Brodovitch And Phillip Trager Analysis

Great Essays
Photography was invented as a way of documentation and has evolved into an artistic means of expression. Photographers such as Alexey Brodovitch and Philip Trager both experimented with conveyed motion and using negative space in photography. Both artists were confronted with a constantly changing world and society and chose dance as a way to express motion, evanescence, and tell a story. Both focused in on the use of color and negative space to communicate something more.
Alexey Brodovitch was a Russian Aristocrat turned American. Born in Russia he served in World War I and fought the Bolsheviks afterwards. He was forced to flee when injured and the hospital he was in was invaded. This led him to settle in Paris and eventually in America
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His use of shapes and negative lines are a strong part of almost every photograph. In an article in The New York Times his pictures are described as “…quietly elegant…”(Hagen, 24) and through the statement “His scenes of sun-struck bodies against verdant backgrounds are certainly idealized, and at times look like shots from old-time nudist magazines…grassy lawns and groves of trees serving as stages that frame the dancers and add meaning to their gestures” (Hagen, 24). This use of gesturing is something shown through Trager’s body of work alongside intriguing facial expressions. His piece, “Michiyo and Dancers: (1988), shows this narrative beautifully. Between the dancers outstretched arms and the billowing of a fabric a soft romantic scene is portrayed. The contrast of hard vs. soft, and negative vs. positive space creates an interesting and unique view of the figure. This piece was part of an exhibit Form and Movement, which paired Trager’s photographs of architecture and dancers side-by-side. Heather Murphy described this exhibition in an article on NPR.org in the following quote: “The exhibit evokes the peculiar feeling that the world has been frozen by a futuristic time-stopper. Dancers are suspended in midair, cityscapes are free of any signs of life”. This view can be directly applied to “Michiyo and Dancers.” The …show more content…
They have a classical element of portraiture combined with the still movement of his combination of shape and line. This escape from an uncertain time runs directly parallel with Brodovitch’s photography, especially the piece “The Sylphs (Les Syphides)”. Both of these works not only share a subject matter, but a way of abstracting them and using the surrounding negative space as a large and effective part of the composition. Both photographers, Brodovitch and Trager focused greatly on freezing the motion of dance in a way that creates a narrative. Both artists were influenced by changing and uncertain times and choose to photograph subjects in motion as concrete. Brodovitch was challenged with defining a new way of art influenced by surrealism and the combination of art and everyday life as one. Trager was influenced by the choice of either confronting life or separating from it. While Brodovitch accepted his world in flux as inspiration and Trager rejected the change and chose to portray something that ignored the surrounding global culture both pictures share a strong common thread of stillness in

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