Australian Firefighter


This picture is of an Australian firefighter working to put out a wildfire in Western Australia. I choose this image to discuss perspective because it demonstrates the linear perspective we talked about in class. The hose that the firefighter is pulling creates a line. The line gets thinner as it gets further away, or goes towards the background on the upper half of the image. The line starts at the bottom of the image, suggesting it is close to the viewer, and moves inward and up towards the center of the picture towards a vanishing point. Additionally, the elements in the background of the image are less detailed and smaller than elements in the foreground, both from the smoke that is hazing the view and because these objects are further from the viewer. The bushes and tress in the foreground of the image are large and detailed, but the trees in the background behind the firefighter are blurred. This creates a 3-dimensional space where the viewer is placed within the image.

The viewer’s point of view is on the end of the fire hose, as if the viewer was another firefighter holding the end of the hose as the pictured firefighter pulls it away. The use of the perspective and point of view create a very realistic portrayal of the wildfire in Australia. It is as if the viewer is in the wildfire with the firefighter, because the line of the fire hose points directly at the viewer, almost saying that the viewer is not far from this catastrophe.

I think the use of linear perspective and the central point of view the viewer has in this image affect the interpretation of the image by making the image life-like. If this were a more abstract painting of a wildfire, the devastation and seriousness of the fire would seem obscure and distant. But because the image is photographic and realistic, and the viewer feels as if they are a part of the image; the viewer can interpret that this wildfire is not only urgent, but could also happen to them.

Because this image uses linear perspective with one fixed spectator position, it is like a window frame looking into a real situation. This episteme, that of images being mimetic of actual events, is reflected in the photographic realism of this image, as well as the fixed point of view that allows the viewer to look at this scenario through a window.


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