British photographer Ian Talbot about Danielle Kelly’s photo “The speaker”
The Sum Of The Parts
- by special Guest Writer Ian Talbot
So much of the new imagery on the web these days is dross. This is, of course, entirely my own not-so-humble opinion; the signal to noise ratio is such that it’s enough to make the most enthusiastic eye tired and jaded. But now and again, shining like a diamond in a garbage dump, something really special catches the eye. Such an image is “The Speaker” by Danielle Kelly.
Danielle Kelly – The speaker
© Danielle Kelly
I have spoken before about the punctum of an image before but what is it about this particular image that explains its appeal? Before we take a closer look and attempt to examine the detail of the image’s structure I want to declare my own personal punctum here. It is quite simply that, as a photographer, my first feelings are those of admiration tinged with a little envy. This image pricks me because I couldn’t do it. I know that I wouldn’t have seen it. I could have, might have, set the shot up, as is my way, but to recognise it on the fly simply requires a quality that I just don’t have in my locker. Oh well, that’s maybe just a matter of style and a reflection of the genres I have worked in.
So let’s take a closer look at the image now. Before we do please click on the image above so that we may view a larger version together. The first thing we might notice is that the image has a satisfyingly balanced feel but let’s look closer. Obviously first and foremost the image is about light. This much is obvious… the slat lighting effect on the face of the man in the upper right is perhaps the first element that draws the eye. Now closer still, note how the slats of light are perfectly distributed over the man’s face. It could have been accidental but that surely stretches credibility as any one who has attempted to leave such a detail to the vagaries of fate and been sorely disappointed will only too readily know. From there the eye can slide easily down to bottom right via the two perfectly placed dotted lines of light. To the left of the image the blurred foreground element constructs a frame for the lighting effect playing on the extreme left. A kind of “abstract” image within an image and immensely satisfying. Hardly noticed, but anchoring the image, is the hair slide on the girl with her back to us in the upper centre. I could go on but that’s enough to illustrate how the eye may travel across and around the image as a whole.
OK then, analysis and detail is one thing but the whole is so much greater than the sum of the parts. This image delivers on so many levels and it’s certainly not necessary to be aware of detail for the image to be wholly satisfying. For me “The Speaker” is one of the best new images I’ve seen this year. Actually, not to be faint hearted about this, it is the best new image I have seen this year.
The photographer who made this image, Danielle Kelly, is a lady whose work I have followed with some interest for a while now since it first came to my attention. Already very talented she just keeps getting better at a quite alarming rate. Remember you read about her here… I truly believe she has an assured future. I don’t know whether to love her or hate her!
And lest you should think that the image here could be a “one off”, or some sort of fluke, go see more of Danielle’s work at the links below.
A rising star…
Ian Talbot, Fine Art Photographer
Images Copyright © Danielle Kelly
Ian Talbot is an Fine Art Photographer living in North East London. His images are primarily about light, tone and form but what fascinates him most is how the world, and the things in it, can look as a photograph.
For him that is the mystery of photography.For more information or to view Ian’s photographic work, his website is at Objectively Speaking :The Fine Art Photography Of Ian Talbot