Thomas RomaWalker Evans Essay Research Paper The

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Thomas Roma/Walker Evans Essay, Research Paper The retrospective exhibits of Walker Evans: Simple Secrets and Thomas Roma: Intimate City on display at the International Center of Photography present a cross section of each photographer s works. Thomas Roma, an active photographer, shows his interpretation of Brooklyn through a six series narrative. The Walker Evans exhibit, made possible by the Marian and Benjamin A. Hill Collection, takes a sampling of photographs from Evan s expansive photographic career. Court Portraits was Roma s first series presented in the show. Taken at the Brooklyn Criminal Courthouse Brooklyn courthouse, Roma casts a few courthouse stragglers as his subjects. All seem to be in a quiet submission to the photographer, like in acts of repentance or

admittance. Higher Ground looks to be Roma s most prolific effort. A compilation of subway photographs in a range of emotion and scale. Subway straphangers and riders populate his photographs either sleeping or caught in their thoughts. Like many of the other pictures in his series a common tie can be seen in his subway interior shots. The passengers lean toward an overexposed light, as if the light held spiritual power. After looking at his book, I wasn t quite convinced on the implied meaning that Roma has given his subjects. He makes a candid portrait contrived, thereby unconvincing. It is when Roma looks out that he relinquishes some freedom to the subject. The pictures taken outside the train transport you the elevated tracks overlooking the expanse of the Brooklyn

landscape. The foreground while containing some metaphors like the signal lights, let the background (Brooklyn) do most of the talking. So now Roma moves from the elevated trains to the intimacy of the Brooklyn backyard in Found in Brooklyn . His photos call to attention the diversity of the Brooklyn landscape, small fenced in back yards, to highways and overpasses. Sanctuary seems to be a part of Roma s exploration of Brooklyn topography. Sunset Park , photographs that use the life around a Brooklyn pool, is another extension of Roma s candids. For Roma, the moment seems less powerful than the way he can instill meaning into his pictures. More often than not Roma s subjects are placed into position by Roma. This way of setting up a photograph leads to a definite way of looking

at the picture. However the rigidity of the photos contradict the spontaneity and allure of candids. Come Sunday , a study of African-American churches, combines the somber, introspective mood of the Higher Ground subway portraits with some of the exuberance of the Sunset Park series.The Walker Evans exhibition is a brief synopsis of the phases in his career, or at least as far as the Marian and Benjamin A. Hill Collection allowed. The exhibit was treated more like a retrospective rather than a focus on one of Evans s concerns. All of the photographs of Walker Evans are small in size, from his candids to his landscapes. As a device the small scale detracted from the impact of the photos. But the small scale really gets every single detail in crisp, sharp focus thereby giving the

picture a weight that larger pictures would not be able to catch. In respect to the majority of the exhibit, his candids did not occupy a large enough presence in the collection. A couple of street scenes and a few subway shots were all to be seen. The street scenes are articulate and you can tell that Evans has no apprehension taking the pictures, and getting up close to his subjects. He moves around, takes different angles, explores his possibilities. The subway photos are a different matter. For some reason Evans lost the immediacy he had with his street scene subjects. Taken with a small camera through a buttonhole, the pictures do not have any sort of exposure control, sense of framing, and sharpness. All qualities that are held in the highest regard in almost all of Evans s