Chapter 4 Train Your Gaze - Tremors of narrative: Portraits and Eventfulness

I feel that I can write a reflection of almost every chapter in this book, it's so interesting! Anyway, this chapter has influenced my final assignment a lot, especially the part about private narratives, in which the work of Allen Frame is discussed. 'Allen Frame has been described as a photographer who photographs people in transitional moments (for example, as a dinner party winds down) and transitional spaces ... where anything or nothing could be happening.' Angier discusses the photograph "Martina, Eiko, and Mathias, Berlin, 1997", an image that was taken after a dinner party seemingly at the moment when the guests were about to leave. I like how Angier calls these moments fragile and open ended and that as a spectator, we can't particularly define what has happened before or what is going to happen afterwards, but that the compositional solid structure of the image gives us enough clues to get a sense that there is meaning to the moment itself. He continues with looking at other work of Frame and pointing out the same visual connections that point to a certain emotion even though the images look completely different. 'an unplanned, found moment, framed by rigorously placed architectural details' Both images convey the feeling of a 'suspended narrative'. Gosh, how I like that expression!

I looked up more images of Frame on his website and got more and more intrigued by this idea of suspended narrative. I notice that it's not just the composition of subjects and objects in the frame that build towards this sense of meaning, but also especially the use of light and shadows, darker and lighter areas that guide the eye from one specific point to the other. Every point gives you a clue or brings unanswered questions, all adding up to the narrative that eventually is not told.

Thinking about Cartier Bresson's work and the way his compositions work towards a 'decisive moment' I see a clear diffence in the sense that Bresson's work (especially his early work) seem to represent stories that are captured just at the right time to bring a fantastic balance and grand closure, while Frame's compositions let the eye wonder and suspect a certain story, but leaves it that way, or leaves it curious and unfulfilled. 

I learn from this that rules of compositions can work either way, can have different effects on the viewer and depending on what the photographer wants to show, or feeling it wants to convey, it's ok to break the rules, it's ok to leave parts in the dark or portray moments that are not decisive or meaningful at first glance. As long as the viewer is triggered to a certain feeling, whether it might be a longing to know more about what's happening or a satiated feeling of wonder what happened right in front of the lens at that moment.