In other words, a picture is not worth a thousand words in this case.


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banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3862 Canada
2 Aug 2013 2:28PM
This is one panel in a series that tells a story, or makes a point. As such, the series has to be critiqued as a whole, rather than one shot at a time, in my opinion.

I certainly get the fact that hes not in any way connected to whats going on here, and is in fact staring in an intimidating fashion at the camera. A hint of American Gothic, indoors.

iancrowson Plus
8 211 146 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2013 2:55PM
In my view spoilt by the box of tissues which we should see all or none of, also the foot overlapping the other.
It's like one of those images in a trendy gallery. I spend a certain amount of time looking at but in the end fail to find meaning or an understanding.
If you gave some sort of idea of your photographic aims rather than a bible lesson it might help the viewers with photographic skills rather than theological. Your text make no sense at all to me.
The aim of this gallery is to help members improve their photography. This can only happen if a description of how and why the photo was taken and what areas you need help.
2 Aug 2013 11:56PM
Thank you for your comments, they are appreciated Smile

This body is meant to be shown as whole, and the words with it are displayed together as well. The text is more of a train of thought than a literal statement. The aim of the series is to observe bible versus to question their significance. I do this by illustrating a more contemporary parallel, without using iconography, or trying to accomplish a direct religious aesthetic.

The lack of cohesion with the other images are on purpose. I like the idea of bringing together a spectrum of aesthetics towards one single concept. That's what makes the words important, it needs a revised and contextualize differently; these are more on the conceptual end, but it completely overwhelms the technical side of the process, which makes me happy these sort of comments are being made (I'm not getting this sort of feedback anywhere else and its very helpful).

I hope to share the rest of the series and continue to get much needed feedback.
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1911 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2013 4:51PM
Willie's reference to American Gothic is spot on. That's an image of the death of the American dream, the Depression patriarch realising that he can no longer guarantee to provide for his family, or to fend off the new invisible enemies that have replaced the Injuns of old. Doubt, insecurity, emasculation, stoicism.
The connection here is so obvious but I suspect that it wasn't intentional. Following your story-board I'm seeing Adam full of self-doubt as the age of patriarchy ends.
An earlier upload included the explanation

Quote:from the series 'How To Use The Bible To Get What You Want"

It's not working for Adam...
I'm finding these uploads irritatingly interesting, a relief from the Biblical plague of butterflies that has afflicted the site. But while a cohesive narrative makes a change here, we and you have to ask - would the images stand up on their own two feet without it? You may not feel that they need to. But this relies far too heavily on words for me. It should make our brains work but it doesn't make the imagination work.
The reason is nothing to do with Adam and Eve, who fill the frame very effectively. It's the third figure intruding, the box of tissues and the crumpled tissue in her hand - it's telling us what to see and read and that kills the image for me. It's like the step-by-step instructions with an Ikea cupboard, How to assemble the ready-made story. Let us see the couple alone, holding hands but a million miles apart, and I think we can use our brains to fill in the gaps. Which would be much more satisfying, and more meaningful. Images that ask questions are infinitely more powerful than images that answer them.
I shall try a Mod to demonstrate.
21 Aug 2013 2:10AM
Added a new modification.

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