I chose photograph of “Mermaid Parade”, taken by Matías González, and displayed on the Photo of the Day section of the National Geographic website (González, 2017, n.p.). In copying this photograph to this assignment I have complied with U.S. Copyright Law by correctly citing and referencing the image (Librarian, 2017, n.p.).

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This photograph utilizes symmetry in its composition, placing the eye of the subject directly in the center of the photograph. According to the textbook, the rule of thirds is sometimes rejected in favour of a symmetrical composition in order to “to present a subject directly or formally” (Ryan, 2012, n.p.). In this case, the symmetry directly presents the subject of the photograph and creates a sense of intimacy with the viewer, who is literally eye-to-eye with the subject. The textbook also describes how line, or vectors, can be used to guide the viewer’s eye to specific parts of a photograph (Ryan, 2012, n.p.). This photograph utilizes line, in that the fold of the figure’s clothing as well as his fingers and the lines in the background of the image all work together to guide the eye straight into the center of the photograph to focus on the eye of the subject, again reinforcing an impression of intimacy.

The overall impressing is unsettling, in that we feel as viewers that we have been caught invading the personal space of this subject, or that he/she is invading our personal space; this impression is reinforced by the use of the close-up camera shot, which eliminates most of the background to fill the space of the image with the subject him/herself. As viewers, we are fixed by the gaze of the subject. Finally, its use of color conveys an overall impression of fun, energy, and opulence appropriate to the Coney Island setting of the photograph.

  • Gonzáles, M. (2017, October 23). “Mermaid Parade.” Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/2017/10/mermaid-parade-coney-island/.
  • Librarian, J. T. (2017). “Copyright Basics.” Retrieved from http://www.copyright.com/learn/media-download/copyright-basics/.
  • Ryan, W. (2012). “Photography.” In W. Ryan (Ed.), Visual Literacy: Learning to See (Chapter 5). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education Inc.