Author: heathermcmasters

Isolation then and now

During the group activity in class, I was assigned the image of Hopper’s Nighthawks, which depicts three lone diners and a waiter in an anonymous all night diner. I thought that the appropriations I saw while doing the group activity were really interesting, so I wanted to revisit this one…

This image appropriates Hopper’s original Nighthawks, but as I learned in class, this specific painting is in the public domain, so there are no copyright issues in the reproduction and adaptation of the more modern image. I do find this image interesting because it expands on Hopper’s themes of isolation in a large city to the more modern era of technology. In the modern reproduction, the diners are not only anonymous and isolated from one another because of the large city, but also because of the internet and computer technology (as seen because all of the diners are on laptops). This shows that we are become even more isolated from one another in the wake of technological advances because we no longer interact with others, only with our technology.

The spectatorship of global issues

I found this image of the recent riots and deaths int he Ukraine …

It shows women holding pictures of protesters killed in the Ukraine in a riot with police officers. The point of view in this image is from slightly below the women’s eyesight, with the silhouette of one woman in the close foreground on the right side of the image (you know she is close because you can only see part of her). All of the other women are looking in the same direction, away from you as the viewer. This gives the viewer the feeling that he or she is standing in the crowd of women honoring the death of these protesters. It puts the viewer right in the middle of the ceremony, making the loses of these protesters seem personal. The viewer can see the pain and grief on the faces of these women because we are physically close to them.

In regards to spectatorship, this image quite literally gives the viewer the sense of their place in a world that is full of such violence and injustice because the point of view of this picture is right in the crowd with those most directly effected by the violence. The gaze of the viewer onto these women shows the power dynamic between the viewer and protesters; the viewer holds the power in relationship to the object in the picture, or these women. But the viewer is also likely to be someone in the Western world that is economically stable and far from the uprisings occurring in the Ukraine. In comparison to these women, the viewer has more agency to protest and do something about these injustices, just as the viewer has more power by being the subject, and not the object. Therefore, the image interpellates the viewer to do something about the violence and uprising; it makes the issue seem more personal and pressing. Therefore, the gaze of the viewer establishes a power dynamic that encourages the viewer to act on these injustices and help the mourning women that are photographed.

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.