Photography Critique

October 29, 2008


Joshua Barash (1966-) is a contemporary photographer that uses several types of media to make unique, interesting images. What makes his work so distinct is his use of light projections of other photographs on the naked bodies of women. These women are generally shapely and faceless, and are comparable to a canvas for Joshua Barash’s work. Because of the intricacy of the projected photographs as well as the reality of the women’s bodies, it is often hard to differentiate between the forms and the image. His images are generally colored photographs and are featured on a black backdrop. One of his most striking images that speaks to his use of design is Under Riverside Drive II.

In Under Riverside Drive II, Barash uses intense contrast in order to compliment the initial form of the woman. She is seated with her back to the camera and her feet underneath her  body. Her hair is up, so as not to upset the projection, and her arms are folded politely in front of her body. The image is the opposite of a silhouette and filled with negative space, so the focus of the eye is therefore brought to the shape of the woman and the projection on her body. The projection on her body in itself is a great example of line, depth of field and pattern. The projection is a black and white photograph of metal beams and construction on the underside of a bridge. The beams run horizontally along the woman’s backside, and farther down along her hips they start to run vertically. The projected image has a vanishing point of a tunnel that all the beams and lines run to. This is the central focus of the projected image.

What is also interesting about Barash’s photograph is the placement of the projection on the woman’s back. Rather than placing the projected photograph’s focal point, or the beginning of the tunnel, in the middle of the woman’s back, he decides to place it on her left buttocks. One could only assume that the projected image’s focal point was at one time within the middle of the photograph, however,  by placing it on her left buttocks rather than the center of her back, he is adding to the curvature of her lower body. It also utilizes the rule-of-thirds if her back was considered to be the canvas.

It is unclear whether or not the projected images are, in fact, his own or the photography of another artist. If changes were to be made to the piece, credit should be given to whomever took the projected images. Also, within Under Riverside Drive II, the projector does not cover the entirety of the woman’s body. The top of her head is slightly cut off and is lost in the darkness of the black backdrop. Barash should ensure that his projected images covered his whole models, to create a solid and complete image. Overall, Joshua Barash creates an appealing image that forces the viewer to reevaluate the canvas and reality of the photograph. His images are unique in their presentations and give perspective on contemporary photography. 


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