Vitrine 3

by Stefan Fletcher November. 10, 2014 2244 views

My favourite images (mine and others’) are usually narrative. As a photograph is a snapshot in time, I like that image to narrate a little of what happened just before and to hint at, or prompt me to imagine, what happens afterwards.

I captured this image at a festival of old agricultural machinery in Provence. Quite a lot of middle-aged men (I have difficulty realising I’m one of them), furiously concentrating and utterly serious (even more difficulty) were tinkering with their toys, some of which - of course - refused to work.

What makes this picture for me is the men’s concentration. As the flywheels are static, it’s clear that something is wrong. The fan belt leading off to the right hints at something rather interesting to the right, but left of centre lies the crux of this image: a snafu requiring attention. There’s straw all over the place (in fact the machine powered some kind of thresher, as I recall). The machine, an early internal combustion engine, is rusting, knackered and clearly had a long and hard life. Will they get it to work? What exactly is the man on the right doing? It’s a hot, dusty environment, the kind you imagine early industrial age summers to be. It’s clearly modern, judging from the clothes haircuts and tools and yet we’re looking at old machinery. Why?

In my mind’s eye I saw this image in black and white for the texture of the ground, the machine and the men’s clothing. I increased the vignette (darkened corners) to focus on the subject. As I am very, very left-handed, but focus with my right eye, left-weighted compositions appeal to me more than others.

The composition is not quite right; I wish I had stood farther away (I was using a manual focus prime lens) to include all the wheels. I also wish that ditch was behind them. In retrospect, I was a little heavy-handed with the vignette.

I’ve included what would make visual sense as a follow-on (although the broken machine did not, in fact, power this thresher) and the raw file from the first to compare.

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There are 5 comments , add yours!
John Parsons 6 years, 7 months ago

Great shots of vintage equipment.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Gillian Parsons 6 years, 7 months ago

Love the second shot in B&W but the last in colour, farm machinery of any kind fascinates me.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Yokai - 6 years, 7 months ago

Interesting images, esp #2 !

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Moira 6 years, 7 months ago

great images and the B&W works better IMHO.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited
Kenny H 6 years, 7 months ago

Love the determination that the look on their faces as well as the B&W edit portrays. Great detail as usual Stefan.

6 years, 7 months ago Edited