C. Fletcher’s Walmart Truck Image
AuthorTopic: C. Fletcher’s Walmart Truck Image Read 457 Times
ParticipantPosts: 17Styles & Lookson: July 16, 2019 at 8:45 am
I’ve been looking at Christian Fletcher’s images from the Southwest since they were published several days ago. The first image, the Walmart truck on the overpass, is one of the best images I’ve seen this year. Many of the other images are not far behind. Here’s what I like about the Walmart truck image:
First, it is very cinematic. I could image this being the opening establishing shot in a film, with the camera slowly zooming in on the truck. The film could be a horror film (creatures eating the truck driver’s face on the other side of the overpass), a murder mystery (the trucker bleeding to death in the cab or in an out-of-sight gully below), a love story (the trucker making love to a woman in the sleeping compartment of the cab), or any number of other genres.
Second, the composition’s formalism is quite appealing. In the article Mr. Fletcher indicates that one of the images was made while handholding the camera. It is not clear whether all the images were made handholding the camera. Either way, this image is perfect from a geometric standpoint if you like all the elements formal–straight horizon, the subject centered in the frame and over the overpass opening, the berms equally divided in the frame, and the yellow lines bisecting the frame. If this was handheld, Mr. Fletcher should give a workshop on handholding.
Third, using only one word (in the frame rather than in a caption) juxtaposed against the barren landscape, Mr. Fletcher makes a strong comment on where American consumerism has brought us. In the quest for ever lower prices at the expense of everything else–good design, objects that are less utilitarian and more about design–Mr. Fletcher has shown how streamlined distribution systems have produced empty and soulless conformity in our lives, as well as robbing us of the community that comes with “mom and pop” stores.
Fourth, Mr. Fletcher uses washed out colors to create a dreamlike atmosphere. Doing so, keeps my head in the image longer–the image is sticky; it holds my gaze. In my opinion, too much landscape photography tries to create perfection through dynamic range and perfectly saturated colors throughout the frame. By moving against the conventional approach to landscapes, Mr. Fletcher leaves landscape cliches behind. There is nothing wrong with high key or blown highlights.
Fifth, here is where his formalism supports his effort. Often, when image-makers want to show moral rot and depravity, they go for a a more chaotic look–off-kilter framing, high contrast, only parts of critical objects in the frame, and often an out-of-focus look. On the one hand, Mr. Fletcher’s formalism shows respect for and a thoughtful examination of the subject. On the hand, it reflects an apparent contempt for the subject and the social conditions it has created. The photograph, in its objectivity, shows us the illusion that the subject matter has created in our lives.
Now as for the the discussion in the article about the differences between Mr. Fletcher and his wife, I would suggest Mr. Fletcher listen closely to his wife. In the end, each of us will be happier if we create images we are pleased with than with any praise receive from others. Photography, first and foremost, is about satisfying yourself. Mr. Fletcher should be very satisfied with himself based on these images. Of course, there is irony in my comments. Given this last observation, there is no need for me to praise Mr Fletcher.
Rand Scott Adams
ParticipantPosts: 184Re: C. Fletcher’s Walmart Truck ImageReply #1 on: July 16, 2019 at 9:09 am
Rand Scott Adams
KeymasterPosts: 549Re: C. Fletcher’s Walmart Truck ImageReply #2 on: July 16, 2019 at 9:15 am
I have known Christian for a long time. Great mate as they would say. I love this washed out look. I got a few emails from readers telling me the images we washed out. I don’t think understood that it is his style. He sent me a video on how it’s done and I took some images last night to try out.
I have heard from Christian and he will be doing more articles for PXL and he will even do one on how he achieves this look. I know I am looking forward to those.
CEO & Publisher of PhotoPXL.com and Rockhopperworkshops.com
ParticipantPosts: 17Re: C. Fletcher’s Walmart Truck ImageReply #3 on: July 16, 2019 at 12:41 pm
I find blue and golden hour to be restrictive, as well as early morning sunrise. Nothing wrong with photographing at those times, but we spend most of our time in between those times. No reason not to photograph at midday. Having recently returned from a drive through Utah, this is what it looks like during waking hours. It is just as real as golden hour. Hence, I have no trouble with the washed out look. Hope you post the video, or Christian does a write up on his post processing.
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